Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feb 20 Media Critique: "The Economists Politicised City Guide"

HonestReporting is scandalized – the Economist has told the truth. A terrible crime in the eyes of HR.

Specifically, the Economists "Cities Guide" has pointed out a few well known features of life in Israel, namely, the flagrant anti-Arab bigotry, evident from the way security measures target Palestinian-Israelis, to edicts by sections of the Tel Aviv ultra-orthodox community against leasing to Palestinian-Israelis. Hardly ground-breaking issues - that’s been official Israeli policy for ever. But they are stories that have been in the news lately, hence their appearance in the news section ("News this Month") of the "Cities Guide", as even those idiots at HR are forced to admit.

Anyway, HR is upset that such inconvenient facts are brought to public attention and seeks, however ineffectively, to fashion this into its standard whining about ‘bias’. The Economist is “singling out Tel Aviv for negative treatment”, according to HR.

Monthly news on each city includes briefs on generally non-controversial issues of cultural or politically benign events and municipal happenings. That is, until you see February's entry for Tel Aviv.

But the "News this Month" section contains a variety of stories on every city, such as tunneling disasters in Sao Paulo, assassinations in Moscow, government meddling and crime in Hong Kong, protests in Mexico, election results and controversy over public land in Mumbai, and the theft of rocket launchers by a terrorism suspect in Sydney . You know, the kind of stuff that makes the news everywhere.

However, if any of you feel some irrational connection to any of these cities and feel slighted by such factual coverage, I encourage you to write outraged and hysterical letters to the Economist asking it to explain “why it has singled out {insert city name} for negative and politicized reportage in comparison to other featured cities.”

And of course if you go back next month, there’ll be a range of new “News this Month" stories about Tel Aviv, just like there has been in previous months. HR simply chooses this month to attack the Economist, not because it “singles out Tel Aviv”, but because they can use this months stories to whip their gullible readers into a frenzy over the “anti-Israel media bias” that HR fabricates every week.

So it is true that the Economists "Cities Guide" has been ‘politicised’, but its all been by HonestReporting.


I've had the usual suspect trying to defend HR's pathetic dishonesty by suggesting that the news stories on other cities don't include charges of racism. Of course that isn't true, but the truth isn't something that stops HR or its supporters from making all kinds of convenient allegations.

For example this months "Cities Guide" to LA includes this story,

Behind much street violence in LA lies the thorny issue of racial tension.

And on Paris,

For the past few years Solidarity of the French, a far-right group, has run a soup kitchen offering pork soup to Paris’s homeless. Critics complain that the organisation chose pork as the main ingredient in order to exclude observant Jews and Muslims, whose dietary restrictions preclude eating pig. On its website, the group stated it would only serve full meals to those who first accepted the soup.