Australia/Israel Review


Media Microscope: In a fix

Sep 29, 2022 | Allon Lee

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

An important light has recently been shone on the employment by media outlets of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs with toxic views on Israel and Jews, as fixers and journalists to assist in news gathering about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Sept. 5, the Australian Media Editor James Madden reported on nasty anti-Israel social media posts by Fouad Abu Gosh, who has worked for the ABC as a news producer and fixer since 2014.

Abu Gosh’s name has appeared periodically over the years in the AIR, including in this edition of “Noted & Quoted” (see pg. 37) and in February 2022, when he received a co-credit with the ABC Middle East correspondent Tom Joyner for an online article about convicted Palestinian terrorists that was gussied up as a love story, and minimised their crimes.

According to Madden, “in October last year, Abu Gosh warned that ‘there is a great Zionist project to dominate and control all Arabs in the region!!’” and “in April this year, he posted a screenshot of Israeli police detaining an unidentified civilian, and added a comment: ‘This is how the Nazis treated the Jews, maybe it’s time for….!!!!’”

Madden’s article noted that Abu Gosh’s Twitter page stated he is a “Middle East producer for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, opinions are mine and ABC’s,” which “contravene[s] ABC Managing Director David Anderson’s directive for ABC employees to make it clear posts or likes are “personal view[s] and do not reflect the views of the ABC.”

Madden asked the ABC to comment if it was “concerned about the nature of Abu Gosh’s social media posts” but, “despite repeated requests for follow-up comment… The Australian received no reply. Attempts to contact Abu Gosh directly were unsuccessful.” 

Despite the lack of public comment on the issue from the ABC, Madden reported that Abu Gosh’s Twitter page was deleted subsequent to his contact with it regarding Abu Gosh.

AIJAC’s Colin Rubenstein was quoted in the story saying, “These revelations about extreme and offensive views and what can be described as activism by a key ABC employee are deeply concerning and should be addressed by editorial management given the ABC’s statutory obligation to ensure its news and current affairs content is fair and balanced.”

Discussing Abu Gosh later that day with Madden’s Australian colleague Sophie Elsworth on his Sky News program, Chris Kenny said of the tweets, “We always see this. [The ABC] always are anti-Israel.” Concurring, Elsworth said, “David Anderson, the Managing Director of the ABC, said he would not be tolerating bad behaviour on social media. But yet again, this is another example and a shocking example, Chris, of where staff are getting away with very poor behaviour online and the ABC doing absolutely nothing about it.”

On Sept. 8, a report in the Australian Jewish News on Abu Gosh quoted an ABC spokesperson saying the broadcaster was “reviewing [his] social media activity… The ABC has clear policies on employees’ personal use of social media, and if a breach of the policy is found to have occurred a range of actions can be taken.”

Earlier, on Aug. 21, Madden had reported on the work done by Gaza-based Palestinian fixer Fady Hanona for SBS, ABC and the Guardian.

Hanona was recently fired by the New York Times after his antisemitic social media posts were exposed.

These posts included Hanona saying he would be “so happy” about “killing [Jews] and burning them like Hitler did.”

Madden reported that a Guardian spokesman said it “published one piece of video journalism by the freelance journalist you mention. We have no plans to work with him in future.”

According to an ABC spokesman quoted, Hanona “garaged an ABC car in Gaza and carried out ad hoc logistics work for stories in Gaza. He is not an employee and the ABC hasn’t aired any stories by him.”

SBS told Madden that SBS Radio “Arabic24” “used Mr Hanona as a stringer from Gaza…[but] we won’t be working with him going forward.” 

In fact, Hanona had been SBS Radio “Arabic24’s” correspondent reporting weekly from the “Palestinian territories” under the byline of “Fady Hossam” every Monday for seven minutes. AIJAC has documented instances on “Arabic24” where Hanona used language inappropriate for an SBS journalist and made factually incorrect claims during May 2022, when small groups of Jews visited the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.

A Sky News report (Aug. 22) on Hanona said SBS was asked for comment but it “has not replied”.

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