Monday, February 10, 2014

Ronn Torossian On Media Bias

Ronn Torossian of the Algemeiner asks: Imagine that this week, Jews got angry and hundreds attacked Palestinian Arabs with rocks at the holiest Muslim site in the world.  Imagine that this violence came after a handful of Muslims came to pray peacefully at the site, and even though hundreds of Jews attacked police officers, only seven were arrested.  Can anyone imagine the endless news stories and media reports which would emanate as a result? The New York Times would have three front-page stories; there would be countless United Nations and European Union condemnations, and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on site.  Media coverage would be non-stop.

But, in reality Arabs attacked Jews repeatedly over the last few days at the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews, so it is barely a news story.  Palestinian Arab violence against Jews is a regular occurrence, and as the media seemingly expects the Arabs to throw rocks, they don’t afford it much media coverage. 

A few weeks ago, Stockwell Day, who served as Canada’s Minister of Public Safety between 2006 and 2008 visited the area and was refused admittance by Muslims.  On the Temple Mount, Jewish religious artifacts and symbols are not permitted and visitors report being strip searched before being allowed admittance.  Imagine if in the Vatican, people weren’t permitted to bring religious artifacts?  World media would jump all over themselves to cover the story.  But, since it is Jews being attacked, the world’s media is silent.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site and the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE. Despite the fact that this area is the holiest place on Earth for the Jews, Jewish visitation is restricted. Pretend there was an area in Washington, DC which had important political or religious significance to America – Could anyone envision a scenario where Americans were kept out? And police officers were attacked regularly at the site?

Of course, if the Israeli police were to adopt the position of the American border patrol police which says they “consider rock-throwing to be deadly force which sometimes demands the same in response”, then the world headlines would criticize Israel for shooting at “unarmed” young protestors.  Ignoring the fact that rocks kill people, the media would describe “tit for tat violence” if Israel responded. Talk about a no-win situation.

Israel is simply always wrong and can do no right for the world’s media. This bias leads to Jews being killed and is simply despicable.

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and respected public relations experts. Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.

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