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Media Backspin
« Israel's Predicament | Main | Burchill, part II »

Monday, December 8 2003

Over-reporting Israel

We at HonestReporting spend alot of time scratching our heads over particular articles on Israel, but there's another aspect of the coverage that's no less bewildering: the sheer volume of it.

Harvard's Ethan Zuckerman has a remarkable web page that monitors in real-time the Global Attention Profiles of major media outlets, mapping out what parts of the world the major news services deem important.

Though Israel is certainly a "red zone" (very high interest), it's telling that one can't even see the red of Israel on Zuckerman's color-coded world map, since Israel is so small. So click through to the tables format, where you find that on the AP wire today, Israel and the West Bank's coverage-to-population correlation are by far the highest, at over 3000%.

The over-reporting of Israel, now quantified, is an important element of biased coverage of the conflict. A few reasons why:

1) The prominence "granted" to Israeli power distorts the geographical reality: Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by Arab states that, at best, coldly tolerate Israel's existence. This military reality fades behind the barrage of "Israel Kills..." headlines.

2) Faulty and misleading reporting (such as this) is amplified beyond compare.

3) Israel's conscientious anti-terror effort is scrutinized in a manner no other nation is forced to confront.

4) The thousands of reporters in Israel have to file lots of stories to keep their editors happy, and dramatic writing grabs the most attention. Drama, in this context, almost invariably means exaggerated portrayal of Israeli aggression (unless Palestinian terrorists have recently struck, in which case Israel gets a momentary reprieve).

Now the question is, why is Israel so disproportionately over-reported?

 

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Comments

Well, one reason is the convergence of the world's major religions there, but that only goes so far to explain it - I really don't think the coverage would be so intense if Arabs ruled the region...

Israel's important role as the only democracy in the region is a partial explanation, but given the biases and scrutiny against Israel, that doesn't really go so far either...

Maybe it has to do with the fact it's a Jewish state, and Jews are always news. (WHy?)

I believe your last sentence said it most concisely. It's because we are Jews. And I believe it is also because we are aligned with the U.S. (for the most part). We are Little Satan to the U.S.'s Big Satan. Even on the ICQ Message Boards, Current Events, discussions about Israel take up definitely more than 60% of postings. Some of these people know a little something while most no very little or nothing at all but spew out the latest left-wing/Islamic promoted canards.

"Now the question is, why is Israel so disproportionately over-reported?"

Right and wrong, good and evil have to meet *somewhere*. That percentage of nucking futballs of the world will find a reason *and a place* to focus their hatred. And the good must defend it.

...and so the world continues to turn.

...it's not just reporting about the situation between Israel and the Pals. The reporters have too much time on their hands over there. On NPR alone, I've heard 3 stories in the past few months on the plight of foreign workers in Israel. One would think that no other nation in the world has foreign workers within its borders. And none of those workers suffer so much indignity and injustice as those within Israel...

Its called anti semitism. Once every villege had its hated jew, now the world has its hated country. Nothing changed.Nothing new.
Can we put our hands to our hearts and say we are doing every thing we can to fight the media wars?
This is a diffrent kind of war that Zahal can't fight for us, yet an army is necessary, and a leader to lead the way. "Harosh Hayehodi" surely could find ways to over come this obstacles. We have pretended for too long that its not happening or that intelligent people will know and see the lies and hate. We have buried our heads in the send. Its time to fight back.!

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