Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Western media: Obsession with Israel

The Arab Spring has revealed the Western Media’s obsession with Israel, whilst failing to appreciate that this is a non story to hundreds of millions of Arabs struggling under Tyranny.  Western news organisations do not focus enough on topics of repressive governments and human rights violations in the Arab world.

The guardian’s response to the revolution in Tunisia in January 2011 accurately cites President Ben Ali as, “a brutal dictator” and refers to numerous “torture and human rights violations”. However must ask ourselves: since when has the guardian cared about people living under the grip of the Tunisian police state?  By the publications own calculations, in 2010 Tunisia was one of their least reported countries.  There were only 18 content items on Tunisia in 2010, where as in contrast – 1008 pieces on Israel.

Take the 5 broadsheets: The Times, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent.  Each has two or three correspondents, permanently based in the Middle East.  In all five cases, at least one correspondent is based in Jerusalem.  This explains the lack of correspondence (until now) about the police states and autocracies that are (or were) Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen etc.  Instead – British reporters focused on the West Bank, which now everyone knows a great deal about.

Another example of Western obsession with Israel was when The New York Times granted the dictator Muammar Gaddafi an op–ed in 2009.  Gaddafi raved about the, “shocking level of Israeli-Palestinian violence” and the “cycle of destruction and injustice”.  It is safe to say that the New York Times look rather foolish now that Gaddafi in 2011 vowed to kill all his citizens for having the audacity to voice their disapproval of his rule.

Of course, recent reporting on the real Middle East is very much welcome.  However we shall yet see as to whether news priorities will be re-organised.

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