The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Thursday, February 10, 2005

              Media Bias
Elder is right that the very framing of the ceasefire as a "mutual" one is the media's framing of the conflict in terms defined by the Palestinians. Unfortunately, this is not a new thing. Bruce Thornton reviews Covering the Intifada. How the Media Reported the Palestinian Uprising, a book by Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute, that deals with exactly that topic.
How a beleaguered, tiny Israel has been turned into a pariah state is a fascinating historical question. The answer lies in the many cultural pathologies of the Western democracies—anti-Semitism, sentimental Third-Worldism, Marxist anti-colonialism, and anti-Americanism are just a few of the irrational prejudices, bankrupt ideologies, and moral idiocies that have rendered the Middle East's only full-fledged democracy and free society into an international villain, the gnat the U.N. and the international left obsessively strain even as they swallow an endless number of murderous totalitarian camels.

Of the many transmitters of these pathologies, the Western electronic and print media have been the most destructive, shaping as they do the perceptions of the everyday voters who ultimately determine their countries' policies. The ideological bias, sloppiness, and often the sheer ignorance of the reporters, editors, and news anchors who fashion the news for Americans have created a distorted view of Israel and her predicament, one that frequently compromises American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Perhaps the worst habit that compromises the media's coverage of this crisis is the moral equivalency it grants to both sides of the conflict. Such equivalency is attractive to journalists who then can pretend that they are merely being objective and treating both sides the same. Yet both sides aren't morally the same: there is a right and a wrong, an aggressor and a defender in this conflict, a distinction supported by the facts of history. Thus to treat an inadvertent death caused by self-defense the same as a premeditated murder is not objectivity but a despicable moral idiocy akin to considering a surgeon and a knife-wielding mugger morally the same because both cut with edged weapons.
It seems to me that the acceptance of such media bias stems in large part from the ignorance of most people regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clearly the media has not helped out in erasing that ignorance.
|| Nudnik 12:35 PM
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