Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Power of the Gatekeeper

Gatekeeping is the power of the managing or lead editor in a media company to determine which stories get published or aired, and which don't.  It's one of the most dynamic, and insidious, tools for disseminating propaganda because by definition, it's a biased process, yet one that leaves little evidence of that bias.  The editor gets to decide which stories, which perspectives, will make the news and have an opportunity to influence audiences.  Other stories, other perspectives, simply never see the light of day.

British attorney Trevor Asserson, now living in Israel, conducted a study of the BBCs gatekeeping role in its production and airing of documentaries on the Middle East conflict:
Asserson checked various BBC TV programs on the Middle East against its commitments under the charter. He analyzed all documentaries on the Middle East shown on BBC 1 and 2 from late June 2002 to 2004. Afterwards, Asserson said that the BBC is conducting “what amounts to something equivalent to a campaign to vilify Israel, broadcasting a documentary critical of Israel every two to three months…88% of documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict paint either a negative impression of Israel or (in two cases) a positive image of Palestinians.” [...]

Asserson concluded: “BBC’s news reports concerning Israel are distorted by omission, by inclusion, by only giving partial facts, by who is interviewed, and by the background information provided, or lack of it.
Reuters similarly employs heavily ideological gatekeeping in its Middle East reporting in an effort to vilify Israel and lionize the Arabs.  Check our right sidebar entitled, "Reuters Censoring", and you will see scores of important, factual stories vital to any contextualized understanding of the conflict.  Yet, not one of them was covered by Reuters.  Why?

Because they would interfere with Reuters anti-Israel propaganda campaign and concurrent pro-Arab advocacy campaign.

Incidentally, if confronted with this list, we have no doubt Reuters editors would feign indignation and protest their innocence with a claim that they were too busy covering more newsworthy stories.

Yes, we're certain of that.

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