The Media's Price Tag

Yarden Frankl,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yarden Frankl
Yarden Frankl is the Executive Director of the Center for Analysis of Media Coverage of Israel. His work appears in the Times of Israel, the Jewish Press, the Algemeiner, as well as Israel National News. He was a senior editor for HonestReporting for 11 years. He also blogs at CrossingtheYarden.com. ...

Any consumer of the Western media has seen numerous examples of what have been labeled "price tag" acts of vandalism in Israel. Typically, these acts consist of anti-Arab graffiti, the slashing of tires on Arab owned vehicles, or racist slogans painted on walls in or near Arab villages. For the most part, these are petty acts of vandalism, the kind that happen throughout the world with little fanfare -- or media coverage specifically. Yet even relatively minor examples have been covered by some of the world's leading media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC. It doesn't seem to matter that the Israeli authorities are quick to condemn these acts of vandalism in the strongest terms. By paying so much attention to them, the media indict all of Israel as racists in the eyes of much of the world.

And yet, although these hateful acts are indeed despicable, one has to wonder why the media do not seem to care
about similar -- or even worse -- acts of vandalism against Jewish sites.  Almost every day, swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans are painted on Jewish grave stones on the Mount of Olives and in Jewish cemeteries throughout the country. And far more violent acts also go unreported outside the Israeli press.

Rocks and Molotov cocktails are hurled at cars driven by Jews on a regular basis. Where's the coverage? For every one incident that is reported, there are literally hundreds more that go ignored by the press. Only when an attack tragically ends in death does the media bother to report it. Is a single racist slogan painted on a wall more newsworthy than a road where men, women, and children must face rocks and explosives as they make their daily commute to work, school, and elsewhere?

With such biased coverage, is it any wonder that the perception most of the world has of Israel is that of a monster? When the media eat up anti-Arab petty vandalism and fail to report attacks against Jews, they become a tool of Israel's enemies. Because the more racist and violent Israel is made out to be, the more momentum campaigns like the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement pick up.

If you read both the Israeli and Western media and find a disparity in what is covered, you can make a difference by sending an e-mail to the news organization responsible and ask simply why an event is considered news based on the ethnicity of the victims.