Peter Manning (Sydney Morning Herald op-ed) argues that Canberra’s support for Israel is out of step” with Australian public opinion.
But as I read his piece and the polls he cites, I’m having a recurring thought: skewed media coverage of Israel impacts public opinion, and public opinion impacts policy.
Indeed Manning is part of that problem — a big part in fact. A 2005 study of Israel in the Australian media found, for example, that Manning supported suicide bombers.
A recent book by Peter Manning, ABC’s former head of news and current affairs and now a university journalism lecturer, reflects the channel’s dominant, self-perpetuating views. In its first part, Dog Whistle Politics and Journalism attempts to prove Australian media racism against Arabs by using a computer search for the proximity of the words Arab and Islamic with words related to war and violence. Given that there has been a real concatenation of terror and violence with the Middle East in world affairs, it is not surprising that he found the combination was quite common. As for the book’s second part, it argues that the media did not sufficiently understand that Palestinian suicide bombings were a necessary and reasonable response to Israeli occupation.
Ain’t that sweet? Someone in step with suicide bombers is lecturing me about what’s mainstream.