Monday, May 28, 2018

Quantification Biased The New York Times Coverage of Gaza Riots

[After hearing complaints about biased coverage by The New York Times (no surprise) about the Hamas-orchestrated riots on the Gaza border, I decided to check it out myself and see whether I could quantify some of the bias. I looked for all the articles about Gaza over a 30-day period and checked references to certain words, related to the words protest, riot, violence and terror. It turned out to be worse than even I would have expected. On Saturday, May 26, I wrote the following to several editors at The New York Times. I await a reply. - Alan Stein]

I have long been distressed at what I felt was a deterioration in the objectivity of The New York Times, the paper I grew up reading and looked at as the standard to which other newspapers should strive. Long ago, I realized The Times had seemed to abandon objectivity in its news articles; in fact, as far back as 2004 the Hartford Courant published an op-ed I wrote describing the bias inserted into news articles even on the front page of The New York Times.

Being particularly interested in reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict, I was also particularly concerned with what seemed to be a clear anti-Israel bias, but for years I still defended it, telling others that even though the articles were biased, one could usually read between the lines and figure out the truth. Unfortunately, even that no longer seems to be the case.

With all the biased reporting, not just in The New York Times, about the series of riots organized by Gaza on its border with Israel, and the apparent reluctance of various media to accurately describe them as such, I decided to check for myself.

I looked for all recent articles in The New York Times referring to the Gaza riots and within those articles looked for the use of terms relating to protests, riots and violence along with their context and blame either clearly attributed or implied. Although my research was done quickly and was somewhat ad hoc, so a more careful study might come up with slightly different counts, the statistics are overwhelming in showing a clear bias and blatant misleading of the readership regarding the nature of the events in Gaza.

This is what I found.

Over the last 30 days, I found 37 articles relating to the Gaza riots. In those 37 articles, variations of the word "protest" (protest, protests, protesters, ... ) appeared 154 times, while variations of the word "riot" were used only 4 times, and each of those times they came from quotes or paraphrases of Israeli sources or - once - in a letter from a supporter of Israel.

Although the "protests" were far from peaceful, the words "violent" or "violence" were used in relation to the riots only 32 times, 6 of which came from Israeli sources.

Most damning, of those 26 remaining occurrences, blame was either explicitly or implicitly attributed to either Israel or America 14 times, with the term being used fairly neutrally 4 times, leaving only 8 times that blame was either explicitly or implicitly attributed to the Palestinian Arabs, despite the fact that all the violence was initiated by the Palestinian Arabs!

I also find it amazing that variations of the word "terror" (terror, terrorism, terrorist) were used only 15 times, despite the fact that Hamas, the main party orchestrating the riots, is a terrorist group so recognized by the United States, Israel and just about every other country that's not afraid it will be targeted if it dares to accurately describe Hamas.

I can find no reasonable rationalization for such biased and misleading news coverage, especially from "the newspaper of record" in the United States. Your newspaper is doing a gross disservice to its readers, to the country and, indeed, to the entire world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Letter sent to the Greenwich Time: Misunderstanding Gaza

To the editor:

In her May 20 op-ed, "A painful week," Alma Rutgers once again demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the Palestinian Arab crusade against Israel.

This time, she railed against Israel for celebrating the belated, by 69 years, relocation of the American embassy to Israel's capital while split screens on televisions were contrasting the ceremony in Jerusalem to the events in Gaza, where Hamas was doing its best to get as many Arabs as possible killed. She has apparently never noticed that Palestinians ramp up their violent attacks during every Jewish holiday and every time Israelis have something to celebrate.

Speaking as an Israeli, if we stopped celebrating every time the Palestinians were making sure blood was spilled, we would never celebrate anything. We've learned that we have no alternative if we are to have any chance to enjoy life; we have to accept the reality of our brutal neighbors and cope with them. Thus, for example, when they murder families at a cafe, within hours, the bodies are removed, the blood is wiped away, the cafe is reopened and filled with other families.

We are proud of the young men and women who not only protect us but do an amazing job in minimizing harm to the very people trying to slaughter us. Even though 53 of the 62 Palestinian Arab rioters allegedly killed that day have been claimed by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups as their own members, we get no joy from their deaths.

We refuse to let the terrorists win. We refuse to allow them to destroy our humanity, our hopes, our dreams, our joy or our lives.

Speaking as an American, it's about time our government ended the perverse situation in which there was just one place in the world, in the world's only Jewish state, where our embassy was not located in the host country's capital. Finally, this year, it's in Jerusalem!


Alan Stein
Netanya, Israel and Natick, Massachusetts
The writer, a former resident of Stamford and a longtime resident of Waterbury, is President Emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting. He now splits his time between the United States and Israel. The evening before Hamas tried to spoil the celebration of the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem, he joined with hundreds of others in Kikar Ha'Atzmaut, Independence Square, in Netanya, to conclude Yom Yerushalayim, commemorating the 51st anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, by singing Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Jerusalem of Gold.