Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16 ‘Media Critique’ : “The New York Times: A Year-Long Analysis”

Here we go again. My last review of this is still, unfortunately, relevant.

And a NYT journalists comment remains particularly apt,

They don’t want you to be balanced in your coverage; they want you to portray the morality of the war as they see it.

There are just a few things worth noting.

In its six month ‘review’ HonestReporting complained that 60% of photos were “sympathetic” (according to HRs “objective”, but wonderfully unexplained, analysis). But now Three quarters of these images evoke sympathy for the Palestinians”. For HR this is,

a clear case of bias

As I explained last time,

This is the hallmark of utterly vacuous faux-media analysis – that balance in reporting might be represented by the Golden Mean, a midpoint between 2 opposed positions. An objective reference point would be to look at casualties. Given that the ratio of deaths is about 4:1 in ‘favour’ of Palestinians, maybe an objective use of photos to portray reality would have 80% of photos evoking understanding of the Palestinian situation.

So maybe the NYT is becoming less biased, rather than more. (Note: I’m being rather generous given that the death ratio was more like 40:1 in 2007, rather than the 4:1 figure I used, which would equate to 98% of photos being sympathetic. An even more telling statistic might be how many dead Palestinians are never even mentioned in the news, compared to dead Israelis, the later figure being zero.)

HR then used a photo from Gaza showing a boy at a barbed wire fence to try to explain its point. They wrote,

The image is one portraying the depravation of the Palestinian people in Gaza

Hmmmm……surely that should’ve been “deprivation”. Crude error, or inherent prejudice showing through?


HR have amended the sentance, it now reads "The image is one portraying the deprivation of the Palestinian people in Gaza".

Friday, July 11, 2008

July 8 ‘Media Critique’: ”Humanizing the Murderer”

I should be completely inured to HonestReportings hypocrisy and stupidity by now, but this latest ‘Media Critique’ was another WTF! moment.

HR is concerned over some media's coverage that placed,

emphasis on the attacker's motives to humanize him and "explain" his actions
It’s just that favourite old canard that media examination of motivation in such incidents is actually legitimisation of them. Given that the attacker was human, it’s hard to see the problem with humanisation, unless HR is suggesting that de-humanisation is the right approach? And of course HR are careful to restrict their sampling (ie distort by omission) of the media to suit their own ends. Exactly the same kind of coverage appeared in the Israeli media, eg. in Ha'aretz , YnetNews, and even in the Jerusalem Post, from which HR quoted an excerpt of an article that is critical of other media for exploring motives! It’s comedy (or hypocrisy) central. But you can’t sell this as ‘anti-Israel media bias’ if the Israeli media is doing precisely the same thing, so HR carefully avoid mentioning this. The HR sheep may be quite dim, but it would be too much to expect even of them that their credulity could stretch so far as to swallow that.

But nothing HR say can be taken at face value. Outraged over attempts to “explain” murderous actions today, while yesterday it was a very different story………November 2002 and UNRWA employee, Iain Hook, is killed by the IDF in Jenin.

An innocent unarmed man is killed. Knowing how much HR detest “humanizing the murderer” or even any attempt to "explain" it, their ‘Media Critique’ of that day laments that media outlets have failed to report the Israeli side of this story”.

And remember HRs whine just 6 days ago about the BBC headline?

the latest BBC headline "Bulldozer rampage hits Jerusalem", is also fundamentally flawed, failing to attribute the attack to the Palestinian individual who carried it out. Instead it refers to an inanimate machine as the instigator. Of course, the bulldozer did not carry out its actions of its own free will.

So, how did HR describe the murder of Iain Hook ?

United Nations worker Iain Hook was killed by an IDF bullet

Ah, that would be the bullet of free will.

According to HRs standards of 6 days ago this was “fundamentally flawed’, “shocking” and “despicable”.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 2 ‘Media Critique’: “Caught: BBC's Shocking First Response to Terror Attack”

“We catch the BBC's despicable first headline before it gets changed”, shriek HonestReporting.

What was it?

Israel bulldozer driver shot dead

HR offer this weird explanation,

we were able to catch the BBC before it amended its headline, this example offers further evidence of the BBC's mindset - the initial instinct to portray Israel as an aggressor and a Palestinian as a victim even if that Palestinian was actively involved in a terrorist attack against innocent civilians.

Shocking”, “despicable”……quick, someone get the smelling salts.

Where on earth they see “Israel as an aggressor” and “Palestinian as a victim” in that 5 word headline is anyone’s guess. Fevered imagination perhaps?

And of course they had the benefit of writing this ‘Media Critique’ many hours later when all the facts were known. And naturally, the updated BBC headline was also reason to complain. But, hey, that’s just what they do.