An Affront On Journalism — Or Is It?

It is nothing new to claim certain media outlets are biased in favor of one side or the other. To many, bias in media of any kind exists in the mind of the observer.

Chuck Russell is a new contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns will post weekly on Fridays.

Chuck Russell is a new contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns will post weekly on Fridays.

If I am a conservative, any news story which has content or a conclusion that does not align with my values I could potentially consider to be biased. It would not be a challenge to convince others of this. I could “prove” this assertion by comparing what I believe with what someone else suggests, and if there is a difference, it is because the other party is trying to disprove what I believe.

This is why liberals bash Fox News Channel endlessly.  The network caters to a conservative audience. Most who watch Fox generally agree with what Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, and Charles Krauthammer say. Liberals insist the network brainwashes its viewers into supporting the conservative cause.

Some argue MSNBC is guilty of the same offence for the liberal cause. The reason this logic fails is because it is evident that Fox News is preferred by conservatives and MSNBC by liberals. Neither network hides what their target demographic is. Therefore, you cannot accuse either network of dishonesty in terms of bias because they do not pretend to be neutral.

This is why CNN’s recent coverage of the Israel/Hamas conflict is nothing short of disgraceful, and an affront to journalism. There have been two recent posts on CNN’s website that are of particular concern. The first is a photo gallery  documenting the  Israel/Hamas conflict. The second is a short propaganda piece about Hamas’ contributions to humanity.

In the captions for the 132 photos in the first piece, the phrases “terrorist” and “terrorism” appear zero times.  The  phrase  “Israeli airstrike” appears 40 times. And though the word “Palestinian” appears 71 times, it is not used to identify the men  photographed in the macabre act of dragging a dead body behind a motorcycle through Gaza.  It is also worth noting that there is only one photo of the incident, even though there were two victims. Six of the first eight photos are of  Palestinian children standing in rubble. Seven of the first eight are of Palestinians standing in rubble.  There are two photos of “the explosion on the bus in Tel Aviv,” as they call it, but Hamas is not mentioned in the caption for either. For all we know, the bus may have had a fuel leak. CNN’s language doesn’t even imply foul play, let alone terrorism.

The second post is an article entitled “Q & A: What is Hamas?”  The word “terrorist” does appear in this piece, in the answer to the seventh question,“what is the international community’s view?” — the answer , “Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, Britain, and the European Union.” It also describes Hamas’ role in Gaza: “Hamas operates schools, hospitals and religious institutions, soup kitchens and orphanages in Gaza and the West Bank, and runs an effective social welfare program in the territories, cementing the group’s popularity among Palestinians.” The article even makes an effort to put to rest the nasty rumor that Hamas’ goal is to “wipe Israel off the map,” even though Hamas has made its intentions clear. Robert Blecher of the International Crisis Group says the claim is “outdated,” and insists “the document still exists as their official charter, but many people in Hamas view it as a historical document, an artifact, rather than as an active program.” Really?

The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge there is one.

 

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