Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Bias in the Middle East. (Press & Media)

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Bias in the Middle East. (Press & Media)

Article excerpt

"Days of Rage" by Sharyn Vane, in American Journalism Review (July-Aug. 2002), Univ. of Maryland, 1117 Journalism Bldg., College Park, Md. 20742-7111.

A tidal wave of indignation hit news organizations last spring--angry e-mails, phone calls, letters, even boycotts. The complaint: bias against Israel (or, in the minority view, in favor of Israel) in coverage of the latest violence in the Middle East. "It's more continuous and more intense than I've ever seen it," said beleaguered National Public Radio ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, who received some 9,000 furious e-mails between March and May.

"People have bristled at everything from word choices to story play," with failure to cover rallies (pro-Israel, usually) an especial sore point, notes Vane, books editor of The Austin American-Statesman. In Minneapolis, some 350 readers of the Star Tribune, including the state's highest elected officials, objected to the paper's refusal to describe Palestinian "suicide bombers" as "terrorists." A letter writer from an editor of B'nai B'rith's International Jewish Monthly complained that while a front-page Washington Post feature vividly portrayed the suffering of a Palestinian family, no comparable attention was paid that month to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks. …

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