Role of the Media

Consumption of Media Amongst the Arab Society in Israel

On 17 May 2005, some 180 journalists from the Arabic and Hebrew media, as well as representatives of foreign embassies, media students, representatives of NGOs and the general public attended I’lam’s presentation on “Patterns of Media Consumption and Perceptions of Media Reliability in Arab Society in Israel.” The event was held at the Cinematheque in Nazareth. Dr. Amal Jamal presented a summary of some of the preliminary findings. The research forms part of I’lam’s “Responsible and Professional Media� project and is the first of a three-part comprehensive research project. 

Study Reveals TV News Vastly Underreports Palestinian Children's Deaths

On Capitol Hill yesterday, a two-year study of network news coverage of Israel/Palestine revealed extensive underreporting of Palestinian deaths, particularly of children’s deaths. In reporting on this situation, the organization found that the networks reported on Israeli children’s deaths at rates up to 13 times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths. In reality, 22 times more Palestinian children were being killed than Israeli children. “Since American taxpayers give Israel over $10 million per day, it is essential that we be accurately informed on this issue,” says executive director Alison Weir 

BBC reporting doesn't tell the whole story

Tim Llewellyn was the BBC’s Middle East correspondent twice from 1976 - 1982 and from 1987 - 1992. Based in Beirut and Cyprus, Llewellyn covered the Lebanese civil war, the Iranian Revolution, the Tanker Wars, the first Palestinian intifada, and the first Gulf War. He was one of the first foreign correspondents to enter the camps of Sabra and Shatila after the massacres there by Phalangist Forces under the auspices of the Israeli army in September 1982. In this interview, exclusive to the Electronic Intifada, Llewellyn talks candidly about the BBC, and the pressures that organization and its correspondents are under, when reporting from the Middle East. 

Behind Israel's official version of the news

Two innocent Palestinians were killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on 12 January 2005. Although they were the latest in a long line of Palestinian victims, and from a tiny village near Ramallah, they made headlines all over the world. They were the first Palestinians to be assassinated by the IOF since the election of Mahmoud Abbas, which had taken place just three days before. The so-called ‘period of restraint’ had come to an abrupt end with the killings. For this reason, the assassinations were portrayed by the commercial media as a necessary response to two violent militants who had opened fire at Israeli soldiers. However, eyewitnesses on the ground report an entirely different story. 

Blaming Arafat for Israel's torpedoing of Oslo

With Arafat gone, the television screens of America are filled with “Middle East experts” who tell us that it was Arafat who was the obstacle to peace and that a new dawn is now upon us. Last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews, the host and caption team couldn’t even pronounce or spell the name of guest Palestinian Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi, repeatedly referring to her as Ashwari. Commentary from the guests was similarly insightful. Today, MSNBC’s Lester Holt continued the Ashwari mangling and “Terrorism expert” Harvey Kushner ludicrously claimed an Arafat/Al-Qaida link. Switch the channel, no real difference. It was the kind of Middle East coverage that got Bush reelected. 

The Guardian of Zionism: The "Liberal" Press and its Missing Contexts

In Britain, the recent publication of Glasgow University Media Group’s book ‘Bad News from Israel’ has again highlighted the depth of ignorance around the Israel-Palestine conflict and the media’s inadequacies in providing vital historical and legal context within its news coverage. Looking beyond the realm of TV news to media coverage of the conflict as a whole, it is no surprise that the likes of News International’s Times, or the Daily Telegraph with its explicit pro-Israel editorial policy, would be unwilling to address the ideological issues that lie at the heart of the conflict, but what some might find surprising is that this ideological void also exists within the supposedly liberal/centre-left press such as the Guardian and Independent. Benjamin Counsell makes the case, Guardian comment editor and columnist Seumas Milne responds. 

The Economist Sheds Some Bad Habits

The Economist has a way with cover art. In early 2001, the magazine lampooned George W. Bush’s first transatlantic trip with a cover photo of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon: “Bush goes to Europe,” the caption read. Intellectual, witty and harmless, it was the Monty-Python-meets-MI6 humor that characterizes a magazine that’s above the vainglory of bylines. Last week’s cover showing a photo of Ariel Sharon with an olive branch in his mouth—“Israel’s unlikely dove”—had a different resonance. What was mildly amusing for Economist readers was a cheap shot to Palestinians: Israel’s mass destruction of olive groves is a frustration tactic that Israel has used to displace Palestinians for the past 56 years. 

"A failure by the Western media"

“The book is based on a very long research study centered on public knowledge (from Europe and the US). We found that everybody in our sample had watched news on the conflict; they had memories of it, they could describe events they had seen. However, what we found was that, overwhelmingly, very few people understood the origins, the causes of the conflict.” Greg Philo, author of Bad News From Israel, explains in an interview with the Palestine Report his troubling research findings regarding media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the U.S. and the U.K.

Israel and Palestine, Finally: A chapter from CENSORED 2005

“Three and a half years ago, when the current Palestinian uprising began, I started to look into Israel and Palestine. I had never paid much attention to this issue before and so - unlike many people - I knew I was completely uninformed about it. I had no idea that I was pulling a loose piece of thread that would steadily unravel, until nothing would ever be quite as it had been before.” If Americans Knew Executive Director Alison Weir looks at an old subject in a knew way - the cover-up of the truth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the progressive press as well as the mainstream media. 

New book breaks censorship on Palestinian issue

In a groundbreaking departure, a recently released book by a major progressive institution dedicated to exposing “censorship” in the American media reveals that the organization itself also omitted information on the Israeli-Palestinian issue over its 20-plus years of operations. The book, CENSORED 2005, is the most recent in a series produced by “ProjectCensored,” a highly respected media research organization whose mission is “To Tell The News That Didn’t Make the News.” The strongly worded chapter, by If Americans Knew founder Alison Weir, describes the history of Israel, its continuing violations of human rights, and the cover-up on this issue in the American press.