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At the Oregonian, some lives are more equal than others

The Oregonian's coverage was found to display clear double standards when it comes to reporting Palestinian deaths compared to Israeli deaths. The likelihood of a death receiving headline coverage clearly depended on the nationality of the person killed.
At the Oregonian, some lives are more equal than others


PMWATCH - March 14, 2005 -- A three-way collaborative effort between Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights --  http://www.auphr.org -- Palestine Media Watch --  http://www.pmwatch.org -- and If Americans Knew --  http://www.ifamericansknew.org/ -- has produced a new report focusing
on the news coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by The Oregonian --  http://www.oregonlive.com/news/

The report details findings on The Oregonian's news coverage of the conflict between May 1, 2004, and October 30, 2004.

The Oregonian's coverage was found to display clear double standards when it comes to reporting Palestinian deaths compared to Israeli deaths. The likelihood of a death receiving headline coverage clearly depended on the nationality of the person killed.

Analysis of The Oregonian news articles showed that 100% of all Israeli deaths were reported during the period of this analysis, and in many cases were reported more than once.

By contrast, only 61% of all Palestinian deaths were reported.

Even more disturbing was the coverage of children's deaths, with only 28% of Palestinian children deaths receiving any coverage by the Oregonian, compared with 100% coverage for Israeli children.

According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B'Tselem --  http://www.btselem.org/ -- a total of 54 Israelis and 502 Palestinians were killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories during this period. For the full report, please see:


The Newspaper Association of America ranks The Oregonian 20th among the daily papers in the United States, with a daily circulation of 337,707.

Please spare a moment to share your thoughts on these findings with the Oregonian. A quick phone call to the Oregonian, or even a letter, from you expressing your views on these findings will help a great deal in our struggle, one battle at a time, for more humane and more informative coverage of the conflict.

You can share your feedback with The Oregonian via:

* Telephone: (503) 221-8434
* Email:  letters@news.oregonian.com

Please do feel free to share with us your letters or a summary of your conversation with the Oregonian by dropping us a note at  info@pmwatch.org.

If you would like to work on a report focusing on new or editorial coverage of the Palestine/Israel, please drop us a line at  info@pmwatch.org. These reports do make an impact on how newspapers cover the news on Israel/Palestine, and your efforts would be a meaningful contribution to the larger struggle.

Palestine Media Watch
(866) DIAL-PMW

Oregonian part of a general pattern of bias 16.Mar.2005 10:50


Published on Sunday, February 27, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

For US Media, 'Calm' Means 'Calm for Israel'
by Ahmed Bouzid

If a rational, empirically driven Martian were to land on Earth today, the day after 4 innocent Israeli civilians were killed and scores of others wounded in a suicide bombing attack in the city of Tel Aviv, and if he were handed a stack of US newspapers to examine, no doubt he would reach the conclusion that a period of truce between the two warring people of Israel and Palestine, during which peace and calm had prevailed, with neither side having attacked the other, had sadly come to an end, shattered with an attack by the aggressive, warmongering, and powerful people of Palestine against the passive, peace-loving, and defenseless people of Israel.

The Martian would have reached such a conclusion because he would have read headlines such as, 'Suicide Bomb at Tel Aviv Club Shatters Palestinian-Israeli Truce' (The New York Times), 'Attack Outside Nightclub Shatters Truce' (The Washington Post), 'Blast shakes Mideast peace' (The Austin American-Statesman), 'Bomb Ends Mideast Quiet' (The Hartford Courant), 'Tel Aviv Bomber Imperils Truce' (The Houston Chronicle), 'Suicide Bomber shatters Mideast cease-fire' (The Indianapolis Star), 'Attack Shatters Calm in Mideast' (The Los Angeles Times), 'Bombing shatters delicate truce in Mideast' (The Miami Herald), 'Bomb shatters Mideast calm' (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), 'Bombing shatters Mideast calm' (The Orlando Sentinel), 'Unofficial cease fire broken by first major attack in months' (The San Francisco Chronicle).[1]

Having reached the obvious conclusion the headlines had dictated, the Martian no doubt would have been shocked to learn that during the period of so-called truce and calm the media was referring to (January 15, the day the new Palestinian president assumed office, to February 25), no less than 31 Palestinian civilians, among them 11 children, had been killed by the Israeli army; that hundreds more Palestinians had been wounded; that the construction of a wall that tore into Palestinian land continued unabated; that the shelling of Palestinian areas by the Israeli army was still taking place just as it did before 'the truce'; that the houses of Palestinian civilians were still being demolished by the Israeli army just as they did before the period of quiet had set in; that land belonging to Palestinians had been officially confiscated right after 'the truce' was announced; and so on and so forth.

Faced with this stark disconnect between basic facts and the shrill headlines about a 'shattered peace', the Martian would have had to come to one of two conclusions: (1) The press of the United States had engaged in a deliberate, coordinated, and massive campaign of lies and distortions, or (2) The press of the United States, as a matter of common course, simply did not assign 'calm' and 'truce' the same meaning one would usually assign to a situation where two sides are enjoying such a 'calm' and are engaged in such a 'truce'. Shunning conspiracy theories and resisting the natural impulse to assign ill intent to those who behave badly, our Martian would have found himself forced to conclude the obvious: the US must be operating with a peculiar understanding of what 'calm' and 'truce' mean.

Indeed, there was a period of calm between January 15, when the president of the Palestinians assumed office, and February 25, the day of the bombing that killed 4 Israeli civilians. During this period, no Israelis were killed by Palestinians. And in fact, this so-called period of calm started as far back as November 1st, 2004. But at the same time, there was no such period of calm for the Palestinians during those months, since their people continued to be violently attacked by the Israelis. (See below for a detailed compilation.)

What is a Martian to conclude, then, but that when the US press says 'calm' it means calm for the Israelis, regardless what is happening to the Palestinians, and when it refers to a 'truce', it means by that word a situation where only one side (the Palestinians) will refrain from engaging in hostile actions, with the other side (the Israelis) reserving for itself the right to act as violently as it deems necessary or convenient?

AHMED BOUZID is founder and president of Palestine Media Watch.  http://www.pmwatch.org/

[1]  http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/ -- February 27, 2005.

Dies on the Vine 17.Mar.2005 10:47


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