The American Media

Hello everybody! I had worked on an issue during last year and I really would like to post it here due to the fact that it could be interesting and important concerning journalism and media. I hope you will like it and have some strong opinions about it. Enjoy!

American Media’s Coverage of Gaza


At this time and age it is very accessible for all the audience and readers of different kinds of news in any place of the world to express their own opinions and observations about any issue, apart from the image that the media of their countries has given them. And that is by internet of course.  Personal blogs face book and other social networking sites offer this opportunity.

One of the issues that the global media dealt with was the invasion of Israel on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 to stop the Palestinian rockets of Southern Israel. But what you don’t know is that this war ended with about 1300 Palestinian casualties. According to Palestinian sources, two thirds of the casualties were civilians; according to Israeli sources only one third were civilians. On the other hand 13 Israelis were killed, three of them were civilians.

This fact drove me and many others to ask for more knowledge about this specific war. I’ve searched in the internet and the results were actually very different between the Eastern press and the American press. And nowadays it is spread out by the Middle Eastern press and societies that the American media is less critical of Israeli policy than the Israeli media itself. Openly I will try to investigate the credibility of this argument and whether this argument is true or not.

When searching, I unfortunately found out that the American depictions of the never ending melancholy of the Middle East, Israeli mortality and Arab violence are usually emphasized. The real image of Israeli settlements and Palestinian torment is always biased toward Israel.

One example that I found out was the images published during the war by some of the most important newspapers in the U.S. The NEW YORK TIMES which can often argue that regardless of how they cover the Arab-Israeli conflict, natives on both sides will blame them of bias. But let us look upon the images published during the war and see.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/01/04/world/20090104-GAZA_index.html

After looking, It is understood that they want to show both sides of the conflict and that includes photos for the rocket attacking Israel and the victims of those rockets. Showing four photos concerning the Palestinians out of 11 photos in total, this means that the coverage is non-balanced and they are not projecting the reality of what is happening on the ground. Also, the Palestinian photos are often showing smoke over Gaza from a far distance, where you don’t really see the impact of what is happening.

Although we would like to think that journalism is a noble and unbiased art but the big number of  Jewish Americans in new York and the strong relationship between America and Israel, also the NYT is in serious financial trouble makes journalism and association that needs to sell newspapers for profit.

The NYT will be unforthcoming to print anything that goes against the sensibilities of their major paying readership and advertisers. And that’s how most of American newspapers function nowadays and being nothing but mere business.

On the other hand the independent media in the US has been relatively more critical of Israel’s war in Gaza than mainstream media with lots of analysis and commentary arguing against it.

Apart from all the many different blogs supporting Palestine there is one very important homepage that we cannot avoid when talking about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the American media which is www.ifamericansknew.org “what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine”. To explain more about this homepage and its goal I am going to quote some fraises from the page:

“The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.”

They also say:

“In analyzing the American media, we are increasingly discovering a cover-up of appalling proportions. Israel is being protected, the news about Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general is being distorted, and the American public is being manipulated.”

“We believe strongly that if Americans knew the truth about Israel and Palestine — about the massive amount of our tax money that is being given away to Israel, and about the human costs of Israel’s American-financed militarism — they would demand an immediate re-thinking of our policies in this region.”

As you see this group is working hardly on informing the American public about the real situation that they don’t know about. The work is made by individuals such as Alison Weir an independent American journalist. Mrs. Weir is working independently and this actually requires a lot of not only work but even souls! See the YouTube clip below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spXA7GrOcLU

So we see that no matter what one nation could broadcast for its public, and never mind how biased the press could be in one country, we are all living in the age of freedom where no government can avoid the truth, there are always journalists who fight against the propaganda in media and they put their lives at risk everyday like Mrs. Weir. The question remains, is that really possible with ISRAEL regardless from its effect on the world and especially on the U.S?!

Rihan Younan

Right To Work

On my way home from work on Sunday, I passed a poster on a bus stop showing a rather goofy looking picture of David Cameron and George Osborne under the title “STOP THE TORY CUTS”. The poster was an advertisement for a demonstration in Birmingham coinciding with the Conservative Party Conference.

STOP THE TORY CUTS

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5am Pondering

Good evening all, or should that be good morning? It’s 5:02am and I’ve been awoken by someone in my flat slamming a door or two (not too sure why) and I’m unable to get back to sleep – what better time to write my first official blog?! (I did post a picture of the Pope and a link to a “Good Site” but I wouldn’t really count them as full blogs.)

One of the first websites I view each time I go on the internet is the Sky News website – I like its layout, categories and overall ease of use. A link that has caught my eye is that Blackberry has unveiled a tablet computer to rival Apple’s iPad – (full report here) – which has got me thinking. Thinking about how far technology has come. Thinking about the first set of students to study Journalism at Edinburgh Napier and what technology was around when they studied. Thinking about what technology will be available when we complete our course in 2014.

Just a few years back, what I’m doing right now wouldn’t be possible. I’ve pressed a button. I’ve tapped a few keys. I’ve clicked an “E” symbol. I’m now connected to the world. Literally. Over the past few days, among the many blogs on this site alone (all of which have proved fantastic reading, keep it up guys 😉 ) a few have expressed concerns about how the internet has become too unsafe, how it is slowly killing the traditional journalism profession and how it is a place for perverts or paedophiles to do their worst. This may be the case but essentially (and perhaps unfortunately) we must all “get with the times” if we haven’t done so already as the internet will not be going anywhere for a long time yet. It is an incredibly powerful tool which will gradually become more available to more of the world’s population and, as Blackberry have identified, more of us will be taking the internet with us wherever we go. Exciting times? In 4 years will we all be carrying iPads in a pouch on the front of our clothes? (Believe me, such an accessory is available, click here!). Will Internet kill the newspaper star? (Very corny, I know).

Right, it’s nearing 6am and I think I will finish there. See you all in around 4 hours (although Alex, we might see you in 5, but fingers crossed you’ll be in at 11 too 😉 ).

George Ward.

The thrills of pulling pints.

After spending the foremost of my night pulling pints for the locals at the pub I work in, Shakespeares had slowly died down by 7 ‘o’ clock. The few people that were left gave a nod in my direction and there I stood having the go ahead at pulling either a pint of Fosters or a pint of John Smiths. Oh what a thrilling night I had ahead of me…

Paid to be overweight?

Hi guys!

I don’t want to be too negative seeing as this is my first blog but, when i heard this on Newsbeat on Radio 1 this afternoon, i thought it would be a good topic to bring into debate.

It seems that the government and Health Service are willing to PAY, yes PAY the British public for being overweight and obese, and for smoking. Lets be honest, how can this be feesable? How can the Government even comprehend this when something like the recession is going on and they claim there isn’t any money. In my opinion, if there is enough money to throw about, then surely some should be put towards more cancer research etc! Don’t get me wrong, I amn’t against people being overweight at all, after all it’s their lifestyle and everyone is entitled to their own choice, but the thing i amn’t too keen on is the fact that the Government is willing to bribe their own citizens so they lose weight.  Not only will they recieve cash, but the ones who evidently lose weight will win vouchers and prizes. What. To spend on more fatty foods?

I can understand that this could be a good incentive for overweight people, however who’s to say they won’t spend the cash on better, even more unhealthy foods? Apparantly, these vouchers and cash prizes are to try and influence healthy eating by spending the cash in supermarkets. Personally, if anyone should be getting lump sums of money it should be the opposite end of the public – the fit, healthy people who are actually forking out money themselves by going to the gym to become thin and eat the correct diet. Britain is already faced with people dramatically falling under the ‘obese’ category, with a quarter of all adults and one in five children being overweight. Surely the Government can think of other strategies to stop people over-eating? It would be quite interesting to find out what other people think of this. Don’t hate me too much!

Becky xx

My Trip to “A and E”

To my right, a hand-cuffed male with two police escorts. To my left, a frail elderly women, sporting a nasty gash on her forehead. I give you the waiting room in “Accident and Emergency”, Aberdeen. In the early hours of Sunday morning, a drunken teenager took it upon himself to set a fire extinguisher off in my friends  face. She was knocked to the ground on impact.  Her initial scream transfigured into shallow gasps of breath. We called a taxi. We arrived at our destination. Then, we waited for two hours until she was seen. She was put on a nebulizer(oxygen mask) and checked out after passing  the four-hour danger zone.That foam that comes out of the fire extinguisher, isn’t as cool as it looks in the movies. As we attempted to clean down the surfaces it clung too, our tongues began to tingle and we each felt light-headed. The chemical ammonium phosphate present in fire extinguishers gives off toxic fumes. Any unsealed foods had to be disposed of.  The draining board full of washed dishes had to be re-washed (rage). The victim is fine. The culprit, well needless to say, we havent seen him since. What a nice way to spend a weekend.

Twitter Triumphed Over Trafigura To Ensure Freedom Of Speech.

I have been thinking about the many ways in which Social Media can inter-twine with modern journalism and I remembered a news story from last year which is a perfect example of the benefits that social media provides.

In 2009, The Guardian found itself subject to a gagging order. The super-injunction was obtained from the courts by Carter Ruck, a legal firm specialising in libel cases. Carter Ruck was representing Trafigura, a major oil-trading company facing allegations that they had dumped toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, allegedly resulting in many deaths.

On 12th October 2009, under the terms of the injunction, The Guardian was banned from reporting a parliamentary question asked by MP Paul Farrelly to Justice Secretary Jack Straw. Mr Farrelly asked Mr. Straw what was being done to protect press freedom after legal firm Carter Ruck had obtained a super-injunction banning the publication of a report into the allegations surrounding Trafigura.

Reporting of parliamentary proceedings is usually subject to Qualified Privilige which means that journalists should be protected from legal action. However, Carter Ruck maintained the injunction would stay in place claiming that The Guardian would be in contempt of court if it reported on Paul Farrelly’s question.  

This is where Twitter came in. Alan Rushbridger, Editor of the Guardian, kick-started an online campaign sparking public outcry about the threat to parliamentary privilege.

Rushbridger knew that while The Guardian could be gagged, twitter couldn’t. He tweeted that his publication had been served a gagging order and banned from reporting an MP’s question.

Within minutes fellow tweeters began trying to crack the code in Rushbridger’s post to uncover who was behind the injunction and why. They searched online for the parliamentary questions and quickly uncovered that the order related to Trafigura. A barrage of tweets referencing The Guardian, Carter Ruck and the super-injunction then followed.

Within hours the most popular search term on Twitter was “Trafigura” and the oil-company was receiving exactly the kind of publicity it was trying to avoid.

By noon the following day Carter Ruck emailed The Guardian agreeing to lift the injunction on the reporting of parliament and the battle for freedom of speech had been won by the internet.

I think this is a fantastic example of how social media affects and empowers modern journalists.

Here are some articles on the issue:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/13/how-trafigura-story-unfolded

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/13/trafigura-tweets-freedowm-of-speech

http://www.politics.co.uk/news/culture-media-and-sport/guardian-gagging-order-sparks-twitter-frenzy-$1333687.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/13/super-injunctions-guardian-carter-ruck

Lisa Toner