Saturday, November 07, 2015

07-Nov-15: The news: how it's reported can completely color what its consumers think they know

From AP today:
[A certain political leader] presided over a ceremony in [vast stretch of land now occupied by his country] to launch a new development program on Saturday, the second day of his visit to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's annexation of [that vast stretch of land]...  [T]he visit is part of a campaign to promote the country's decentralization plan and boost investment. [That political leader's] appearance on Saturday was attended by several government ministers and business leaders. On Friday, he delivered a speech in [that vast stretch of land] proposing a number of development projects, spanning from a port in the coastal city... to a railway connecting XXX to the [occupied] town of YYY. He also leveled critiques against the [deleted] government and the [resistance group active in trying to recover that vast stretch of land from the occupier]"Where have the millions of dollars of humanitarian aid gone — more than 60 million euros ($65 million) a year?" [the political leader] said in his speech."How can one explain the fact that the [rebellious group's] leaders are obscenely rich and have real estate and bank accounts in Europe and Latin America?" he added.
Before clicking on the source to see what's being reported, consider: which leader, which occupied vast stretch of land, which corrupt resistance group making-out-like-thieves are under discussion. Yet notice how the word "occupied" is used just once by AP. It's not in the headline. And it's nowhere in the body text. It appears only at the end of the report where some basic facts, probably unknown to 99% of AP readers, are stated in one brief sentence.

Quick: Where is this open-air concentration camp? And when
were its challenges last debated in the UN Security
Council? [Image Source]
The headline refers to the occupied territories of the story as... "contested". In the circumstances, that's a good way to describe them. 

But now compare and contrast with the media coverage of a certain other conflict, one that happens to be close to our hearts and to our living room. Notice the very striking differences of tone and terminology and their effect on how you feel about what's been reported. And ask why.

Journalists, reporters, editors, photographers - they can and most certainly do have a massive influence on what people think they know about events going on far away. 

A shame that this influence turns out to be so prone to manipulation, exploitation and narrative-spinning.

1 comment:

Dan Livni said...
Shirley Temper’s Idolization of Terrorists
Posted by: Aussie Dave in Aussie Dave October 7, 2015