Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Media balance and integrity

Why do many Americans think the MSM is biased towards despots and terrorists?
Because it is! Meryl Yourish notes one striking example:
Can you find a news source for the rally against Ahmadinejad at the UN yesterday? Correction: Can you find a non-Jewish media source, or a non-blogger source, for the rally?
I can't. Except for the New York Sun.
I checked AP. Nothing. Reuters. Nada. I checked Google News. Nothing. 1010WINS. Nothing. I checked WABC, NY1, all the New York media sites. Gridlock alerts are the only thing you can find about the march. After all, it's not newsworthy. The fact that 2,000 people marched a day earlier to protest the Iraq war? Oh, yeah, that made the news.
35,000 people protesting against a man who wants to "wipe Israel from the map"? Not newsworthy at all. John Bolton speaking? Who? Elie Wiesel? George Pataki? Who?
If you want to read about the rally, it appears that you have to go to the bloggers who were there, or whose readers sent in pictures. Or the Israeli press. Or the Jewish media. But nowhere else can you find any evidence that 35,000 people protested the Iranian president’s message of hate.
The news media doesn't think that 35,000 people protesting the president of Iran outside the UN is worth a story. But 2,000 people protesting the Iraq war? Now that's news.
And not good ones, I'd say... And let's remember that this is the US media we are talking about, which are much reviled for being "Bush poodles" in Europe. Don't even get me started on the viciousness of much of the European media.
Meanwhile Instapundit has comments about how the media makes itself useful to terrorists:
Cole undermines his case a bit by admitting that there are cases where media people have "behaved inappropriately" -- that is, faked news on terrorists' behalf, but the bigger point, stressed in my post and in the Austin Bay article that I linked, is that media attention isn't just neutral coverage -- the way it generally is with, say, urban crime -- but rather the actual goal of terrorists. In fact, it's their lifeblood. Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military conflict, and media coverage is an essential part of the terrorist plan.
Media people know this, and even admit it, but don't let it affect their coverage -- though as Pam Hess of UPI admitted, they're far more careful about being spun by the U.S. military -- and one reason why they don't let it affect their coverage is that terrorism gives them ratings. That's what I meant by their mutually-supporting relationship. Terrorists provide ratings (and, as we've seen, often via staged news events) and news media provide the coverage that terrorists need. As I've noted in the past, news media are entirely capable of moderating their own coverage when they think the stakes are high -- say, protection of confidential sources, or promotion of racial tolerance -- but here they clearly don't feel that way. If they applied as much skepticism and adversarialism to terrorist behavior as they do to the U.S. military, few of us would be complaining.
Do read the whole thing.

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