That’s a study of the NYT, not a study by the New York Times. Honest Reporting spent a year collecting stories and comparing articles, pictures and headlines of reports on Israeli and Palestinean violence, concluding that the reporting was assymetrically balanced against Israel. Muffti doesn’t know what to make of these studies since he is doubtful of the methodology: in fact, he had trouble finding the methodology these guys use despite bold claims such as:

75 percent of the photographs that could be objectively determined as drawing sympathy for one side or the other in the conflict favored the Palestinians.

Nonetheless, the study cites interesting facts about proportions of words used and ‘greater context’ provide or withheld.

So take a look if you are interested. Here are a few of the facts they cite:


-82 percent of headlines that introduced articles describing Israeli military operations were written in a direct style in which the words “Israel” or “Israeli Forces” (or a similar phrase) were the subject.

-Only 20 percent of headlines that introduced articles describing Palestinian attacks named the group responsible.

-75 percent of the photographs that could be objectively determined as drawing sympathy for one side or the other in the conflict favored the Palestinians.

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  • “Muffti doesn’t know what to make of these studies since he is doubtful of the methodology:”

    What do you mean? I know the New York Times is the paper of record for all liberal Jews everywhere, but are you giving the benefit of the doubt to a newspaper that deliberately obscured and refused to cover the Shoah in its lead up and during? I was pretty sure that it was well known amongst Jews that some of the most biased anti-Israeli and anti-American writers and articles have been published by the Old Grey Lady. Unless this is yet another one of those “collective amnesia” epidemics that allows Jews to believe BHO will be good for Israel and allows them to write op-eds at Daily Kos and Huffington Post while unrepentant anti-semites share the same domain and party?

  • @Alex: The problem with the methodology is how you determine what “objectively determined as drawing sympathy” means. Isn’t objective sympathy an oxymoron, anyway?

    The sheer fact that Israel is in the position of power in her immediate area, including the territories (although not in the Middle East at large, as many Americans think) means that no matter what, the side in the position of weakness will garner the most sympathy.

  • Muffti indeed is NOT willing to judge a newspaper based on what it did with an entire different set of writers, editors, (Muffti thinks owners) 68 some years ago.

    He also didn’t say much about the NYT’s anti-semitism or lack thereof. He just thought the study was suspect sans a chance ot look at things like methodology. So chillllllllllll Alex.

  • Alex, I was just reading the commentary from readers @ Huffington Post about Obama’s visit to Israel. The ideas presented there were so vile, so anti-semitic that tears came to my eyes. Of course, nowadays, they always start with the disclaimer: “just because I’m trashing Israel it doesn’t mean I’m anti-semitic”. Then, they go ahead and describe all sorts of paranoid theories on how Jews control everything, how Israel controls American foreign policy and how Israel are committing genocide, holocaust and apartheid against the area’s true native people, the Palestinians.

    I’m an immigrant to the US and I thought things would be better here for me from the Jewish perspective due to the size of the community. Instead I’ve met a lot of people who love conspiracy theories related to Israel, some of them Jews. At least the anti-semitic people I’ve met in Brazil didn’t pretend to be ok with Jews as long as we are a minority in exile somewhere other than Israel.

  • Ben: “The sheer fact that Israel is in the position of power in her immediate area, including the territories (although not in the Middle East at large, as many Americans think) means that no matter what, the side in the position of weakness will garner the most sympathy.”

    Only to ignorant, stupid, or intellectually dishonest people. Anyone who knows the history of Israel and isn’t entrenched in their position/narrative (like Palestinians for example), can’t objectively look at the situation and say that Israel is the aggressor in the middle east. Oh, and idiots like Mobius maybe. But you would think that journalists from the paper of record would do their due diligence. You would think. I don’t, because after years of giving the benefit of the doubt to the NYT, I’m convinced its full of a bunch of deceitful and biased reporters, some anti-Semites and a few self-hating Jews to boot. I have no sympathy, only a commitment to stay a live. That contradicts with feeling sympathy for my enemies. Let everyone else worry about them, G-d know Barack gave them a whole 45 minutes. My lines have been drawn. Anyway, I’ve seen enough NYT tag lines documented by many sites to know how biased it is. I didn’t need CAMERA nor HR to show me that. You can see it by walking by a newsstand everyday. It’s as common as Che TShirts at a Barack rally.

    Mufti, I will try to chill but is increasingly difficult when you have non-objective people commenting on objectivity. From what I can tell is that you were trying to defend the NYT by shooting the messenger and I think it’s similar to how no matter what Barack says or does, liberals will still vote for him because he’s not a republican and that is waayyyyy more important than if he has a consistent message or platform, if he reverses it the next day, nor if he has any platform at all. If you can just admit that to me, so I can see in writing what I believe, then I promise not to come here, get fired up and harass my American Jewish brothers and sisters with the typical self-righteous and indignant tone I use here.

    If someone can just say, “You’re right. I wouldn’t care if Barack is telling us what we want to hear from day to day, really isn’t experienced, and for all we know, has no concept of world nor American history, but I’ll vote for him because he isn’t John McCain and gosh darn it, wouldn’t it be really cool or rad if America had it’s first (half-)black president!?!”. That’s just the kind of honestly that would be refreshing from people of the leftist persuasion, because at this point, with all of the nuances flying around, it’s hard for me to maintain the same level of respect for the Jewish Intellect I’ve had my whole life. I know doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. who are incredibly intelligent people who somehow ignore or excuse every single inconsistency from the guy but can’t admit that no matter what. Because that would be like admitting to playing identity politics that the identity candidates ask us not to play. That would be like Chris Mathews whining about feeling like a child when we go vote because children are color blind, but make sure to vote for the black candidate. I mean, is the world insane? What does this pied piper have in his pipe? What kind of snake oil is this snake oil salesman handing out for free? Are you guys all getting the tax-free Denver city gas like the DNC is handing out to convention goers while harping about raising gas taxes for the rest of us?

    And believe me, this has everything to do with NYT, better known as the propaganda arm of Barack’s campaign. General Betrayus anyone? Surge not working? Right….. Let’s all just keep pretending we’re losing the war for political points, because it’s real endearing to those that supported sending their family members to fight.

    BrazilianJew, welcome to America. Tuda Boah! Yup, I know what you mean. Where my family came from, the FSU, anti-Semitism was out in the open. When someone wanted to hurt you, you had to fight, or get hurt. And when someone called you a “Zhid”, you punched them in the face, not asked them for more clarification and then promised to call the Israeli consulate and ask them to treat Palestinians nicer. Welcome to the land where Jews like Larry David go to premiers of Michale Moore’s movies that imply nefarious relationships between Israel and the US, and who say “Israel, one of the evils of the world” during speeches. Or where Jews get together on Israel’s independence day and form queer posses called “No Time to Celebrate”. Welcome to the land where on page one of HuffPo is a Jewish writer like Harry Shearer or Meathead writing about the greatness of socialism while on page 2, some anti-Semite writes about how Jews want to drink Palestinian baby blood, and then those Jewish authors write in the comments “common guys, can’t we get along? At least for BHO’s sake!”. Yup. Enjoy! But hey, I got your back, unlike the wimps at my high school who watched gangs of other ethnic minorities pick on weak Jews and were more worried about being popular than defending one of their own.

    OK, I got to get out of here and burn off some steam. Sorry guys for another rant.

  • Brazilian, fear not. A few cranks on some blog someplace are hardly representative of all gentiles or all Americans or anyone else. Ask yourself: is someone like Muffti the sort of ordinary Joe you’d meet in line at the post office, or shopping for Slim Jim and a pack of Marlboro Lights at 7-Eleven? Hell, no.

    Besides, you’re Brazilian and you know what to do. Play some vintage Marcos Valle or Jorge Ben and you’ll feel better in no time.

  • muffti:
    Muffti doesn’t know what to make of these studies since he is doubtful of the methodology: in fact, he had trouble finding the methodology these guys use
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    – maybe you should have clicked through to the actual report, which shows examples and clearly describes how they evaluated the photos:

    For our study, we focused on images that clearly favored one side or the other. Images of Palestinian suffering or Israeli attacks favor the Palestinian side. Images of Israeli suffering or masked Palestinian terrorists encourage understanding of the Israeli perspective. Of the images showing one point of view or the other, over 60% were pictures that evoke more understanding or sympathy for the Palestinian side. The viewer thus gets the impression that there are far more Israeli military strikes against Palestinian civilians than Palestinian rocket attacks.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    That shouldn’t be to hard for a PhD candidate to understand.

    A clear picture emerges: In documenting the so-called “cycle of violence” in Israel, the Times regularly :

    1) Uses accusatory, declarative headlines to describe Israeli actions, while using passive/obscuring language to describe Palestinian attacks.

    2) Buries Palestinian attacks at the end of articles, reversing cause and effect to create the impression that Israel is the aggressor.

    3) Continues these print biases by showing many more photos of Arab suffering and victimhood than Israeli suffering – again giving the impression that the Palestinians are suffering more than the Israelis.

    Go to the full report to see examples of the photos and headlines:

    http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/New_York_Times_6_Month_Study.asp

  • Hey Alex,

    You can harass us all you like, and Muffti will be there to say ‘chill’!

    Muffti isn’t a US citizen, so the issue is somewhat moot. But he’ll happily admit what you like, at least hypothetically: Obama strikes Muffti as the lesser of two evils; (not that he thinks that McCain is evil but he doesn’t like his positions on just about everything.) But he’s no real fan of obama or his style of politics.

    Anyhow, that’s what you do in a two party system. Like it or leave it.

    Muffti’ll get married when he’s ready B-D, but thanks for the encouragment. Maybe he’ll meet the right lady next time he’s in line at the post office of buying a slim jim and a pack of Marly lights 🙂

  • Does anyone else think Ethan Bronner produces a lot negative articles on Israel? I mean, it’s one thing to be realistic and explore, cover, and examine a country’s flaws but it’s another to purposely make it look bad.

    I haven’t been enjoying his work.

  • Ben-David:

    “The viewer thus gets the impression that there are far more Israeli military strikes against Palestinian civilians than Palestinian rocket attacks.”

    I remember during the first Gulf War someone noted to Bibi how Israel was getting a lot of sympathetic coverage because of the Scud attacks on Israel, as opposed to negative coverage from the first intifada. Bibi’s reply was “the cameras follow the blood.”
    It’s just a fact that it’s gonna be news if Israel hits Gaza and people are killed. Israeli strikes are a lot more effective than Qassam strikes, which injure far fewer. I don’t think that amounts to bias.

  • Once you clear away the atrocdity propaganda, the facts are that in this conflict Israel is in the right and the Arabs are in the wrong. Any media coverage that does not make this clear is pro-Arab, biased against Israel, and by definition unfair.

    So there.

  • Oh damn. I’ve been wasting my time debating American politics with foreigners? That was dumb. No offense Mufti, but that’s the last opinion I want to hear and value. But for those American Liberal Jews, what do you think of your boy skipping meeting with American soldiers and wounded in military bases in Germany so he can spend some downtime hangin and shopping in Berlin tonight. He skipped them, but had time to hold a political rally for himself at the monument Hitler appreciated. What’s up with that?

  • Ease up on Muffti, Alex. I think he’s Canadian, which means he and his kind compliantly buy Slim Jim and other US exports and otherwise consume whatever we can make a buck on by offloading up there.

  • My friends once blindfolded me and took me to Canada. I had no idea I was in a different country. The little maple leaf in the McDonald’s logo gave it away though!

  • Your friend took you blindfolded over a border? This sounds highly irregular and unlikely. But whatever…

    Muffti doesn’t really give a shit if you want or value his opinion. Truthfully, this is a post about the NYT and a study about its relative level of biased reporting. You were the one who somehow twisted this into a debate about Obama and why leftists are voting for him.

    and yes, Muffti is canadian.

  • New York Times recently ran Obama’s op-ed with no problem, though they refused McCain’s op-ed unless he edited to the worldview they liked. You think there’s no coincidence of NYT’s bias against Israel as well as bias against conservatives (if you can call McCain one of course)?

  • Funny, Harvard, a university notorious for excluding Jews right about the time the NYT, with its self-loathing Jewish owner and writers, was covering up the Holocaust, jumps in to defend NYT. Birds of a feather…

  • Alex, did you take a look at that article xisnotx linked to? Muffti doesn’t know how the hell you can call that a defense of the new york times. From the article:

    The New York Times bears considerable responsibility for the recent mythology about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a mythology that has caused enormous
    damage to the U.S. understanding of why the apparently promising peace process begun at Camp David, Maryland, in July 2000 broke down and precipitated the political deadlock and mutual violence of the past several years.

    Some defense.

  • B-D,

    The methodology tells us nothing about how one determines when a picture is sympathetic to a cause, when a headline counts as direct other than by example. Second of all, following their links left Muffti awfully unconvinced. They claim for example that a picture of a spot where Israeli rockets dropped was innapropriatly placed in a story about “The primary thrust of the article described fighting between the Palestinian Hamas and Fatah organizations. Yet, the photo chosen to accompany the story showed an Israeli attack. ”

    The story has no thrust (it’s actually pretty aimless), vague headline notwithstanding, and the caption under the picture is:
    “Palestinians gathered at the site where an Israeli missile struck a building in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said the attack was an act of retaliation, noting that Hamas militants have launched dozens of rockets from Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot.”

    Not bad as far as context goes. Not to mention that down the page is a picture that clearly garners sympathy for a resident of
    Sderot with teh caption:

    A father hugged his son after a rocket landed near their home in Sderot. Some homes in the town were hit by the Hamas barrage.

    (technically, by the way, the link you sent is to the 6month report, not the year long Muffti posted about, but no matter).

    Anyhow, we can argue case by case, adn Muffti certainly wasn’t trying to say the study nor its results were invalid. Just that the information about the methodology is scarce and presumes an awful lot of ‘objective’ judgment by the people running the study.

    You’re a man of science, B-D, do you find the methodology to be sound, reliable and convincing?

  • This is about as sound as any other study based on liberal arts/humanities evidence. There is always going to be a judgement call. This isn’t a double-blind drug trial.

    I thought the distinction between active and passive headlines was very clear, and removed a lot of potential bias in “literary” evaluation. There is a clear difference between headlines that explicitly finger Israel as the cause of Pali casualties, and obscuring headlines that describe Israelis “killed” without explicitly telling us who did the killing.

    There was also an effort to be objective in photo evidence. Only photos clearly showing either Israeli or Arab suffering were counted. The one datum missing for me is a tally of how many photos out of those run by the Times were considered “ambiguous”.

    This study is far more methodical/reliable than many other studies of supposed media bias against women or minorities-du-jour, where the numbers are pumped up by tortured projection/invention of “subtext”.

    But then, I’m not Canadian…

  • Fair enough. Muffti meant to cast doubt on a part of hte study he found dubious, not all parts. He agrees that htere was an effort to objective; he’s just not sure that we are clear on what that means or what it take to achieve it. Anyhow, he’s skeptical of most liberal arts/humanities evidence and so this one is no worse off he supposes.

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