Is the Media Blocking the Message of American’s who Don’t Support Israel?
The strong U.S. support for Israel is daunting to most Muslims. A poll conducted by the LA Times indicates that in the recent assault of Israel against the Lebanese that 43% of Americans believe the attack was justified and not harsh in its treatment of the Lebanese people (Wallsten & Ghlert, 2006). Yet the study also showed that 44% of Americans feel that the war was either not justified or that the Israeli response was excessive.
Americans are beginning to understand the crisis in the Middle East after years of being misled and lied too on major media outlets. Without the American people’s awareness the crisis has continued to worsen as U.S. politicians make decisions that cater to the powerful Israeli lobby but not in the best interest of the United States. America is founded on and works best when an informed public is at the steering wheel and not power-hungry politicians who are more concerned with annual raises and power-wheeling than what is best for everyone.
Simply looking at another poll shows that 60% of Americans support cutting military aid to Israel if they do not withdraw troops from the Palestinian areas (Poll, 2002). In another study conducted by Survey USA found that 52% of Americans support Israel’s right to defend itself and push insurgents from the border in Lebanon and 34% of Americans feel that Israel does not and should not have that right to invade Lebanon (Most Americans Support, 2006).
34% percent of the U.S. population doesn’t feel that Israel has the right to invade and attack another country which indicates that there is a major issue in need of debating. The 52% statistic is prone to biases in terms of the information Americans receive through the media, the biases the researcher puts in his survey questions that may lead respondents to answers that support Israel, and other negative images associated with Muslims from News outlets.
For example, if the image of Hezbollah was associated with American Revolutionaries who were defending their people’s and land from a very powerful Israel (England) that killed them on site(Feudal System), impoverished their children (unfair taxation), and took their land (Royal land acquisition) those statistical numbers would be drastically different.
Mass media itself is subject to bias whereupon the reporter disseminates information that fits within his/her personal outlook (I am probably doing this right now). If enough reporters do this or are dominated by a particular sect than the information given to the public would be skewed and could potentially change the outlook of America. Kathleen Hall Jamieson (2000) notes,
“One might hypothesize instead that reporters respond to the cues of those who pay their salaries and mask their own ideological dispositions. Another explanation would hold that norms of journalism, including `objectivity’ and `balance’ blunt whatever biases exist.”
Thus the statistics presented above indicate that a significant minority of Americans do not agree with Israel and desire to cut funding to the country unless they begin to follow acceptable standards of behavior. Disfavorable views of Israel are likely underreported as America’s media sources show a keen pro-Israel bias that doesn’t give the American public a well-rounded perspective. If for a period of 1 month the media reported anti-Israeli stories it would expected that the trend in American opinion would be reversed.
About the Author: For more articles by Murad Ali please visit the Muslim Times at http://www.themuslimtimes.com