Monitoring Biased Reporting In Mainstream Media
Things about the situation in Palestine that are reported almost everywhere else in the world are often left out of US mainstream media.
In this example, an article about the “Plight of the Palestinians” appeared prominently in the International version of Newsweek (August, 2004), but was completely removed from the US version. It wasn’t just absent from the front page; it was omitted from the entire magazine.
This is just one example. If it were the only one—big deal. But any serious comparison of international media to US media shows that this is a pattern. (Those skeptical of this conclusion are invited to try it themselves!)
During the first week of the ’08-’09 winter attacks on Gaza, the Washington Post ran 7 hawkish - 1 dovish op-ed/editorials, the Washington Times ran 5 - 0, and the Wall Street Journal 4 - 0. During the three-week offensive, 926 Palestinian civilians and 4 Israeli civilians were killed. We heard—often multiple times—about these 4 and the 9 other Israeli soldiers killed (4 of them by friendly fire), but what about the 926 Palestinian civilians killed—more than 200 times as many?
Many who are upset by this discrepancy respond with frustration and even hopelessness. But these biases do not come out of nowhere; they are largely (though not entirely, by any means) the result of active monitoring by media watch-dog groups that inundate media who stray from the extreme Zionist party line with hundreds of complaints. (Some media won’t see such complaints—those continuing the status quo with classic US coverage.)
Why can't those desiring more accurate information in the media about the denial of Palestinian human rights be as dedicated as those other groups? Why aren't media being inundated by people like us who want to see the whole story that is reported to the rest of the world every day? We need to be the change that we seek. We need to write media—not here and there, a couple of us, but consistently, hundreds of us, a collective voice demanding fair coverage.
HOW CAN WE DO THIS? HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:
1. The WRITE! Project has a team monitoring national US media and sending out alerts about specific pro-Zionist articles and editorials that people can respond to. They provide the email address to write to, the original piece, and talking points to use. It shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes. Contact the WRITE! Team to get alerts. Take a few minutes to write after each one. It only works if we do it together.
2. Recreate a similar mechanism to WRITE! in your own community. If you don’t already have one, create an email list of concerned citizens, and send out alerts for people to write in when you see something biased in local media. If you don’t know how to contact local media, try this website.
3. Consider writing an op-ed or article for a local publication (campus newspaper, church newsletter, or local newspapers). See these tips for writing an opinion editorial (op-ed).