Over-reporting Israel

We at HonestReporting spend alot of time scratching our heads over particular articles on Israel, but there’s another aspect of the coverage that’s no less bewildering: the sheer volume of it.

Harvard’s Ethan Zuckerman has a remarkable web page that monitors in real-time the Global Attention Profiles of major media outlets, mapping out what parts of the world the major news services deem important.

Though Israel is certainly a “red zone” (very high interest), it’s telling that one can’t even see the red of Israel on Zuckerman’s color-coded world map, since Israel is so small. So click through to the tables format, where you find that on the AP wire today, Israel and the West Bank’s coverage-to-population correlation are by far the highest, at over 3000%.

The over-reporting of Israel, now quantified, is an important element of biased coverage of the conflict. A few reasons why:

1) The prominence “granted” to Israeli power distorts the geographical reality: Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by Arab states that, at best, coldly tolerate Israel’s existence. This military reality fades behind the barrage of “Israel Kills…” headlines.

2) Faulty and misleading reporting (such as this) is amplified beyond compare.

3) Israel’s conscientious anti-terror effort is scrutinized in a manner no other nation is forced to confront.

4) The thousands of reporters in Israel have to file lots of stories to keep their editors happy, and dramatic writing grabs the most attention. Drama, in this context, almost invariably means exaggerated portrayal of Israeli aggression (unless Palestinian terrorists have recently struck, in which case Israel gets a momentary reprieve).

Now the question is, why is Israel so disproportionately over-reported?