Media bias in the US? As if it isn’t clear that Arab “crimes” are far worse than Israeli “crimes”, FAIR issues a report that clarifies any doubts:
When Human Rights Watch recently released two investigations of the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war, the New York Times found the group’s documentation of unlawful attacks against Israel to be far more newsworthy than unlawful attacks committed by Israel.
It’s rare that a media outlet’s news standards can be tested so directly. The human rights group released separate reports on violations by both Hezbollah and Israel, charging each side with indiscriminate attacks on civilians. When the first report was released, the Times placed an 800-word story (8/31/07) under the headline “Rights Group Accuses Hezbollah of Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians in Israel War,” and accompanied by a photo of Israeli civilians at risk from Hezbollah rockets.
But when Human Rights Watch’s focus turned to Israeli actions, the paper’s interest declined considerably; it ran a brief Associated Press report (9/7/07), sans photo, totaling 139 words. The headline: “Israel Criticized Over Lebanon Deaths.”
In terms of sheer news value, it would be difficult to argue that the first report was more important than the second. Hezbollah’s tactics were loudly criticized throughout the media during and immediately after the war, with few if any media defenders; thus, a report documenting those infractions would be familiar territory for most readers.
In contrast, Human Rights Watch’s report on Israeli infractions offered new information to the media debate, undercutting a key argument that Israel’s supporters have made about civilian casualties in Lebanon–that they resulted from Hezbollah’s use of the Lebanese population as human shields. Human Rights Watch found no evidence for these oft-repeated claims; as the group’s executive director Kenneth Roth was quoted on Democracy Now! (9/6/07), “The Israeli government’s claim that civilian deaths in southern Lebanon were due mainly to Hezbollah hiding behind civilians is false.”
It’s not as if the Israeli establishment is talking about collective punishment against the Palestinians in Gaza. Oh wait…