Mystery Land

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 21, 2010

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by OpinionJournal.com's editor James Taranto (original post date 3/22/10).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

“UN Chief Says Gaza Suffering Under Israeli Blockade,” reads the BBC Web headline. The story starts out the way you’d expect:

The UN chief has said Israel’s blockade of Gaza is causing “unacceptable suffering,” during a Middle East visit to reinvigorate the peace process.

Ban Ki-moon told Gazans that “we stand with you” as he visited an area damaged by Israel’s offensive 14 months ago.

His visit to the region comes amid tension over Israel’s plans to build more settlements in East Jerusalem.

But if you slog through the story, you come to this, in the 10th paragraph:

Among a list of criticisms of the blockade by Israel and Egypt, Mr. Ban said the blockade was counter-productive as it prevented legitimate commerce and encouraged smuggling and extremism.

Egypt? Where the heck is this Egypt? The BBC buried the lead: Apparently there are two Jewish states!

Read the original post at opinionjournal.com. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the entry.)

Questions

1.  Why is it important for a news organization to provide an accurate headline for every news article?

2.  Why do you think the BBC chose to print the headline “UN Chief Says Gaza Suffering Under Israeli Blockade,” instead of Israeli-Egyptian Blockade


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
























Answer(s)

1. 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.  

2. Opinion question. Answers vary.