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Most media in the US and Europe (which is often desribed as "left-wing" from a right-wing perspective) appears to be striking for some kind of balance in their reporting of the recent attacks by Hamas and response by Israel, i.e. they've shown footage from the attacks on Israel, including the carnage left, but also more recently footage from the plight of civilians in Gaza. (As it's been suggest to improve/back-up what I'm saying here; here's a link to a CNN segment that has an IDF commander interviewed, followed by a civilian in Gaza--of course, the most reserved might say "apparent civilian".)

However, I've seen zero footage from inside Gaza on Fox News [n.b.: I wrote this in the first week of the conflict]. Am I mistaken? If this is plausibly deliberate, does the pattern match how they covered older conflicts?

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  • Good question but not simple to answer. One would need to check how much other popular media outlets cover such wars in general, this war specifically and then which side. Then compare where Fox News is standing in all of that. This is serious academic work. The only chance for us here is basically citing such work if it already exists. Commented Feb 22 at 9:03

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Actually they did. At least more recently, and at least in terms of photos. For example, they have a lengthy article about the non-crisis [according to Israel] of food in Gaza. The only photos from inside Gaza there (besides some random photos of trucks in irrelevant settings) are these:

enter image description here enter image description here

The first one in particular is used to support the IDF claim that there's plenty of food.

There are zero photos e.g. of a scramble for food in the Fox News piece, unlike e.g. the BBC posts.

So, Gaza is an a tidy tent city with a well stocked market based on the visuals from Fox News' website. They do throw a para in there about what the UN says, for "balance".

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The "left-wing" media in the US and Europe appears to be striking for some kind of balance in their reporting of the recent attacks by Hamas and response by Israel, i.e. they've shown footage from the attacks on Israel, including the carnage left, but also more recently footage from the plight of civilians in Gaza.

Frame challenge: left-wing media are different from the right-wing media, and they are different on their coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Selecting one of the differences and then asking whether this difference is absent suggests the answer. A more obvious abstract example could be something like: Seagulls are white, whereas ravens are black. Are there any white ravens?

What is balanced?
Of course, the key here is in what we considered balanced from a (supposedly) unbiased perspective, which is (supposedly) neither right-wing nor left-wing - we do expect media to cover both sides of the story... however balance may mean many different things:

  • taking middle ground between the two sides (e.g., taking the middle ground between Jews and Nazis, as many well-minded people certainly did in the 3à-s and early 40-s)
  • eye-for-eye - in modern language called "proportionality". Supposedly, about 1200 Israelis killed by Hamas gives Israel a license to kill about the same number of Gazans
  • Covering both sides from the point of view of the same values. Which values then? - Human values call us to sympathize with both Palestinians and Israelis, and denounce the Hamas for deliberately engaging in violence, and IDF for causing too much civilian casualties, even if in pursuit of a legitimate self-defense. Christian values are to call for the immediate ceasefire, in a hope that eventually the wold and the lamb lie together, and a child leads them. Islamic values (as interpreted by Hamas) might favor liberation of "all of the Palestine", whatever is the number of martyrs and infidels killed. Justice depends on which narrative one supports - who are indigenous to region; justice also ignores how many people are killed in the process of reaching the "just solution".

Unknown unknowns
Returning to what is omitted by Fox News. Our reference point here is again what is presented by the left-wing media. We see Palestinian suffering - and absence thereof on Fox News is obvious by comparison - it is a known unknown. But does the frame of two sides fighting (or even one side oppressing the other) really correspond to reality? Does it not itself omit some key components of this conflict (some of them possibly covered by Fox News), such as:

  • larger dimension of the current conflict (involving the US, Iran, Hezbollah, Houthis) - e.g., do the "left-wing" media regularly report on the ongoing war at the Israel's north border?
  • The non-uniformity of the two sides: on the Palestinian side there are religious extremists, secular resistance movements, civilians who simply want to live in peace - all bunched together under some generic terms like "Palestinians/Gazans/Resistance". On the Isreali side there are clearly right and left, both having extremists - some advocating ethnic cleansing and others being more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves (as far as I can judge, some are active in this community.)
  • Other contributors to the conflict: the current Palestinian situation is not only the consequence of Israeli oppression and the wrong calls made by Hamas on October 7. There are also the neighboring Arab countries mistreating Palestinian refugees and refusing their integration - a question largely overlooked by certain media and even "pro-Palestinian" organizations (but not by the Arab media.) There are also countries using the conflict to justify pursuing their geopolitical interests in the region (notably the US, Russia, and Iran.) There are Palestinian leaders not directly involved in the conflict (or even already dead), who greatly contributed to the desperate situation in Gaza by encouraging high birth rates, and the international aid organizations which (for legitimate humanitarian reasons) made these high birth rates possible - the population of Gaza and the total number of refugees increasing several-fold since 1948.
  • Colonial powers - e.g., Britain drawing the straight line between Rafah and Taba, and thus making everyone to the north of this line Palestinian, and everyone to the south Egyptian, even if they belonged to the same tribe, same family or were blood brothers/sisters.

Whatever media one considers as balanced, anything else would appear as full of omissions and distortions (certainly, the 70+ millions of Americans who voted for Trump do not hold in high opinion the left-wing whatever.) The truth can be sought only by seeking information from multiple sources. The truth can likely never be attained - for the lack of time, energy and other human limitations. Neither can one make themselves free from the prejudices inherent to one's personal upbringing and experience. But this doesn't mean that one shouldn't try, and remain content by getting the one's prejudices reinforced by the one's preferred kind of media coverage.

Value of video footage as information source
Another thing to consider is whether video footage is a credible/valuable information source. Indeed, the access to Gaza must be mediated either by IDF or Hamas, which already limits what a reporter can see. Furthermore, it is likely to focus on interviewing a dozen or so of Gaza civilians that the reporter is brought in contact with, of which only one or two will be shown - a far cry from studying the conditions of 1.5 million people (by comparison, serious statistical studies would include information collected from hundreds or thousands of individuals, making sure that the sample correctly represents the bigger group.) Surely, showing a few naked and crying Gazans and indifferent IDF soldiers would influence public opinion... but would it *inform the public?

A notorious example of getting information from TV is again Donald Trump during his presidency, who reportedly spent hours watching TV coverage instead of reading dry summaries in intelligence and other briefings prepared for him, as the US presidents usually do. Was he better informed because he saw videos? Incidentally, the most scathing critiques presented by John Bolton in The Room Where It Happened concern precisely the information gathering and the impulsive decision-making process in the Trump's White House.

Related: a beautiful "Thank you Hamas" video, showing how wonderful the life supposedly used to be in the occupied Gaza.

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    This answer nicely explains the difficulties to define a neutral view but still I would say that this is likely not a problem here in that I think I would recognize quite unbalanced when I see it. A possible "zero footage" from inside Gaza is unlikely to ever be balanced in any possible way, I'd say. Commented Feb 22 at 10:29
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    And not filming one side is the answer then? I think traditionally one would film all sides and then add appropriate commentary. Commented Feb 22 at 10:33
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    I get your warning but also still think that completely missing one side is as unbalanced as you can get. Commented Feb 22 at 11:59
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    Next time some [US] right-winger says we should listen to RT/Putin for a balanced perspective, I'll point them to this there's-never-such-thing-as-balance post. Commented Feb 22 at 12:04
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    This answer takes many words to discuss whether "left_wing" media's covering of the conflict is "balanced" but only one line to address the OP's question: "We see Palestinian suffering - and absence thereof on Fox News is obvious by comparison". That could be, more, err, balanced.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Feb 22 at 12:30

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