CNN Waters Down the Israeli Response

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on November 4, 2009

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the October 29th post at HonestReporting.com.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

… Amnesty International has published a report accusing Israel of denying Palestinians access to water supplies.

Media outlets, including AP, AFP, Reuters, BBC, The Independent, Sky News, The Age and the Irish Times, [reported] Amnesty’s allegations. The Times of London even ran with the provocative headline: “Palestinians Suffer Under Israeli Water Torture”.

While the above mentioned media did, at least, include some limited responses from Israeli officials, the CNN report … from Paula Hancocks did not even bother to supply any Israeli reaction whatsoever.
(click here for video report)

Regarding Amnesty’s report itself, officials at the Israeli Water Authority told the Jerusalem Post they were never given an opportunity to present information to Amnesty researchers, nor respond to the Palestinian allegations. They also say the report’s figures are deeply flawed. ………….

A Jerusalem Post editorial addresses the issues:

… The causes of the situation aren’t considered. . . .

Additionally, the Israel Water Authority notes that, when all water uses are combined, it emerges that 149 cubic meters are available per capita per annum for Israelis, and 105 cu.m. for Palestinians. The difference, though not negligible, is far from Amnesty’s claim of a super-acute shortage, well below the World Health Organization recommended minimum allotment. Water availability to Israelis has fallen sharply in recent decades. In 1967 it stood at 500 cu.m. – so today’s figure represents a 70% drop. Until the Six Day War, Palestinians could count on a mere 86 cu.m. yearly. Their situation has improved by 22%.

Had it been given the opportunity, the Water Authority would also have highlighted that Israel supplies water to the PA well in excess of its 1995 Oslo Accords undertakings. Systematically overlooked by Amnesty, meanwhile, are Palestinian breaches of these accords – including pirate drilling, water theft and routine damage to pipelines, failures to purify waste water (despite massive contributions by donor nations), irrigating crops with fresh rather than reclaimed water, dumping untreated sewage into streams, severely contaminating Israel’s Coastal Aquifer and forcing Israel to deal with PA sewage.

It is very hard to resist the conclusion that Amnesty’s report was commissioned to serve a specific agenda.

Read the origianal post at honestreporting.com.

Questions

1.  Which two types of bias are displayed in the CNN report by Paula Hancocks?

2.  On their website, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ.org) state that “public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” The Society’s Code of Ethics expects journalists to:

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

Why do you think CNN reporter Paula Hancocks has failed to carry out the most basic of journalistic norms by neglecting to report Israel’s reaction to the accusations against them?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  The CNN report displays bias by selection of sources and omission.

2.  Opinion question.  Answers vary.