line -->
  • Saturday, November 20, 2004


    Power of Naming in the Press

    One of the easiest ways (to me) to follow bias and slant in media reports is to watch the evolution or use of descriptive words as applied to groups of people. The following bit outlines one example of this. Another phrase that I have always wondered about is the use of "settlers" to apply to Israelis moving into and setting up enclaves in the occupied territories of the West Bank. Since Israeli control of the occupied territories is considered to be a 35 year old illegal (in the eyes of the UN) situation, and since the mass movement of Israeli citizens into these territories is a gross violation of international law, how do these people acquire the legitimate sounding appellation of "settlers?" This is the phrase I consistantly hear in the press in the US. I'm honestly curious about this. Perhaps I'm missing something.

    When misleading buzzwords become part of the media landscape, they slant news coverage and skew public perceptions. That's the story with the phrase "Iraqi forces" – now in routine use by U.S. media outlets, including the country's most influential newspapers.

    The New York Times and the Washington Post have been leading the way in news stories that apply the indigenous "Iraqi forces" label to Iraqi fighters who are pro-U.S.-occupation ... but not to Iraqi fighters who are anti-U.S.-occupation.

    .... Unfortunately, the U.S. media's highly selective use of the phrase "Iraqi forces" is symptomatic of the way that news coverage almost reflexively defers to Washington's terminology, assumptions and frames of reference.

    Attacks on U.S. troops occupying Iraq are often matter-of-factly reported to be the work of "terrorists." Along the way, American media outlets – unlike news coverage in much of the rest of the world – are apt to downplay eyewitness accounts of the civilian death toll from U.S. military assaults. In this country, such accounts are frequently ignored or discounted as "unconfirmed."

    << Home

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?