Wednesday, April 10, 2002

MADE IN THE U.S.A.: Last night I e-mailed InstaPundit the gist of my earlier post noting the apparent journalistic convention of designating Israeli weapons as "U.S.-supplied" when they're used against Palestinians. InstaPundit posted the e-mail, and sometime later posted an e-mail from another reader pointing out a reference to "Iranian-supplied mobile Fajr-5 rockets" in today's Washington Post, which I'd missed. But I'm standing by my implied claim of media bias. I searched the Washington Post and New York Times, using their web search engines, for news stories with the phrases "U.S.-supplied," "U.S. supplied," "American-made," "American made," "American-supplied," "American supplied," as well as "Syrian" "and "Iranian" in the same combinations. I searched the Post for stories from the last two weeks and I searched the Times for stories from the last week. (Sorry, I don't have Nexis and I'm not going to pay for premium searches.) Here's what I found. In the last week, the Post published three stories (not counting "web extras") referring to "U.S.-supplied" Apaches in the context of Israeli attacks on Palestinians. It published one story referring to "Iranian-supplied" rockets, not in the context of attacks on Israelis but in the context of Israel's claim that Hezbollah has fortified the Lebanese border with the weapons. Also in the last week, the Times published two stories referring to "American-made Apache helicopters," both in the context of Israeli attacks on Palestinians. (Click here to see the specific search results.) Bottom line: Two major papers make a point of noting when the Israelis use American-made weapons against the Palestinians. They have not in the same period identified who supplied the Palestinians with their guns and their explosives. The effect is to imply American culpability for the deaths of Palestinians -- a recurring theme of Palestinian and Arab propaganda -- because we "let" the Israelis use "our" weapons against them. Maybe my search was too crude; maybe a Nexis search would reveal more even-handed reported. (Maybe I'm just paranoid.) Forgive me, though, if I don't hold my breath.

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