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Zionist pressure on the media
and how to counter it

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 be organised.

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 thousands.

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 possible.

"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 Palestinian people.

"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 people.

Some in the Arab American community are persuaded the incidents reflect a larger campaign by the Jewish 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 anti-Israel."

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, disagreed.

"The protests are spontaneous. They're not significant, but they make people feel good," he said, adding it is merely "democracy at work."

"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 superficiality.

"I think it's ignorant," he said.

"Reporters are parachuting into the Middle East who know nothing about the context."

© 2002 Australian Broadcasting Corporation