You Only Know What The Reporter Wants You To Know: Media Bias in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In the United States, the media is our only tool when trying to learn about a geographically distant issue such as the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Though the media is a useful source, bias is almost unavoidable. The way to get around it as readers is to understand where it is coming from.

Biased reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are usually due to the reporter’s point of view. As humans, it is difficult for us to disregard our thoughts and beliefs; journalists are not excluded from that. Reasons for a biased source are not limited to the journalist’s inability to avoid expressing opinions. For example, The political relationship between Israel and the US at times leads to impartial information. During a time of tension between the Israelis and the Palestinians in 2012, CNN only interviewed 20 Palestinian officials compared to 45 Israeli officials. As a result, most reports from that time seemed to favor the Israeli side.

Biased reporting could also occur when a journalist’s social or financial status depends on what is reported. A former reporter wrote an article about why many stories told by journalists that get sent to Eastern Jerusalem tend to favor the Palestinians. In Eastern Jerusalem, which is dominantly Palestinian, there are big organizations that are controlling the social and financial scene. Many of the journalists that get sent there seek to blend in with the local society. Those big organizations are aware of the power they have and they use it to make journalists put out stories that benefit their pro-Palestinian standpoint.

In a perfect world, journalists and reporters would always report truthful information. But it has been understood that journalists are people with opinions and points of view that at times cannot be avoided. In today’s world, anyone, with or without an opinion, can tell stories whether they are true or not, and our job as readers is to make the effort to acknowledge that and to do whatever we can to get closest to the truth.