US backs Ambassador Friedman’s right to criticize media coverage of Gaza riots

“We believe in free speech, and I’m sure there are a lot of other people around the world who sometimes believe that as well,” Nauert said in Friedman’s defense.

By: World Israel News Staff

The State Department lent support to David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel, following his criticism of the American media for what he described as unbalanced reporting on the violence at the Gaza border.

Asked about the issue during a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Friedman “said something pretty clearly, and that is the media can do a better job of talking to both sides, talking to various representatives.”

“You want to get the facts. You talk to all sides and you come back and you present your story,” she told the reporters.

Friedman was “explaining his opinion that some in the media – not all, but some in media organizations – have not done that balanced job of reporting.”

Addressing a media conference in Jerusalem on Monday, Friedman said that news outlets have been unfair in their coverage of the deadly protests on the Gaza border over the past few months.

He advised reporters to “keep your mouths shut” unless they know better than Israel how to deal with the demonstrations.

“You’d think that some journalists would take the time and go and meet with experts and try to understand what could have been done differently or better before they criticize. And I just haven’t seen it,” he said.

Slanted accounts, he continued, “fit a narrative. They fit an opinion. They fit an agenda. But it’s not reporting, because it’s not based on hard, factual analysis.”

Nauert noted that Friedman “also talked about the importance of a free press.”

“We believe in free speech, and I’m sure there are a lot of other people around the world who sometimes believe that as well,” she said.

“Ambassadors have a right to express their opinion. They’re representatives of the White House, whether it’s this administration or other administrations, and we hear them voicing their opinions,” she explained. “And they’re sometimes opinions that people may or may not like. And there is a right to free speech as well, so I want to highlight that. Regardless of whether or not you all like it, sometimes these things are what ambassadors say.”