ADL: US editorials largely support IsraelBy Joshua Ronen
The Jerusalem Post, 06/25/2001
US newspaper coverage of the Middle East is largely pro-Israel, according to a study to be released today by the Anti-Defamation League in New York.
A survey of the editorial pages of the 50 largest American newspapers in terms of circulation was conducted between May 22 and June 18. The study was a follow-up to a December survey.
"Our survey shows that the editorial boards of the major newspapers across the country are viewing the situation in the Middle East in a realistic and objective manner," said ADL national chairman Glen Tobias and ADL national director Abraham Foxman in a statement. "Many of the editorials are in synch with the policies of the Bush administration and reflect the overall American perception of the situation on the ground in Israel."
The editorials were separated into two groups -- those dealing with terrorist attacks, such as the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium bombing which killed 21 Israelis, and those dealing with the current US-brokered cease-fire. On the subject of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policy of restraint, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, rarely on the same side of an issue, praised him and his steadfastness against escalation.
Regarding the recent cease-fire, the ADL survey showed that 75 percent of newspaper editorials devoted to the topic approved of the agreement.
Despite the editorial positions shown in the survey, according to Bar-Ilan University communications professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig the American public is less likely to be swayed by what is on the editorial page.
Most of the newspapers surveyed, such as The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, are part of a group Wilzig classifies as "elite press."
Those editorial pages only see about a 40 percent readership.
"If the item is a foreign item, the American public in general is far less interested," Wilzig said.
"I attribute the results to the fact that people that are on the editorial boards [are] very well informed and very educated and [are] looking at the crisis as it is," said ADL spokeswoman Laura Kam Issacharoff.
According to Issacharoff, although the study did not focus on the hard
news coverage generally seen in the front pages of newspapers, the ADL
is constantly monitoring coverage of the conflict.