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Bulletin : Published
Sunday, May 12, 2002
Subject: US media under fire over Middle East
As the report US media under fire over Middle East coverage below states the majority of complaints to the US media come from Pro-Israel Zionist Jews. This is despite the fact that the media is in most of the cases biased towards Israel. Hunderds and sometimes thousands of Zionist Jews and their supporters flood journalists' inboxes with complaints. They also call boycott some newspapers as in the case of the LA Times. This of course does have influence on the papers and on other organizations. An example is Texas Automotive Export which issued an appology after receiving threats and complaints for boycotting Israel. James Zogby thinks the Zionist complaints "could certainly make editors "gun-shy," of the whole issue, to the point where editorial judgments take a back seat to political considerations."
On the other hand, we the Muslims who have the just cause are doing much less than the oppressor Zionists. This conclusion was drawn from the report below and from a member of the Canadian Islamic Congress. Don't think that your letter to a newspaper will not make a difference, it will insha'Allah. Next time you receive an action alert please take few minutes to write to a journalist, a newspaper, or a TV. We should do the least to help our brothers and sisters.
US media under fire over Middle East coverage
(ABC News Online April 25, 2002)
Middle East conflict has always been somewhat of a minefield for US
media, but editors are now at the centre of a firestorm of criticism
over their coverage of events in the Middle East in recent weeks.
The public's anger has found statement in boycotts, protest
advertisements and some of the most sustained criticism newspaper
guardians can remember.
"They critique everything we do in minute detail," said a weary Don
Wycliff, public editor for the Midwestern daily the Chicago Tribune.
He says the protests are overwhelmingly pro-Israeli, pour in at the
rate of up two dozen emails a day and range from complaints about
the length of some stories to charges the paper under-reported the
number of demonstrators at a recent pro-Israel gathering.
Both in Chicago and in Los Angeles, where 1,000 readers have
suspended their subscriptions to the LA Times to protest what they
see as the broadsheet's pro-Palestinian bias, the effort appears to
One Jewish doctor, Joe Englanoff at the University of California at
the Los Angeles Medical Centre, told the daily last week the boycott
was the result of weeks of talks, and an email campaign that reached
Mr Wycliff says rabbis in Chicago have been passing the word at
synagogues, urging members of their congregation to put the Chicago
Tribune on "vacation hold".
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, supporters of Israel upbraided the Star
Tribune newspaper in its own pages for failing to refer to all
suicide bombers as terrorists earlier this month.
"Terrorists are terrorists, whether the victims are Jews in Israel,
Americans in the World Trade Centre, or others," argued a group
calling itself Minnesotans Against Terrorism.
The organisers have mustered some heavyweight political support for
their cause. Three US congressmen from the state and the state's
Governor, Jesse Ventura, all signed the letter.
But the Tribune's editors responded that they preferred to let
readers make their own judgments by avoiding "labels" and using more
precise language like "gunman," "separatist" and "rebel" where
"It's not the job of an editor sitting in Minneapolis to change wire
copy coming out of Jerusalem or Ramallah," elaborated Tribune Star
spokesman Ben Taylor, alluding to the newspaper practice of using
news agency copy to bolster its own foreign news coverage.
Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. The Middle East has always
been a hot-button issue in the US and never more so than since
Israel launched its West Bank offensive March 29.
National Public Radio (NPR) can attest to that, having had its
Middle East coverage slammed in attack advertisements published in
the New York Times by a Jewish group called Committee for Accuracy
for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) in the past.
But this time round, the protesters have really turned the volume
up, according to NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, who says he and 60
or so ombudsmen at newspapers across America are convinced they have
never seen anything quite like this.
Phone calls and emails, up to 10,000 emails in the past three weeks
alone, have been pouring in to Mr Dvorkin from listeners on both
sides of the issue, but primarily from listeners sympathetic to the
"There is intense pressure from both sides to make sure their
perspective is heard and, even more importantly, the other
perspective is not," said Mr Dvorkin, a watchdog for the nationally
syndicated radio service which reaches an estimated 15 million
Some in the Arab American community are persuaded the incidents
reflect a larger campaign by the Jewis h lobby in the United States
to manipulate media coverage and hence public opinion.
"They have gone on the offensive, knowing if they make enough noise
it might cause editors to back off a little," said James Zogby,
president of the Arab American Institute in Washington DC.
"I don't think they can make the case that the media has been
But he suggested they could certainly make editors "gun-shy," of the
whole issue, to the point where editorial judgments take a back seat
to political considerations.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a
New York-based group whose mission is to combat anti-Semitism,
"The protests are spontaneous. They're not significant, but they
make people feel good," he said, adding it is merely "democracy at
"Both sides are angry and frustrated because they can't do anything
to change the situation on the ground."
He says if he has one criticism of the US media coverage it is its
"I think it's ignorant," he said.
"Reporters are parachuting into the Middle East who know nothing
about the context."
(I)(J 2002 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
"Closest to me on the day of Judgment
is he who has the best morals and is humblest in his behavior to mankind." Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)
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