Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overwhelming Pro-Israel Bias

Just how pro-Israel is the Australian print media? In a word, extremely. But don't take my word for it, examine the evidence. Tendentious reporting aside, what follows is a list of the opinion pieces (inc. editorials) on Israel's murderous frolic in Gaza from The Australian (News Ltd/national), The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax/NSW), and The Age (Fairfax/Victoria) from 29/12/08 - 21/1/09. The opinion pieces for each paper are divided into pro-Israel items and those of a more critical bent. The list for each paper is followed by a summary comment:-

Pro-Israel opinion pieces in The Australian (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

29/12: Hamas betrays the Palestinians (editorial)
30/12: Crush Hamas & brave the backlash (Michael Oren)
31/12: Global activists defend terrorists by condemning Israel (Ralph Peters); Sound & fury... & it still signifies nothing (David Aaronovitch)
1/1/: Lessons for us all in Gaza bloodshed (Mirko Bagaric); Don't stop until Hamas is destroyed (Martin Peretz)
3/1: Israel is not the cause of terror (editorial); An honourable warrior against despicable tactics (Alan Dershowitz); Common ground riven by cultural gulf (Philip Mendes)
5/1: Hamas has the power to stop the shooting (editorial); Sorry history beyond today's violent images (Colin Rubenstein); Stopping the rockets a strategic necessity (Greg Sheridan)
6/1: It's about peace, not destruction of Hamas (Yuval Rotem); Failure is not an option for Israel this time (Shmuel Rosner)
7/1: West must guarantee resolution with Gaza (editorial); A sadly familiar case of with us or against us (Assa Doron)
8/1: Stay the course & bust the Hamas balloon (Bret Stephens); BBC parrots UN-Hamas as Palestinians kill their own (Melanie Phillips)
9/1: Diplomacy can stop the shooting in Gaza (editorial); Propaganda does nothing for peace (Niv Horesh); Quote from Spectator website (Melanie Phillips)
10/1: Israel just wants to live in peace (Daniel Finkelstein)
12/1: Empathy for sale (David Burchell)
15/1: Critics of Israel giving voice to anti-Semitism (Frank Furedi)
16/1: Hamas in a state of denial (Bret Stephens); The real Mid-East conflict is between nationalists & Islamists (Barry Rubin)
19/1: Lasting solution for Gaza must be found (editorial)

Total: 27

Opinion pieces critical of Israel in The Australian (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

31/12: The injustice of Israel's heavy hand (Amin Saikal)
3/1: Disaster of Israel's making (Sonja Karkar)
5/1: Middle East bullies on road to nowhere (Joseph Wakim)
12/1: Quote from Wall Street Journal (George Bisharat)
13/1: Israel's war queers the pitch for peace (Neil Clark)

Total: 5

Comment: With 32 opinion pieces over 24 days, you can see the extent of The Australian's fixation on the issue. And with 84% of its opinion pieces in favour of Israel, you can see the overwhelming pro-Israel bias on its op-ed pages. It is reasonable to assume that the remainder were included only by way of lip service to a more balanced coverage.

Pro-Israel opinion pieces in The Sydney Morning Herald (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

30/12: Israel, Gaza & Huntington (editorial); A lasting peace needs more than slogans (Con Coughlin)
2/1: Throw away the moral blinkers (Mirko Bagaric)
6/1: Israel crosses the line (editorial)
8/1: Israel is entitled to respond (Vic Alhadaff)
10/1: Breaking the cycle of violence needs a different intelligence (editorial); Rebuild the ruins: America's role in the Middle East (Martin Indyk)
13/1: It's too easy to blame Jews (Paul Sheehan)
19/1: Obama is walking a high wire (Paul Sheehan)

Total: 9

Opinion pieces critical of Israel in The SMH (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

8/1: And now who would trust Israel? (Sara Dowse)
12/1: Israel must abide by international law (Izzat Abdulhadi)

Total: 2

Comment: Of the SMH's 11 opinion pieces over 24 days (only 1/3rd of The Australian's coverage), 82% were pro-Israel. It is fair to assume that the remainder constitute only a token attempt at balance.

Pro-Israel opinion pieces in The Age (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

31/12: The tragedy when a regime uses its citizens as tools of war (Fania Oz-Salzberger)
2/1: Inadvertent martyrs to the cause of Hamas (David Bernstein)
7/1: Gaza: the great divide 2 (Shai Hermesh)
16/1: A free press comes with responsibilities (Yuval Rotem)
21: Negotiating with terrorists is impossible (Mark Leibler)

Total: 5

Opinion pieces critical of Israel in The Age (29/12/08 - 21/1/09)

30/12: I dream of another Israel (Uri Avnery)
1/1: The deadly consequences of the games that Israel plays (Michael Shaik)
3/1: Killing civilians will not make Israel safer (editorial)
7/1: Gaza: the great divide 1 (Khalid Meshaal)
16/1: Israel's actions foster extremism (Malcolm Fraser)
17/1: Israelis are living high on US expense account* (Michael Backman) [*Actually in The Melbourne Business Age]

Total: 6

Comment: The Age's opinion coverage (11) was almost 50/50.


Anonymous said...

I think you need to read over the op eds again. for example, julia irwin published an op ed in the smh criticising Israel's atrocities.

Anonymous said...

That was in The Sun-Herald, not the papers under review. It was, moreover, followed by a pro-Israel number by Robert Goot the following Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Simple solution; do not buy biased papers, you are wasting your money.
There are many good internet sites, e.g. Lowenstein, so go to them for news. The controlled mass media is a fraud.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I appear to have inadvertently deleted your last comment re bias of other kinds in the ms press/media. Just about every post on this blog deals with precisely that. Happy reading.


Anonymous said...

Well you said how many were in the smh.

That is the smh, which I read online, and is where I read Julia Irwin's article. I don't dispute that our corporate media is overwhelmingly biased towards the press releases of Israel's government. But your count should include Irwin (and Goot too).