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Israeli Double Standard Time

Meryl Yourish has a whole category within her blog called "Israeli Double Standard Time." That is where she documents certain trends in the media when it comes to reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Certain things that always seem to make their way into those accounts.

Things such as:

1) Palestinians are killed, Israelis die. This is subtle, but important: it implies that Palestinian deaths are acts of man, Israeli deaths just sort of happen. No one "kills" an Israeli, so there's no one to blame.

2) Those killed by Palestinians or other Arabs are rarely named or enumerated; those killed by Israel are usually given names, ages, and biographical details. This emphasizes their "victim" status. Israelis don't merit "victim" status, so they get short shrift.

3) Israeli actions are presented separate from context. The reason for a particular action is often not mentioned, or buried within the story.

The Boston Globe has a story up that hits most of these points.

Palestinians killed and wounded: Check.

Reason for the air strike mentioned several paragraphs into the story: Check.

Reports that the air strike was merited buried within the story: Check.

It's so easy to cry "media bias" these days. But some times, when you can lay out a clear set of rules and predict with such precision the format certain stories will be told, and events play themselves out the same way over and over and over again, the term "cynicism" becomes inappropriate, and "honest" and "realistic" seem more and more appropriate.


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Comments (5)

Ever again.=====... (Below threshold)

Ever again.

Good point, Jay. The hard ... (Below threshold)

Good point, Jay. The hard work people like the MRC have put in for the past 20 years or so is starting to pay off. Probably 5 years ago, and certainly 10, you could cry 'media bias' and be pooh-poohed. You knew you were seeing it, but it was hard to articulate. As the body of evidence builds, and as journalism schools and newsrooms become more incestual, patterns have definitely emerged.

Classic example - the local liberal rag (and primary target of my own blog) has an editor that also teaches journalism. When one of those 'too good to really research' stories popped up, he decided to sic a few of his students on it to write the story for the paper. It was amazing. These still-in-college students produced an article that hit some of the classic 'liberal bias' targets, including failure to properly include the viewpoint of the targeted business. Needless to say, it was very disturbing to see that these students were being carefully and clearly incubated into the liberal school of journalism.

The patterns continue to emerge as the press continues to attack straw men, denying that there is any sort of top-down control from the New York Times, etc. in controlling the news, when that is far from the accusations people like Brent Bozell are making (but it is an accusation that is much easier to denounce than the thousands of examples of clear cut bias the MRC can readily produce). Whenever I see a 'classic example' of liberal bias in the news I try to post it, along with a post heading indicating that it is a learning opportunity. Sometimes it's subtle, but sometimes it's pretty obvious (printing a quote from a liberal partisan on a controversial topic, but none from the other side, or, an old favorite of the media, labeling Republicans over and over again as 'conservatives' while never using the word liberal, even for those that are further left than the 'conservative' Republican is to the right..."look, there's conservative Senator Trent Lott next to Ted Kennedy, Democrat from Massachusetts", TV 'roundtable' discussions that include 3 liberals and a moderate Republican for 'balance', recent examples of course are the linking of Giuliani to Fox News but the failure to mention Clinton's ties to people at CNN and, obviously, the fired US Attorney stink).

It is simply amazing how quickly people start to catch on once you point out some of the liberal tricks, before you know it they start catching them on their own and they're on the path to more defensive news consumption. Remember - probably 95% or more of the news is excellent and well done - it is the other 5% you need to be careful of...same with driving.

"probably 95% or more of th... (Below threshold)

"probably 95% or more of the news is excellent and well done - it is the other 5% you need to be careful of...same with driving."

Are you sure it is not the other way around?

She just stole the AP Style... (Below threshold)

She just stole the AP Style Book. And the NYT Style Book.

Rob,Well, with dri... (Below threshold)


Well, with driving it probably is about 95% nowadays. But with the press, no, most of what you read is pretty straight stuff, because most of it isn't political. Maybe 1 business article will be slanted (big headlines for the market down 200 pts, gains of 200 pts on page 2, etc), maybe a couple of the world news articles. But there's a lot of what they do, especially local stuff, that is usually 'straight' - it's hard to slant a story about the town pool opening back up for the summer or local debate over a dog park. Hell, my paper just printed that AP story about how the surge is clearly and identifiably working - albeit on page 5 instead of the more prominent location every terrorist murder of children gets. The worst thing someone can do in fighting media bias is to assume that all or most of what's in the newsmedia is biased. That's what used to happen - now that the subtle slants, omissions, etc, are more clearly defined, you can weed them out of the total body of work. I can't guarantee this ratio would hold up for the big lefties - NYT, LA Times, WaPo...but for most it's more subtle and less prevalent. I have a blog primarily dedicated to eviscerating the bias from the Albany paper (owned by NYT), and even with the magnifying glass I go over it with I only find a few things per week that are really justifiable bias. Of course that just makes the incidents of bias that much more noticeable...






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