Russian liberal media criticized for ‘good vs evil’ framing of Israel-Hamas conflict

An array of prominent independent Russian news sites, TV channels, and commentators have portrayed the conflict in stark, black-and-white terms – framing it as a battle of good against evil, with Israel depicted as the virtuous, civilized party battling against barbaric Palestinian militants.

In the wake of the latest outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, many leading Russian liberal media outlets have come under fire for their coverage that some critics describe as overly simplistic and skewed toward the Israeli narrative.

An array of prominent independent Russian news sites, TV channels, and commentators have portrayed the conflict in stark, black-and-white terms – framing it as a battle of good against evil, with Israel depicted as the virtuous, civilized party battling against barbaric Palestinian militants.

Lisogor aims high-profile pundits like Yulia Latynina, Leonid Gozman, and Yekaterina Kotrikadze for pushing a “civilization vs barbarians” narrative that casts Israel as a “flourishing free democracy” under siege from an “axis of evil” comprising Hamas, Russia, Iran and others.

She argues such polarizing rhetoric, which frames the Palestinian cause as irredeemably backward and evil, originates from the Israeli government itself as a way to justify military operations and expansionist policies. But instead of scrutinizing these claims, Lisogor writes, liberal Russian voices have largely amplified them without scepticism.

Her critique extends to The Insider, an acclaimed independent investigative outlet. While respected for its work, Lisogor faults The Insider’s analysts for pushing a reductive narrative of good versus evil that dismisses charges of apartheid against Israel as mere “propaganda” from a “Muslim-Arab bloc.”

Perhaps most damningly, Lisogor accuses these outlets of displaying blatant double standards – readily accepting Israeli military statements and statistics at face value, while expressing automatic scepticism toward any data from Palestinian sources like Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Reached for comment, representatives from Ekho Moskvy and The Insider pushed back strongly against Lisogor’s criticism, defending their conflict coverage as balanced and factual. They stood by their scepticism of Hamas-linked sources, arguing Russia’s pro-Western liberal voices must support the only democratic state in the region against theocratic terrorist groups.

But media analysts interviewed say Lisogor’s critique highlights what they see as a troubling tendency among some Russian liberal voices to prioritize an anti-authoritarian ideology over objective reporting standards when it comes to international affairs.

With public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deeply polarized in Russia, media observers say Lisogor’s critique underscores the pressing need for more evenhanded, context-driven coverage – rather than reductive “good vs evil” framings that may reinforce societal divides rather than enlighten them.