Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Editorial Bias

For many years I have subscribed to two daily newspapers. Partly its because I am a news junky. Partly, its so Sheryl and I don't have to fight over the paper at breakfast. But mostly, its because I realized years ago, that each newspaper has its biases, and I wanted to, as much as possible, see past those and know the truth.

While I have since despaired at ever 100% knowing the truth, I have been struck very often by how the editors of a paper can slant a headline or a story to fit their own biases. Some days I can read the about the same event in my two newspapers, and - if I didn't know otherwise - I would think these where two entirely different events.

Today I noticed the same thing - but in a single paper!!

At 9:00 AM I looked at the online Ha'artez and saw a story headlined:

Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch says Holy Land is not Only Jewish
The text of the article began:

Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch criticized Israel on Wednesday for insisting Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state and said God made the Holy Land for Muslims and Christians too.

At 11:17 AM I returned to the online Ha'artez and noticed that the story had been re-written. The headline now read:

Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch rejects Israel's Jewish identity
This time the article begins with:

Israel's identity as a Jewish state discriminates against non-Jews, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman said in a pre-Christmas address on Wednesday.

Obviously, someone at Ha'artez decided to re-spin this story.

As to the "facts" themselves, I would say that both versions of the opening text are prima facia true.

2 Comments:

Anonymous A. H. Zoot said...

It must be true
I read it in the papers didn't you.

It must be true
I read it in the papers didn't you

Though the Evening Post and the West Gazette disagree with all of the rest-and yet

It must be true
I read it in the papers didn't you.

From the musical "Lock Up Your Daughters" by Lionel Bart. It was based on an 18th century comedy, Rape Upon Rape, by Henry Fielding and adapted by Bernard Miles. The lyrics were written by Lionel Bart and the music by Laurie Johnson. It was first produced at the Mermaid Theatre in London in 1959.

9:04 pm  
Blogger Sydney Nestel said...

Half of what you read in the papers is true. The trick is to figure out which half.

11:40 am  

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