Among other things, in his excellent Wall St Journal letter, Shaul Lavan draws attention to how the media projects a distorted, Eurocentric view of the Arab-Israeli conflict:
Bret Stephens's Dec. 2 Global View "Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies" hit the mark in assessing media influence on terrorism. Not only the BBC, but also many U.S. news outlets, uncritically accept every allegation from what they see as aggrieved populations, while using selective facts to destroy the credibility of Western governments and law enforcement agencies.
Unfortunately, this distortion of "narrative" goes beyond individual events, and extends to historical background. For example, the BBC Web site gives the impression that were no Jews in the Middle East prior to the 19th century. This feeds into the false claim that "the Palestinians are paying for the Holocaust." In fact, half of all Israelis are descendants of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Their 14 centuries of "dhimmi" status might as well have occurred on a different planet.
What is now called Arab East Jerusalem had a Jewish majority from the 1850s until the 1920 riots forced them out. The 19th-century plight of Jews in the Holy Land was described in detail by British officials such as consul James Finn. Nevertheless, the BBC Web site subtly implies that all Jews in Israel are of European descent.
These distortions are not unique to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In covering terrorism in India, the New York Times talks of "Hindu extremists" but use the term "militant" -- not even "Islamic militant" for Islamist terrorists. It is the Indian government, and its responses, rather than the Islamist attackers, that are held culpable for Indian victims. Again and again, deeds of Islamist militants are rationalized, while any Christian, Hindu or Jewish response is castigated.
The bias is so apparent and consistent that one might be tempted to dismiss its influence. Unfortunately it has promoted a climate of appeasement that will only lead to more atrocities like that in Mumbai.
Sandy Springs, Ga.