Media Bias 101 from the Independent: selective headlines and quotes

Anti-Israel media bias

Anti-Israel media bias

The UK’s Independent newspaper is almost as bad as, and sometimes worse than, the Guardian. Earlier this week it published a story about the Pope’s upcoming visit to Israel which was exceedingly snide, malicious and slanted by the simple expedient of highlighting selective quotes and ignoring other equally important details.

The story was headlined in very large letters “Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land: Pontiff’s planned visit to grave of Zionism’s founder branded ‘nauseating’ by Palestinians”. The title already sets the tone of the article.

Today, Palestinian activists were scathing about the Pope’s plans to make the first visit by a pontiff to the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, the political movement that established Israel and displaced the Palestinians.

The Indy needs an urgent history lesson if they think that Zionism displaced the Palestinians. As Honest Reporting remarks in their fisking of the article:

As a political movement and an ideology, Zionism was neither about, nor was responsible for, displacing Palestinians. It seems that The Independent’s reporter Ben Lynfield is identifying with the comments of BDS activist Omar Barghouti, who is quoted in the article referring to Zionism as:

a patently racist ideology that has served to enable and justify the ethnic cleansing of most of the indigenous people of Palestine.

If Lynfield holds that the entire raison d’etre behind Israel’s guiding Zionist ideology was to remove the Palestinians from the land then it is questionable whether he is capable of reporting from the region in an objective manner.

It seems that The Independent cannot differentiate opinion from news.

In fact, the Indy article continues with a much mellower tone emanating from the Palestinians further on:

“The visit to Herzl’s tomb is not a problem – it’s a courtesy visit,” explained Abdullah Abdullah, deputy commissioner on international relations for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.

In which case, why headline the article with the “nauseating” comment from Barghouti? Could it be because it chimes with Lynfield’s own views?

In contrast, the Independent makes no mention of a much more controversial visit planned for the Pope: not to the grave of a long-deceased leader but to a real-life bigot and antisemite, the Mufti of the Palestinian Authority

Watchdog Palestinian Media Watch on Tuesday warned that Pope Francis, as the most senior figure in the Catholic Church, is scheduled to meet with a leader who is renowned for his hatred of Jews.

Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the most senior religious figure in the Palestinian Authority “has an ongoing record of vicious Antisemitic hate speech, which has been condemned internationally,” PMW said in a statement.


PMW said that in 2012 the Mufti preached that it is Muslim destiny to kill the Jews. On another occasion, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he taught that Jews were “enemies of Allah,” and in another speech he said that the souls of suicide bombers “tell us to follow in their path.”

There is much much more of the Mufti’s revolting incitement and Jew-hatred at the link.

But I didn’t hear any criticism of the visit, nor any quotes from Israeli leaders protesting this visit, at the Independent. And thus the article is skewed to reflect the biases of the “journalist” or his editors.

Here endeth the first lesson in media bias.

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3 Responses to Media Bias 101 from the Independent: selective headlines and quotes

  1. JudyPT says:

    Can someone explain why the Pope is meeting with this anti semitic mufti in the first place ? Surely there must be more deserving people he could meet if he is truly trying to bring peace to this troubled region.Why do you expect fairer treatment from this paper a leopard does not change its spots.

    • anneinpt says:

      The Pope’s visit has been carefully crafted to avoid any political pitfalls. Unfortunately it looks like he’s fallen into every one so far.

      Re the Indy, yes, they are as bad as the Guardian.

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    No, the Independent (Indy) is as bad as The Guardian. After all, it employs Robert Fisk (and has done for 20+ years). This is the guy who reports on the Middle east from the safety(?) of Beirut. This is the guy who confuses hearsay with evidence (if you insist, I’ll search through my comments/arguments with a Fisk lover to demonstrate this point), and then relies on the hearsay to attack Israel. This is the guy who wonders why people “fisk” his articles.

    And he works for a paper that published a “cartoon” of the US flag with the stars replaced with magen davids, and wonders why people got upset – by no means all (or even most) of them Jewish.

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