Sunday, December 02, 2007

Are there any patterns of bias in New York Times reporting?

HONEST REPORTING - Media Critqiues Communique - November 21, 2007

HonestReporting employs an array of tools to respond quickly to inaccurate or biased news articles. Our weekly communiqu├ęs identify and challenge the worst cases of bias, and our 24HR Megaphone tool instantly alerts subscribers to issues that require immediate attention.

However, not all cases of slanted reporting are instantly clear. It's often helpful to take a step back and examine a news organization over a long-term period. Subtle elements of bias such as headline or photo selection then become clearer. In our second in-depth media analysis, we studied six months of reporting from the New York Times, one of the most popular and influential newspapers in the world.

The New York Times: April-September 2007 - Summary of Findings:

-Balance: Despite an evenly balanced selection of stories on Israel and the Palestinians, the New York Times gave far more weight to Israeli military incidents in text location, headlines and photo selection than to Palestinian attacks. More than 60% of images sympathetic to one side or the other favored the Palestinians.

-Consistency: Israeli and Palestinian actions were not treated consistently in choice of language. Israel or the Israel Defense Forces were the subject of strongly worded, direct headlines in 18 out of 20 cases (90%). However, in the 20 cases where the Palestinians were responsible for attacks, the language was mostly passive and the group responsible was only named in eight instances (40%).

-Context and Accuracy: Inaccurate statements or important context that would give readers a fuller picture of news events was often omitted. Terms such as "militants", "occupied territory," and "illegal settlements" were used without providing a proper explanation.

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