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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler (Extra)

Soccer Dad provides this New York Times op-ed index summary for January - June 2012.
New York Times Op-ed Index Summary January - June 2012

January 2012 - Anti-Israel - 3 / Pro-Israel - 0
February 2012 - Anti-Israel - 8 / Pro-Israel - 4
March 2012 - Anti-Israel - 8 / Pro-Israel - 3
April 2012 - Anti-Israel - 3 / Pro-Israel - 1
May 2012 - Anti-Israel - 4 / Pro-Israel - 0
June 2012 - Anti-Israel - 4/ Pro-Israel - 2

Total - Anti-Israel - 30 / Pro-Israel - 10

The ratio of anti-Israel to pro-Israel op-eds during previous six month summary was more than five to one, so we can look at this as an improvement. Driving the previous ratio was last September, when Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN seeking approval for statehood. By my count the ratio that month was 14 to one. This time the results were skewed by two months where the paper published no pro-Israel op-eds.

The main topic driving the opinion articles - especially in February and March - is Israel's efforts to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Many of the articles appearing in the New York Times opinion pages dealing with this topic portray Israel as itching to bomb Iran complicating America's efforts to arrive at a peaceful solution to the situation. Israel, in short, was portrayed as an inconvenient ally.

If there was a low point to the past six months, I would assign that designation to Peter Beinart's To save Israel, boycott the settlements. Beinart's view isn't anything special. However Beinart has now made his career by scolding Israel as he has not only written a book (ironically, unfavorably reviewed in the New York Times) and edits an anti-Israel website, Open Israel.

Sure, Beinart poses as a supporter of Israel (one telling "hard truths" that Israel's less enlightened supporters refuse to believe) but his views provide cover for overtly anti-Israel activists and he has invited Yousef Munnayer, another op-ed contributor to the Times, who is an anti-Zionist to blog at Open Zion.

Apparently, despite the effort of the New York Times to boost Beinart's fortunes, his book sold poorly. This isn't good news for the New York Times which published Beinart's book. However the Times did not disclose its interest in Beinart's book in its brief biography of the author.

If there was a surprise, it was Thomas Friedman's Pass the Books, Hold the Oil. Though it was mostly not about Israel, he included a rather positive assessment of Israel's economy. I credited Friedman for that brief, uncynical look at Israel.
What amazes me every time I see these statistics is the sheer volume of pieces that deal with one little country in the Middle East. The amount of attention that we get from the Times and other mainstream media publications seems disproportionate to our size and even to our importance to the 'international community.'

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