Israeli boycott coverage reflects media bias

After running a Google news search on Marrickville+BDS on April 18, I spent a half hour looking at just under 30 articles published over the past seven days on Marrickville council’s position of support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

I looked at every result published by a major news website (news.com.au, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Age, ABC) and omitted articles that contained duplicate AAP copy.

I noticed that only two articles mentioned the word “Palestine” or “Palestinians” more than “Israel” or “Israelis”.

One was a piece from The Daily Telegraph, the other an opinion piece in the SMH written by Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne.

In two articles, the words “Israel” and “Israeli” or “Palestine” and “Palestinians” were mentioned equally.

Every other article I looked at mentioned “Israel” more often. One article in The Australian mentioned “Israel” 13 times (plus a headline mention) and “Palestine” only 4 times.

An opinion piece by Miranda Devine in The Daily Telegraph mentioned “Israel” or “Israelis” 9 times and “Palestinians” only once — and this one mention was followed by the word “terrorist”.

Out of the 26 articles I read, 15 included the word “Israel” or “Israeli” in the headline.



Only one mentioned Palestine in the headline (“Gaza”, and it was Byrne’s opinion piece).

I know this is hardly exhaustive and intricate research, and that human error means I could have overlooked an article or two (or a Google error could mean a certain article did not appear in the results).

But I think one clear point emerged about the focus of the mainstream media’s coverage on this issue.

In this case, even when covering a topic such as the BDS movement, which has at its core achieving basic human rights for the people of Palestine, the focus in the corporate press remains on Israel, and not Palestine.

Israel’s military occupation and oppression of Palestine is rarely mentioned (and if it is the word “alleged” normally accompanies the mention).

Instead, the news angles most often taken on the BDS debate were the sensationalised story of the economic effect of the boycott on taxpayers, the impact it would have on Australia’s relationship with Israel, and the argument that since there are other countries with bad human rights records, any questionable behaviour by Israel should be deemed negligible.

The media placed a heavy focus on the Greens’ councillors and Fiona Byrne, and not the Labor councillors who also, at first, voted in favour of the motion to support BDS in December.

This is just a snapshot of the coverage of one important issue, but it is important to acknowledge how issues are spoken about in the mainstream media, and what sort of language is used to frame the situations on which they report.

Comments

Unfortunately Palestine is only just starting to be mentioned otherwise in the past it was always Gaza or West Bank.
The Palestinians do not have a strong lobby like the Jews do all over the world.
It is interesting to note that the "real issue" is never talked about and this is because the American Government is Israeli occupied . Most of Obama`s Councillors are Israelis with dual citizenship.
The "real issue" is that the Israeli occupiers of Palestine are Ashkenaze Jews which means they are descendants of converted Eastern European Jews and they are not semitic because their ancestors do not come from Palestine. They have no connection to that land.
The real Jews are Sephardic and their descendants almost all live in Rome Italy where the Ancient Romans brought them as slaves 2000 years ago. A minority of them live in Israel.
There are also hundreds of Sephardic Jews living in peace in Iran because they are the real thing.
Why does Ahmadinejad always say Israel must disappear? Simply because the occupiers are Europeans and Stalin in 1939 gave these Ashkenaze Jews a homeland in Russia called Birobidzhan which is still today an autonomous Jewish region. Why is this never mentioned?

Try "our" ABC search engine using Palestine then Israel. I'm sure all will be surprised with the results.

has it occured to you that the australian public - voter - is waking up to the fact that the greens are really reds calling themselves "environmentalists".

sprung.

Personally I'm sick of having my opinion derided as being the "Murdoch Press", the "Israel Lobby" or even the "International Zionist Conspiracy". I'm just a humble Marrickville resident - not Israeli, not Jewish, not a member of a political party, not a fan of Rupert Murdoch or non-critical reader of his "press".

Just think the BDS should drop the middle letter to expose it for what it is...

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