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Category:  Press » Religion & Faith

 

'If It Bleeds, It Leads' Approach Skews Media Coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah Conflict, Say a Panel of Experts on KRLA's Newsroom Confidential

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2006-08-03 02:50:49     
Newsroom Confidential

The media's appetite for blood and destruction is in part to blame for Israel's poor public image, say a group of media relation experts, journalists, authors and diplomats.

In a roundtable discussion that explored the causes of global media bias against Israel, several panelists agreed that the media's approach of "if it bleeds it leads" fails to put the conflict into its proper broader context.

The roundtable was broadcast live on a special edition of Newsroom Confidential, the weekly one-hour radio program that offers listeners an insider's guide to journalists and public relations. Newsroom Confidential is broadcast each Sunday night on NewsTalk KRLA 870 in Los Angeles and is simulcast around the world on the Internet.

"How do words -- no matter how true and rational -- compete with photos of wailing mothers carrying their dead babies?" asks Dean Rotbart, host and executive producer of the program. "It is next to impossible to try to go on camera and explain any justification whatsoever for the compelling visual images that are aired over and over again.

"Yet if the world at large thinks with its heart instead of its head, terrorism will prevail," Rotbart said. "Indeed, the terrorists understand and harness the enormous power of emotional news coverage to win support for their deadly goals."

Guests on the live program included: Lenny Ben-David, former Deputy Chief of Mission for the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.; Naomi Ragen, noted author and columnist, based in Israel; Nonie Darwish, author and speaker with Arabs for Israel; Gary P. Ratner, Executive Director, Western Region of the American Jewish Congress; Simon Plosker, senior editor, HonestReporting.com and Natalia Derevyanny, a public relations expert from Chicago.

"It's becoming a PR war, and reality to Western media as a whole doesn't matter any more," said Darwish, author of the soon-to-be-released Now They Call Me Infidel. "All they [the news media] want is drama and emotions. They want to see blood on TV."

Ben-David agreed, adding that Israel's culture of honoring the dead and not parading its casualties for the cameras exacerbates the problem. Ben-David also pointed to the European press's "philosophical animosity" toward Israel as well as the American media suffering from "little knowledge, little context," as additional culprits.

"What I urge people on my mailing list to do, is to please contact their local media, write letters to the newspaper, call their local television and radio stations and simply become activists in trying to change the way the facts are being reported," suggested Ragen, who is a columnist based in Israel. Ms. Ragen's regular dispatches from Israel are known, among other things, for calling the media to task for misleading and outright biased coverage.

Ratner of the American Jewish Congress said that his organization regularly meets with news organizations and presents documentation illustrating the anti-Israel bias. "We've been successful and we find in many instances when we have the documentation the American media does respond and they do want to be responsible."

Rotbart invites the public at large with recommendations on how Israel can best counter media bias. The suggestions will be published on the NewsroomConfidential.com web site.

Newsroom Confidential is made possible through the support of well-respected sponsors, including PR Newswire, the global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators and NewsBios.com, which provides in-depth dossiers on more than 6,000 of the world's most influential journalists.

For more information or to become a program sponsor, contact Dean Rotbart, Newsroom Confidential executive producer, at 1-866-NEWS-070.

Specialized in: Newsroom Confidential - Media Coverage - Israel-hezbollah - Experts - Bleeds - Approach
URL: http://www.newsroomconfidential.com
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