Digital Vs Mainstream Media: Mapping Coverage Bias During Israel Palestine Escalation

The report suggested that there was a clear divergence of reporting of the issue between mainstream and digital media.

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Digital and Mainstream media

As violence escalated between Israeli forces and Palestinians last month, there has emerged a contentious debate over how this conflict has been reported over some of the most popular news outlets worldwide.

It includes long-ranging issues over how the broader discourse related to the Israel-Palestinian problem has been framed, especially in terms of the biases inherent in some media reports on such sensitive matters.

The Islamabad Policy Research Institute’s digital forensic arm G5iO undertook data-based discourse analysis to test bias in the coverage of the recent Israel – Palestine escalation across Digital and Mainstream Media.

Digital and Mainstream Media

The data for the analysis was collected from sources including Google trends, Twitter, and 320 Headlines of the NYT and The Guardian (UK). The data was gathered from the 8th to the 23rd of May.

The analysis revealed that 320 articles that covered the Israel-Palestine issue were published in the NYT and The Guardian in two weeks, with frequency increasing as the issue escalated. Moreover, data from Google Trends for the keyword “Israel Palestine Conflict” follows a similar trajectory.

There was a clear divergence of reporting of the issue between mainstream and digital media.

The NYT and Guardian were more cautious in their reporting of the Palestinian suffering compared to the Israeli viewpoint that was more openly projected.

Both the NYT and Guardian demonstrated a pro-Israel bias. However, it was not in terms of Israeli support but, in their reluctance in reporting criticism on Israel.

There is clear evidence of the NYT and The Guardian having closely pegged their reporting to the changing US national security policy posturing on this issue. The graph shows that media coverage closely followed the curve of changing US officials’ statements.

Digital and Mainstream Media

Social Media demonstrated by and large a pro-Palestinian sympathy and viewpoint questioning the neutrality of mainstream media houses in their reporting bias.

Digital Vs Mainstream Media

The report concluded a clear pro-Israeli bias in both the US policy statements and Western Media coverage especially, during the first few days of the escalation.

As the US found it increasingly difficult to justify Israeli aggression, official policy statements and media coverage assumed a more neutral tone. Coverage and interest in the issue declined rapidly after the ceasefire and purported de-escalation.

Click here to view the full report

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