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December 10, 2014

Where's the Coverage? Press Ignores Pro-Israel Voice

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CAMERA’s Snapshots blog has highlighted the recent articles by former Associated Press reporter and editor Matti Friedman detailing the systemic bias against Israel by the mainstream media from an insider’s point of view. In August, we covered his piece in Tablet, “An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” and recently we reported on his follow-up in The Atlantic, “What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel.”

In the most recent story, Friedman describes a directive within the Jerusalem bureau not to quote Professor Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, an organization that exposes the manner in which non-governmental organizations (NGOs), often funded by European governments and others with an anti-Israel agenda, assail the legitimacy of Israel. A CAMERA article notes:

By placing a cone of silence around Gerald Steinberg and NGO Monitor, the AP is giving NGOs such as [Human Rights Watch] and Amnesty International – groups that have a huge influence on how people interpret the Arab-Israeli conflict – a pass. By censoring NGO Monitor, the Associated Press is protecting one side of the debate over human rights and war crimes in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In response to Friedman's charge, the Associated Press has issued a statement over the signature of Paul Colford, the organization's director of media relations. In reference to the allegation regarding NGO Monitor, Colford states “There was no ‘ban' on using Prof. Gerald Steinberg. He and his NGO Monitor group are cited in at least a half-dozen stories since the 2009 war.”

CAMERA exposes the weakness of this denial. If it were true, there would be articles that quote Professor Steinberg and cite NGO Monitor. But there are not. Not in most of the mainstream media.

The only recent stories citing Professor Steinberg are about the controversy itself and run in the Jewish, Israeli or niche press. The Hill just posted an article citing CAMERA and supporting Friedman’s assertion:

In a world where journalists take risks to interview brutal dictators, terrorists, mass murders, and any variety of psychopaths for a sensational story, the off-limits sign on a distinguished professor appears to make no sense.

Steinberg upset the ideologically critical relationship between the AP and its sources in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), groups that Steinberg revealed are more concerned with bashing Israel than advancing human rights.

Just the other day, in her New York Times front page article “Bill on Status as Jewish State Fuels an Israeli Identity Crisis,” Jodi Rudoren assailed Israel’s democracy (again), citing several NGOs and political scientists, but not including any reference to NGO Monitor nor quoting Professor Steinberg. The New York Times is not the AP. Presumably the entire media corps that covers Israel was not given the directive alleged by Friedman and supported by a colleague, Mark Lavie.

Or is a directive unnecessary? Is there an unspoken rule throughout the mainstream media? If you search Google News for articles about “Israel” you will find literally millions of stories and the only ones that include Professor Steinberg’s name are in blogs, Jewish or Israeli media. Can this be a coincidence?

Gerald Steinberg is Professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University. His fields of expertise include international relations, Middle East diplomacy and security, Israeli politics and arms control. Given the ongoing diplomatic and security upheavals in the Middle East, the nuclear arms control talks with Iran and Israel’s upcoming elections, one would think Professor Steinberg could have some important insights. Yet… where’s the coverage?

Posted by SC at December 10, 2014 03:02 PM

Comments

Yours is an uphill and lonely battle against the forces of evil, political correctness, and stupidity (I think most everything falls into one or another of these categories). But your work is essential. Thank you for your amazing dedication and extraordinary efforts.

Posted by: Barry Goldberg at December 11, 2014 12:17 PM

You presume the Dr. Gerald Steinberg has some insights that are scholarly and useful. I am a Professor of Political Science as well and I do a lot of research and work on the conflict. That does not necessarily make me the "go to" expert. While Dr. Steinberg may be a world class intellect, that does not necessarily mean that his insights are germain or representative of either side. Furthermore, there are many variables that go into quoting an expert and often an "opinion" vs. a well thought and researched unbiased answer are not the same. There are also many academicians that are terrible at summarizing a complex topic for the media to use and many professors do not write in a manner that conveys ideas in a short form for media consumption. Dr Steinberg may be excellent for quoting in the press, but it is preposterous to assume that this is the case and to emotionally brand the media as anti-Semitic brings supporters and Dr. Steinberg into question.

Posted by: Esme Fitzgerald Burgoyne at December 11, 2014 07:27 PM

You presume the Dr. Gerald Steinberg has some insights that are scholarly and useful. I am a Professor of Political Science as well and I do a lot of research and work on the conflict. That does not necessarily make me the "go to" expert. While Dr. Steinberg may be a world class intellect, that does not necessarily mean that his insights are germain or representative of either side. Furthermore, there are many variables that go into quoting an expert and often an "opinion" vs. a well thought and researched unbiased answer are not the same. There are also many academicians that are terrible at summarizing a complex topic for the media to use and many professors do not write in a manner that conveys ideas in a short form for media consumption. Dr Steinberg may be excellent for quoting in the press, but it is preposterous to assume that this is the case and to emotionally brand the media as anti-Semitic brings supporters and Dr. Steinberg into question.

Posted by: Esme Fitzgerald Burgoyne at December 11, 2014 07:28 PM

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