-Read the excerpt below from honestreporting.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.
1. What type of bias is this an example of?
2. Why is it important for every news article to have an accurate headline?
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
From a post by Simon Plosker at honestreporting.com (original post date 11/11/12):
Over the past 24 hours, Palestinian terrorists have fired some 70 rockets and mortars into Israel from Gaza, wounding three Israelis, causing damage to property and sending a million residents of the south into bomb shelters.
In fact, rockets have been fired at Israel on a regular basis. As of October 2012, over 800 rockets had been launched at Israel from Gaza since January 2012.
But what does it take for the media to sit up and take notice of the security situation emanating from Gaza?
- Not the firing of an anti-tank missile at an IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] jeep on the Israeli side of the Gaza border on Saturday, which wounded four Israeli soldiers. This was picked up by wire services such as the AP, but not republished widely at all by other media outlets.
- Not the blowing up of a massive tunnel from southern Gaza towards Israel by Palestinian terrorists on Thursday, also reported by AP but less so elsewhere.
- And certainly not the aforementioned rocket barrages.
When it comes to the mainstream media, we see two trends at work:
1. If it bleeds, it leads: Unless Palestinians are killed or injured, it simply isn’t news. Of course, this skews the situation precisely because Israel has had to take measures to protect its civilians from rocket attacks. Bomb shelters, the Iron Dome anti-missile shield and the use of sirens to warn of attacks have all ensured that the civilian casualty figure remains mercifully low. But just because Israelis are not dying in tangible numbers, it does not diminish the seriousness of the situation and the suffering of the residents of Israel’s south.
In the latest example, several Palestinians have died and around 30 injured as a result of Israel’s actions against the terrorists. Only after this have the media bothered to report on the deteriorating situation.
2. It all started when Israel fired back: Thanks to the late pick-up of the story by the media, many headlines focus on the Israeli counter strikes and the Palestinian deaths rather than the Palestinian terrorism and rocket fire that have plagued Israel for such a considerable amount of time prior to this latest escalation in violence.
Typical of this is the Washington Post‘s headline:
“FOUR PALESTINIANS KILLED IN ISRAELI SHELLING AFTER BORDER ATTACK”
The media does a disservice when they fail to report on Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza that disrupt Israelis’ daily life, yet do not cause mass casualties. If the media ignores violent attacks from Gaza, any Israeli operations to stem the terrorism will be devoid of vital context, contributing to the image of Israel as the provocateur and aggressor.
Take a look at your local media. How are they covering this story? Are they covering it at all?
1. Bias by omission and story selection.
2. Headlines can greatly influence readers' opinions about the news. The importance of an accurate headline is that most people don't read every word of every article; they often just skim the headlines. Therefore, those who read just a headline are not accurately informed when the headline misrepresents the story.