Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Can't Find it on the Map

The admirable folks at Just Journalism have put up a spot of research comparing British media's covering of Israel's attack in Gaza and the Sri Lanken victory over the Tamil terrorists. Unsurprisingly, with the exception of the London Times, the British outlets surveyed all told their readers how horrendous the Israelis are to a far greater extent than they did about the Sri Lankens. And the sun kept on rising in the East, for that matter.

When I read the report, I had different comments.
1. the NGOs on the ground in Sri Lanka actually did their best to report. So the media had the information and made a purposeful decision not to do much with it.
2. The comparison between Israel and Sri Lanka is only of limited use. And, as everyone knows, the numbers of civilians killed in Sri Lanka was dramatically higher than the Palestinian casualties, partially because the Sri Lanken army never even pretended it was trying not to hit civilians. (Sri Lanken civilians, by the way). (What do you mean, "not everyone knows"?)
3. While I really have no argument with the Just Journalism gang, it is worth noticing the set they chose for comaprision. What about, say, civilians being killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Darfur, South Sudan, refugees being towed out to sea by the Thai navy and dumped there, and other such atrocities which somehow generated less attention than the Sri Lanken case?

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