After looking at a week’s coverage of three different news sources in November, several trends were identified and biases uncovered. This analysis reveals that Fox News is pro-Israel and that the U.S. is committed to working alongside Israel. Each article by Fox News tends to look at the Middle East situation through the eyes of Israel. Fox’s bias leans toward Israel, which goes along with Fox’s typical conservative background. Also, many of the articles stressed the importance and camaraderie of U.S.-Israeli relations.
Another trend found in the news articles was that each report stressed the effect that the Middle East conflict will have on America. Consequently, the article[s] encourages readers to have strong Israeli sentiment and to support U.S.-Israeli relations.
The content of the BBC news reports were very interesting because they tried to remain as neutral as possible toward the Middle East. The BBC is the government-broadcasting arm of the U.K. and though the U.K. supports Israel, the media generally is not pro-Israel. A trend in the BBC reporting was that each article always stressed that there were alternatives to Israeli-Iranian war and that negotiation was the key to resolution. Another interesting trend was that even though the United Nations was conducting the Iranian nuclear searches, the BBC reports never seemed to oppose the Iranian construction of nuclear weapons. Out of the three sources used in this analysis, BBC News was the most unbiased toward Iran, Israel, and the U.S.
The most biased of the three sources was clearly Al Arabiya. What was most shocking about the Al Arabiya reports was the continuous trend of hatred and condemnation toward Israel. No matter what the article was addressing, Al Arabiya would somehow tie the situation back to Israel and blame all the conflict on Israeli motives. Al Arabiya would not even consider opposing opinions and took a stance of superiority in all of its views. It was amazing to see how much more vivid and uncensored Al Arabiya news was in comparison to the U.S. and U.K.
Overall, it is very interesting and fascinating to see how even the slightest bias can dominate the content of an entire article and is a trend found in many news sources.
Joshua Sweeting is a student at Colorado Christian University. In November 2011, for our News21 course on “Persuasion and News in the 21st Century,” he examined news coverage of the Middle East – including Israeli missile tests and Iran’s nuclear program – in Fox News, BBC News and Al Arabiya. The above reflects some of his conclusions.