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Monday, December 19, 2005

With friends like these...

One the subjects that has always fascinated me is media bias. I found a perfect example in a story released by Reuters last night about Sharon's stroke.

This is a picture posted on the Reuters website with the caption:

"A Palestinian youth celebrates in Gaza after hearing that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was moved into hospital December 18, 2005. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem"

For the entire article click here

It makes you wonder about how news media choose their words. This particular man in the picture is referred to as a "youth".

According to Dictionary.com the definition of youth is:

youth (yth)
n. pl. youths (yths, ythz)
    1. The condition or quality of being young.
    2. An early period of development or existence: a nation in its youth.
  1. The time of life between childhood and maturity.
    1. A young person, especially a young male in late adolescence.
    2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Young people considered as a group.

This definition makes the caption completely inaccurate. The man in the picture looks neither young, in his late adolescence or that he has yet to reach the age of maturity.

Why do Reuters and other news outlines skew their readers perceptions by using misleading terms to identify people?

The use of the term "youth" here is used on purpose to mislead the ignorant public. It dismisses the idea that someone mature would proudly express glee over another's misfortune. It is as if they wrote that it was a kid who didn't really know what he was celebrating about. Kids are supposed to be innocent and impartial observers of history. Most people in the world won't scrutinize a picture and would take the news outlets word that this is a genuine "youth" who has what to celebrate about.

Interestingly enough, if you read the whole press release by Reuters there is no mention what-so-ever about Palestinians in Gaza. The whole story is about Sharon and his mild stroke. The other five pictures are directly related to the story. The first picture is of the hospitol spokeman giving a message to the press. Then there are two pictures of policemen guarding the ER enterence. Next, there are two pictures of Sharon himslef. Finally we see the picture of the Palestinian which doesn't really fit into the story anyway because the reporter doesn't mention them.

Thanks for reading....


At 11:28 AM, December 19, 2005, Blogger JoeSettler said...

That would be in line with common headlines like, "IDF soldiers confront Palestinian Youths".

Ignoring that the Palestinian "youths" are the same age as the IDF soldiers.

At 11:41 AM, December 19, 2005, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

same age???? usually older than the soldiers even

At 2:53 PM, December 19, 2005, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jerusalem Cop: You're so silly.

This guy's from Palestinian Sesame Street.

Today's we're learning the letter "V". This was just an ad.

At 2:56 PM, December 19, 2005, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

great way to teach the little ones how to drive...

At 9:30 AM, December 22, 2005, Blogger Batya said...

just like a terrorist is called an activist

At 9:37 AM, December 22, 2005, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

or a freedom fighter


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