Monday, October 6, 2008

Do the Press Report or Make the News?

Seems to me the press have given up any pretence of reporting in a fair and balanced way. No, this is not new it has been going on for years, it just seems to be more blatantly obvious with no attempts to defend its “journalism”, this is a word that needs to be redefined in today’s dictionaries.

From Just Journalism in the UK comes a review of how the press reported the visit of Paul McCartney and his performance in Israel. No mention of the 50,000 people who attended a successful concert in a thoroughly peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere. (the motorists had problems with traffic jams but that was expected)

JJ reports that whilst the overwhelmingly positive reception he received was reported, much of the coverage was devoted to objections by Palestinians and Palestinian sympathisers to McCartney's visit and to the fact that he would not be performing in the Palestinian territories.

These themes were most prominent in the television broadcasts, with both ITV and the BBC focusing on the Palestinian perspective. ITV broadcast two items by Julian Manyon about the McCartney visit, on 24 September and the following day. The first report covered the singer's visit to Bethlehem and focused entirely on Palestinian opposition, quoting Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti calling Israel ‘the oppressor'. In both the studio introduction to the report and in a question the journalist put to Paul McCartney, the focus was the accusation by Palestinians that the artist was acting as ‘an accomplice to the occupation'.

BBC Six O'clock News broadcast a report by Wyre Davies on the day of the concert, which also spent more time focusing on Palestinian objections than on Israel's view. The journalist did not interview an Israeli in his report.

The broadsheets reported Palestinian calls for McCartney to boycott Israel, while the tabloids concentrated on the huge security requirements in light of death threats from Islamic hardliners.

Interestingly The Times also reported “rumours” that Israeli right-wingers might also protest against the concert. Their leading article stated that these protests, which were not mentioned in any other paper, and never materialised, - how is that for “making news headlines” ?

While The Guardian led with ‘
McCartney Israel gig sparks controversy', over half the article actually focused on a totally separate story - the release of a report by several aid agencies, which criticised the Quartet for not doing enough to alleviate Palestinian suffering.

And it is not only Britain!! Kenneth Timmerman, President and director of the Middle East Data Project reveals extremely disturbing evidence that foreign nationals from the Muslim world are trying to influence the presidential election through illegal contributions to the Barack Obama campaign.

We're not talking a few dollars here. As Timmerman notes, the Federal Election Commission has compiled a list of questionable foreign contributions totaling nearly $34,000,000! The "mainstream media" has virtually ignored this issue, in spite of the many, many news reports coming out of the Middle East and Muslim world that document the strong support Barack Obama has there. Has investigative reporting gone out of the window totally??

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