On Thursday, Fox broadcast its morning show, “Fox & Friends,” live from the Second Avenue Deli on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a New York institution that bills itself as “an authentic Jewish culinary experience.” It was the site of antisemitic vandalism last month after someone drew a swastika near the restaurant’s back door.
Lawrence Jones, a co-host of the show, received a loud ovation from the patrons picking at their corned beef hash, bagels and scrambled eggs when he said the media hadn’t done an adequate job of reporting on Israel’s plight.
He singled out the coverage last month of a blast at a hospital in Gaza. Multiple media outlets initially said in headlines that Israel had bombed the site, citing an official in Gaza. Hours later, Israel said that the explosion was caused by an errant Hamas rocket. Those early reports, he said, were a “hoax.” (Fox News initially reported that Hamas claimed Israel was responsible, but also noted that Israel had not confirmed that.)
Then, referring to criticism that some outlets like Fox had been too pro-Israel, Mr. Jones said it was legitimate to pick a side in this conflict. “I think we’ve taken the side of life.”
One of the deli patrons, Elliot Galpern, who lives in Manhattan and works in real estate, thanked Mr. Jones off camera after the segment ended. In an interview, Mr. Galpern, a registered Democrat, said he couldn’t have imagined six months ago that he’d be turning to Fox News, which he said he probably would have laughed off as “fake news.”
Now, he said of Fox: “We’re very happy that they’re covering this. We’re not getting enough coverage. And it’s extremely important to see what’s going on.”
Mr. Galpern pulled out his phone to display headlines from Israeli publications that were reporting on various atrocities perpetrated by Hamas, as well as the group’s vows for revenge against Israel. “These should be headlines in the United States,” he said.
His sister, Ariel Stern, said she found Fox’s reporting to be a counterweight to the bias in other American media. “Any chance, it seems, to blame Israel, the media is on it.”
But Fox can also overreach. This week, the network was accused of Islamophobia after a host, Jesse Watters, declared, “We have had it with them,” referring to Muslims. A White House spokesman condemned the remarks.
Fox, as a corporation, has not only devoted extensive coverage to the Israeli perspective, it has also begun running public service announcements on Fox News and Fox Sports. One recent spot produced by Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism laments, “When one hate rises, they all do.”
In many ways, Fox’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict is reminiscent of the way the network covered the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Fox News anchors left little daylight between their commentary and the policies of the Bush administration. American flags and red, white and blue graphics rippled across the screen.
“This is our 9/11,” said Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, in a recent interview on Fox News.