Understanding Media Bias | JewBoston
“There’s an old joke about a typical Jewish telegram – nowadays it would be an email – ‘Start worrying. Details to follow, “thought Jonathan Tobin as he began his recent speech,” What is the real reason for anti-Semitic prejudice in the media?
Tobin is editor of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate), contributing writer for The National Review, and columnist for The New York Post, Haaretz, and other publications. The Zoom conference, held on July 8, was sponsored by the Canadian Foundation for Anti-Semitism Education.
“Over the past half century, we have faced media prejudice against Israel. It got a lot worse, ”Tobin said. “The recent conflict has produced a torrent of biased articles and reporting, which are generally repetitions of Hamas propaganda. The message, however, was simple: Israel is bad. Tobin stressed that there is no discussion of Israel’s right to self-defense, or that Hamas is targeting civilians – when Israel does not – or the aggressive tactics of it. ‘Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
At least half of the Palestinian victims were members of Hamas; others were killed by Hamas. “But that’s not what you get from the mainstream media,” Tobin noted. “You don’t hear that Hamas’s goal is to wipe Israel off the map; you hear that Israel is an oppressive apartheid state. These messages have become routine. “
“Journalists and editors are deeply ignorant,” he continued. “They don’t speak Hebrew or Arabic. The Middle East is not their specialty. How can you cover up a conflict if you don’t speak the language? Where is the coverage of the 100-year war on the presence of Jews in the Middle East? It is beyond ancient history for them. Tobin pointed out that journalists and their editors know nothing about the events of 1948, when there could have been a two-state solution, but the Arabs rejected it. He reminded the audience that after the 1967 war, eight Arab heads of state attended a summit in Khartoum, Sudan. They formulated a resolution that called for a continuation of the war against Israel and adopted what has come to be known as “the three no’s”: no peace with Israel. No recognition of Israel. No negotiation with Israel. Tobin also noted that Palestinians rejected offers of land and statehood in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2008.
“But all of this is old news for journalists. They don’t know the story or don’t think it’s relevant, ”Tobin said. “The easiest way for journalists is to pick an outsider and a tyrant and then write history that way. What happened in 1948 gets minimal coverage. At the time, many were sympathetic to Israel; dead Jews are still popular. In May 1967, the world expected a second Holocaust. “There was sympathy because everyone thought Israel would lose what has become the Six Day War,” Tobin said. “When they didn’t, the press turned the Palestinians into outsiders; it’s the easiest way to tell the story.
The Lebanese war of 1982 and the first intifada, which began in 1987, accentuated the slide of the press towards anti-Israel propaganda. “When the Intifada, a Palestinian reign of terror, ended, the Palestinians were again transformed by the press into biblical David and Jewish Goliaths. Tobin calls the press emphasis on the Palestinian narrative “moral tourism.” The massacres in other countries, such as Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Iran, have generated little interest. Tobin added, “The focus is on the only Jewish nation in the world. One Jewish state is too much. Those who say they care about the Palestinians don’t. The Palestinian people are being brutalized by their government and it goes unreported.
Over the years, it has become common for journalists to allow themselves to be manipulated and dependent on fixers, translators, guides and intermediaries. “Journalists are just tourists,” Tobin said. “The people who run them work for Fatah and Hamas. “
Tobin pointed out that the battle to keep the press honest has been going on for decades. “When I say it’s worse, it’s not laziness, it’s deliberate. The culture of journalism has changed. We understand prejudices, such as conservatives and liberals, which are as old as the press. It’s different now, especially with the internet and social media. Now anyone can post, blog. Lots of journalists pretend to be objective, then take to Twitter and Facebook and become opinion columnists. Then we see through their “objectivity”.
Tobin acknowledged that people generally don’t agree to disagree anymore. “Political parties are at war with each other. We watch different stories than those watched by people with whom we disagree. We live in cocoons. We remove or remove those with which we do not agree. And the media follow. “
Academics, as well as the press, link the Third World to the struggle for civil rights in the United States, Tobin said. This had a major impact on Middle East coverage. “Jews and Israel are now considered the beneficiaries of white privilege. Journalists believe that journalism should be partial: Israel is the oppressor, the Arabs are the victims.
Tobin added that it is not enough to detect journalistic errors, a goal “which would only make sense if journalists cared about errors.” Publishers publish what will please their audience, which will sell articles. Even though bands like CAMERA and Stand With Us often catch outright errors and lies, the fixes never have the impact of the original error. He encouraged the public to seek alternatives to those sources which are anti-Zionist, “which is the same as anti-Semite.”
Print publications are in decline, Tobin said. “The web dominates. Much of journalism is now advocacy, left and right. They are activists, not journalists. It is a radical change. We need to promote points of sale that tell the truth.
Tobin ended his speech by acknowledging that it is easy for supporters of Israel to succumb to sadness. “Overall, the west is do not anti-Semitic, ”he concluded. “They know the truth about Israel. We have allies. We must move forward with confidence. Truth is never a losing battle. Our cause is just. Giving up is not an option. With God’s help, we can fight this fight. Lies always fail when discovered.
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