The study, “Indicting Israel: New York Times Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” empirically examines coverage over an extended period of time, July 1-Dec. 31, 2011, and finds a “larger thematic narrative” of continued, embedded indictment of Israel that pervades both the news and commentary sections of the newspaper.
On the news pages, where readers expect objective and balanced reporting, criticism of Israel was cited more than twice as often as criticism of the Palestinians. The Palestinian perspective on the peace process was laid out nearly twice as often as the Israeli perspective. Vandalism by a fringe Israeli group and IDF military defensive strikes were emphasized in numerous articles, often with headlines highlighting Israeli actions, while Palestinian aggression and incitement was downplayed or ignored. Israel’s blockade of Gaza was usually mentioned without context. And Israel’s resort to force aboard a Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade was frequently discussed and faulted without referencing the precipitating attacks on Israeli soldiers by pro- Palestinian activists.
The theme of faulting Israel was amplified on the editorial and op-ed pages to one of Israel as a malignant force in the region. Despite the newspaper’s purported commitment to expose a diversity of opinions, three quarters of all opinion pieces on the conflict were devoted to denouncing Israel’s leaders or policies, while none were devoted to condemning Palestinians. Even Israel’s tolerance toward gays was condemned as a ploy to support human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Consider the following: When a group of Israeli teenagers were arrested in August 2012 for beating an Arab youth unconscious, The New York Times ran two separate front-page, above-fold articles about it. Both articles focused on the negative features of Israeli society that the incident was said to reveal.
Contrast that with the Times’ coverage, 17 months earlier, of an assault by Palestinian teenagers on an Israeli family. The victims, including three young children, were brutally slaughtered in a bloody attack that included slitting the throat of a 3-month old as she lay asleep in her crib. The New York Times chose not to cover that gruesome event on the front page, nor to comment on what the incident reveals about Palestinian society and the pernicious effects of incitement to kill Israelis by the Palestinian leadership.
The above incidents occurred outside CAMERA’s study period but provide a cogent example of how the Timesadjusts its focus to reflect a concept of newsworthiness that is shaped by its institutionalized worldview.Read the whole thing.
And for those of you who get your news from the Times, please consider getting elsewhere, especially when it comes to Israel.