Media Blog

Journos’ Access Gives Mideast Conflict Visibility

Howard Kurtz surveys coverage of the Middle East today in The Washington Post:

The deployment of top anchors — [NBC’s Brian] Williams, ABC’s Charles Gibson, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Fox’s Shepard Smith — has given the conflict a huge boost in visibility. So has the work of many correspondents who are veterans of the region, including NBC’s Richard Engel, ABC’s Dan Harris and CBS’s Lara Logan, who is co-anchoring from Israel.
Since Israel has inflicted far more damage on Lebanon than it has sustained, a heavy focus on the more than 300 civilian victims in that war-ravaged country could help tilt public opinion against the Jewish state. But that would overlook two key facts: that Israel retaliated only after Hezbollah crossed a U.N.-sanctioned border to kill and capture several Israeli soldiers, and that Hezbollah fighters hide — and hide their weapons — among civilians to make counterattacks more difficult.

Kurtz also addresses the out-to-lunch accusation that the media have ignored Lebanese civilian casualties:

The Lebanese and Palestinian casualties are hardly “unnoticed” by the media, but in a war of a thousand images, those with strong feelings can always complain that pictures and descriptions of the war are unfair to their side. The challenge for journalists is to temper the heart-rending images of suffering with balanced and skeptical reporting.

Looking back over the last week, some have (surprisingly) done “balanced and skeptical” much better than others


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