Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

British Media Bias: Israel at 60

Expand Messages
  • Ami Isseroff
    Don t forget - Facebook Zionism http://apps.facebook.com/causes/causes/73516 British media bias: Israel at 60
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
       Don't forget - Facebook Zionism

      British media bias: Israel at 60

      http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/07/british-media-bias-in-coverage-of.html

      British media bias: Israel at 60


      Following is a summary of the main points of this important analysis (Israel at 60 in the UK media – an analysis). Not surprisingly, it shows that BBC and journals such as the Guardian and Independent were consistently biased against Israel, and included gratuitous conclusions that indicate an active anti- Israel slant rather than opinions based on fact: Israel doesn't want peace, Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians... This is a good study, but we always want more. We would like to see (wouldn't we?):

      1. An analysis of television broadcasts. Television and radio are more difficult to analyze for many reasons - images and tone are hard to quantify.

      2. A comparison of the coverage of Israel at 60 to the coverage of Israel at 50. Is anti-Israel bias getting worse or is it receding?

      3. A tabulation of specific factual errors and omissions in op-ed articles. Opinion pieces are "allowed" to get the facts wrong. When they are always wrong in a specific direction they point to bias.

      4. Did accounts of 1948 mention that it was the Arabs that attacked Israel?

      5. How much of this British coverage included criticism of Britain's own role in creating the conflict, in reneging on its role as the British mandatory, and in attempting itself to ignore or violate
      UN Resolution 181, which called for partition? A mass of evidence indicates that the British wanted to ensure that the Negev would be part of Jordan. British failed to cooperate with UN officials and allowed Arab infiltrators to enter Palestine. It would be interesting to find out if any of this was mentioned in British commentary.

      Ami Isseroff

      Israel at 60 in the UK media – an analysis

      http://www.justjournalism.com/plugins/p1999_media_special_articles/pdf/1504_Israel60Booklet_05.pdf


      Just Journalism

      contact@...

      INTRODUCTION

      In May 2008, Israel celebrated 60 years of independence since its inception in 1948. Just Journalism carried out a thematic and statistical analysis of coverage of this event in the UK media, during April and May 2008.

      Scope of coverage

      Our monitoring covered nine national daily newspapers, eight Sunday newspapers, one London daily and three weekly current affairs magazines. We also monitored the BBC News Website and six BBC Radio 4 programmes as well as a BBC2 documentary. (See Appendix A for a complete list of outlets and programmes monitored.)

      Methodology

      Our report has three objectives:

      1 To summarise and evaluate the volume and depth of the coverage devoted to this event.

      2 To identify the key messages that came through from the coverage as a whole.

      3 To conclude at a macro level whether the coverage was broadly favourable, unfavourable or neutral.

      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
      Scope:


      Israel's 60th anniversary was an event which received wide coverage in the UK media.

      Seventy articles appeared in the print media, BBC Radio 4 aired 12 segments in the programmes we monitored, while the BBC News website featured over 40 articles related to this event. The Guardian carried the most coverage, followed by The Independent.

      Themes:

      A number of themes emerged from the coverage:

      A key theme to emerge from the UK media coverage was that Israel does not seek peace. Eighty-three per cent of all press coverage which took a position on the issue contained the message that Israel does not seek peace.

      Seventeen per cent of all press coverage which took a position on Israel's stance on peace contained the message that Israel seeks peace.

      Only 16% of articles conveyed that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

      Just Journalism found that across all the coverage as a whole, the strongest theme to emerge was that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians. While Israel's anniversary celebrations received extensive coverage, this was generally offset by reporting on what the Palestinians call the "Nakba" or catastrophe.

      A snapshot of the overall newspaper coverage indicates that 44 % of articles contained the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians, and this rises to 54% when looking at the broadsheets.

      This message is particularly prominent in The Guardian and The Independent. Sixty-seven per cent of articles in The Guardian contained this message.

      There was a noticeable lack of coverage of domestic issues in Israel, of concessions Israel has made for peace and of the existential threat to Israel posed by Iran.

      Nevertheless, there were divergences in messages across media outlets:

      Eighty per cent of the coverage in the Daily Telegraph, for instance, contained the message that Israel faces existential threats.

      On BBC Radio 4, the strongest message was that Israel is a homeland for the Jews – a message appearing in 42% of items.

      By contrast, the strongest message on the BBC News website was that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians – a message appearing in 45% of web articles

      ....

      The purpose of extracting the key messages from each item of coverage was specifically to focus on the main

      impression that was being conveyed to the reader or listener. We extracted the key messages from each individual

      news item or article and then aggregated all the individual messages into common categories.

      The messages we identified fall into eleven main categories, described below. Each article may contain one or more

      of the following messages:

      1. Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians

      This message came through from pieces that implied that Israel's 60th anniversary should necessarily be seen alongside Palestinian displacement and dispossession in 1948. These pieces usually refer to what is often described as the "Nakba" or "catastrophe".

      2. Israel does not seek peace

      Coverage in this category conveyed the sense that Israel is not seeking peace.

      3. Israel is an entirely negative phenomenon

      Coverage in this message category portrayed Israel in a fundamentally negative way, occasionally questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish State.

      4. The Palestinian refugee problem is the fault of Israel

      Coverage in this category referred exclusively to the events of 1948, but suggested that Israel is chiefly to blame for the Palestinian problem.

      5. Israel has lost its ideals

      This message was derived from coverage relating to an erosion of Israel's founding ideals and values.

      6. Israel's future is uncertain

      This message came through from pieces raising questions over Israel's future existence as a result of demographic trends, regional conditions or its policies.

      7. Israel faces existential threats

      Coverage in this message category highlighted the existential threats facing Israel, most commonly the threat from Iran.

      8. Israel is a homeland for the Jews

      This included pieces conveying the sense that Israel is a focal point for Jewish identity or that Israel is a haven for Jews around the world.

      9. Israel is a successful country

      Coverage containing this message conveyed admiration for Israel's accomplishments or recognised that Israel has excelled in key areas such as democracy, economy, social diversity and the high-tech industry.

      10. Israel seeks peace

      Coverage in this category conveyed the sense that Israel is seeking peace.

      11. The Palestinian refugee problem is the fault of the Arab world

      This covered pieces that referred exclusively to the events of 1948, and suggested that the Arab world is chiefly to blame for the Palestinian problem.

      MESSAGING IN NEWSPAPERS

      The section below summarises the key messages within the printed publications. A full discussion of the messaging in individual newspapers and magazines can be found in Part 5 – Analysis of Individual Media Outlets.

      The broadsheets and tabloids are addressed separately.

      Key messages across all newspapers

      Eighty-three per cent of articles which took a position on Israel's stance on peace contained the message that Israel did not seek peace.

      Sixty-two per cent of articles which blamed one party for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem blamed Israel.

      Forty-four per cent of articles contained the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians.

      Twenty-seven per cent of articles contained the message that Israel is a successful country.

      Twenty-four per cent of articles contained the message that Israel faces existential threats.

      Sixteen per cent of articles contained the message that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

      Sixteen per cent of articles contained the message that Israel has lost its ideals.

      Fourteen per cent of articles carried the message that Israel's future is uncertain.

      Ten per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel is an entirely negative phenomenon.

      ...

      Key messages in broadsheets

      Fifty-four per cent of articles contained the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians.

      Eighty-eight per cent of articles which took a position on Israel's stance on peace contained the message that

      Israel does not seek peace.

      Ninety per cent of articles which blamed one party for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem

      blamed Israel.

      Twelve per cent of articles contained the message that Israel is an entirely negative phenomenon.

      Twenty-two per cent of articles contained the message that Israel faces existential threats.

      Twenty-six per cent of articles contained the message that Israel is a successful country.

      Sixteen per cent of articles contained the message that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

      ISRAEL WAS CREATED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PALESTINIANS

      [Figure omitted]

      .... For instance, out of 15 articles on Israel's 60th anniversary published in The Guardian, 10 (67%) contained the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians, whereas neither of the two articles in The Independent on Sunday contained that message.

      Overall, 54% of articles in the broadsheets carried the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians.

      All the daily broadsheets published at least one article containing the message.

      Two out of four Sunday broadsheets published articles with the same message.

      An example of this message:

      "That is why today – the anniversary of the end of the British mandate in Palestine and the declaration of Israeli statehood – is also a day of mourning for 10 million Palestinians and their supporters: the commemoration of the nakba, or catastrophe, that led to the destruction of their society and expulsion from their homeland."

      (Seamus Milne, Expulsion and dispossession can't be cause for celebration, The Guardian, May 15, 2008)

      ISRAEL IS AN ENTIRELY NEGATIVE PHENOMENON

      [Figure omitted - only the Guardian and the Independent carried this message]

      Overall, 12% of articles in the broadsheets carried the message that Israel is an entirely negative phenomenon.

      This message was only carried in The Guardian and The Independent.

      An example of this message:

      "Sixty years after the creation of Israel, there could not be a wider gap between the cruel reality of Israel today and Herzl's dream." (Jacqueline Rose, Israeli fiction – the nation's conscience, The Guardian, May 10, 2008)

      ISRAEL DOES NOT SEEK PEACE

      [Figure omitted]

      Forty per cent of articles carried the message that Israel does not seek peace. All the daily broadsheets published articles containing the message.

      Of the Sunday broadsheets, only The Observer published an article with this message.

      An example of this message is the following:

      "there has always been a strain of Israeli society that preferred violently setting its own borders, on its own terms, to talk and compromise. This weekend, the elected Hamas government offered a six-month truce that could have led to talks. The Israeli government responded within hours by blowing up a senior Hamas leader and killing a 14-year-old girl." (Johann Hari, Israel is suppressing a secret it must face, The Independent, April 28, 2008).

      ISRAEL HAS LOST ITS IDEALS

      [Figure omitted]

      Overall, 14% of articles in the broadsheets carried the message that Israel has lost its ideals. Of the daily broadsheets, The Guardian, Financial Times and The Times carried the message. Of the Sunday broadsheets, only The Observer published an article with this message.

      An example of this message is the following: "Today, with the 60th anniversary of independence fast approaching, there are a significant number of Israelis on both left and right asking whether in the intervening period the Israel declared by its founding fathers as a largely secular, communitarian project has not somehow lost the plot.." (Sam Kiley, Israel: 60 years of hope and despair,

      The Observer, April 20, 2008)

      ISRAEL IS A SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY

      [Figure omitted]

      Overall, only 26% of articles in the broadsheets carried the message that Israel is a successful country. All the daily broadsheets published at least one article containing the message.

      Three out of four of the Sunday broadsheets published articles with the same message.

      An example of this message:

      "…60 years after its creation the very existence of the state of Israel remains nothing short of a miracle: a miracle of human will, determination and ultimately of hope. In less than three generations and in spite of extremely difficult conditions, Israelis have managed not only to survive but also to create a rich and original culture; to achieve spectacular results in science and medicine; and to create a technological hub in the region." (Dominique Moisi,

      Israel's Pride and Prejudice at 60, Financial Times, April 30, 2008)

      ISRAEL IS A HOMELAND FOR THE JEWS

      Overall, 16% of articles in the broadsheets carried the message that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.All the daily broadsheets except The Times published at least one article containing this message. Three out of four of the Sunday broadsheets published articles with the same message.

      An example of this message:

      " …This Zionist anthem articulates something very deep in Israelis' sense of themselves: they are a nation formed by those who had no other place to live. The Holocaust, inevitably, looms large in this: the establishment of a Jewish state just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz was no coincidence. After 2,000 years, the world was finally persuaded that the Jews deserved what every other people regarded as a basic right: a place of their own." (Jonathan Freedland, As it turns 60, the fear is Israel has decided it can get by without peace,

      The Guardian, May 7, 2008)

      ISRAEL SEEKS PEACE

      [Figure omitted]

      Overall, only 6% of articles carried the message that Israel seeks peace. This message was only contained in three articles in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Telegraph. An example of this message:

      "Mr Rabin, who won the Nobel peace prize for negotiating the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian leader Yasser

      Arafat in 1993, showed that the Jewish state could also make painful concessions in the interests of peaceful

      coexistence with its Arab neighbours". (Con Coughlin, As Israel remembers horrors of the past, the future

      looms dark, The Daily Telegraph, May 2, 2008)

      ISRAEL'S FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN

      [Figure omitted]

      Overall, 18% of articles carried the message that Israel's future is uncertain.

      The Guardian, The Independent, Financial Times and The Observer published articles carrying this message.

      An example of this message:

      "..Hopefully I will not live to see the day when it becomes possible that the State of Israel might no longer exist" (Daniel Barenboim, Israel and me, The Guardian, May 14, 2008)

      ISRAEL FACES EXISTENTIAL THREATS

      [Figure omitted]

      Overall, 22% of articles carried the message that Israel faces existential threats. This message featured particularly strongly in The Daily Telegraph. The message was not carried in The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, and The Sunday Times.

      An example of this message:

      "For a long time Israel has been accused of crying wolf over surrounding countries that want to "drive it into the sea". Now it has a neighbour whose president has not only made that threat explicit, but who intends to develop the capacity to do it." (Martin Bright, New Statesman, The Great Betrayal, May 19, 2008)


      BBC Radio

      Key messages in BBC Radio coverage

      Forty-two per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

      Thirty-three per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians.

      Twenty-five per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel faces existential threats.

      Twenty-five per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel's future is uncertain.

      BBC News Website

      Key messages on BBC News website

      Forty-five per cent of web coverage contained the message that Israel was created at the expense ofthe Palestinians.

      Thirty-one per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel is a homeland for the Jews.

      Twenty-six per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel is not seeking peace.

      Twenty-one per cent of coverage contained the message that Israel is a successful country.

      PART 3: POSITIONING ANALYSIS

      In addition to categorising key messages, we also observed how Israel was presented in broad terms, by noting whether each piece of coverage was positive, negative, or neutral, as defined below:

      Positive

      Israel was cast in a largely favourable light.

      Negative

      Israel was cast in a largely unfavourable light.

      Neutral

      Israel was cast neither in a favourable nor unfavourable light.

      Overall Statistics For All Newspapers

      Just Journalism found 70 articles across all the newspapers with relevant coverage.

      Thirty-six per cent of coverage was negative.

      Forty-three per cent of coverage was neutral.

      Twenty-one per cent was positive.

      [Figure omitted]

      Broadsheets

      Just Journalism found 50 articles across the broadsheets with relevant coverage.

      Thirty-eight per cent of coverage was negative.

      Forty-two per cent of coverage was neutral.

      Twenty per cent of coverage was positive.

      Therefore nearly twice as many broadsheet articles were negative than positive.

      [Figure omitted]

      ... The Guardian and The Independent contained the most negative coverage while the

      Telegraph titles carried the most positive coverage. None of the Sunday broadsheets carried negative articles.

      BBC Radio

      Just Journalism monitored 42 broadcasts on BBC Radio 4, including Sunday, Today and The World Tonight, finding 12 pieces of relevant coverage.

      Seventeen per cent of the coverage was negative.

      Sixty-six per cent of the coverage was neutral.

      Seventeen per cent of the coverage was positive.

      BBC News Website

      Just Journalism found 42 web items on the BBC News website.

      Forty-three per cent of the coverage was negative.

      Fifty-two per cent of the coverage was neutral.

      Five per cent of the coverage was positive.

      Therefore negative coverage outweighed positive coverage by almost nine to one.

      Of the 42 items published, 20 were authored pieces. Interestingly, a separate study of the authored pieces revealed the following:

      Sixty per cent of the coverage was negative.

      Forty per cent of the coverage was neutral.

      [The detailed analysis of journals is omitted]

      CONCLUSION

      The 60th anniversary of Israel's creation was an event that received extensive coverage in the UK media. This coverage varied across the media outlets, but the strongest theme overall was that Israel was created at the expense of the Palestinians. The focus on this theme suggests a shift in the British media towards the Palestinian narrative on 1948.

      A second theme that emerged from the UK media was that Israel does not seek peace, characterised by the focus on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its policy towards Gaza. In contrast, there were few references to the concessions that Israeli governments have made over recent years in order to advance peace with the Palestinians– from Oslo in 1993 through to the Camp David talks in 2000 and the Disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

      Arguably, the most noticeable omission in the coverage was the lack of focus on Israel's domestic issues, such as the hi-tech industry, the impact of immigration on Israeli society or relations between the religious and secular populations. Israel's 60th anniversary provided a rare opportunity for the UK media to explore and scrutinize the diverse challenges facing the Jewish State and its society. Yet, with a few exceptions, such as the Economist, the Financial Times and BBC Radio 4, the British media missed this opportunity.




      Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. This version originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/07/british-media-bias-in-coverage-of.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the authors. Circulated by ZNN. Subscribe by email to znn-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.