Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fair and Balanced Reporting

If there's one good thing I can say about the Los Angeles Times, it's this: at least it's not the Daily News. This is an example of the Times' balanced reporting on Israel: note the headline on the left, in a story abot terrorism in Iraq which left thirteen people dead. Now note the size of the headline on the right, in which Israel's attacks against terrorists resulted in six dead terrorists. The "six-dead" headline is twice the size of the other headline.

So what does the average reader (who reads only headlines) get from this page? Simply this: "Israel kills six people! Israel kills six people!"


Jack's Shack said...

Typical of the times.

Jack's Shack said...

I meant the LA Times.

someguy said...

"Israel kills six people! Israel kills six people!"

So what were they called this time, B2? "Gunmen"? "Insurgents"? "Militants"?

Apparently, WaPo draws its journalists from the same pool, as Charles Johnson noted yesterday.

Speaking for myself, I'm finding the anti-Israel bias in MSM really hard to keep up with just on the sheer volume of it.

The Misanthrope said...

I am just asking. Could the difference in headlines be because one is about a mentally deranged individual, who is behind him is another story, versus a sovereign country exacting revenge in hopes of stopping the killings against them?

Stephen (aka Q) said...

I suppose the editors of the Times would say that the size of the headline is proportional to the importance of the story.

From one perspective, thirteen deaths is obviously a bigger story than six deaths.

But consider the context. I hate to say it, but 13 dead in Iraq is basically just another day at the office. (I know that sounds horribly callous to the human suffering involved, but it's true: every day in Iraq there's another event like this one.)

The strike by the Government of Israel is arguably a more important story. Israel plans to pull out of Gaza in a few weeks. Moreover, Israel had been observing a truce until this strike. The strike was deemed necessary to create a climate where the pull-out can succeed.

So the strike is part of a larger story (the pull-out from Gaza) and it signals a significant shift in recent policy (the end of Israel's ceasefire). The larger headline is probably justified.

Unfortunately, you're probably right: many readers will take away only the headline (Israel kills six!).