HonestReporting is a UK-based organization devoted to monitoring and criticizing media bias in Middle East coverage. It was founded in 2000, after the New York Times ran a photo of a bloodied youth whom it mis-identified as a Palestinian being beaten by Israeli soldiers.
In fact, he was a Jewish American student who had been dragged out of a taxi by a Palestinian mob and was rescued by Israeli soldiers. The Times photo, unfortunately, became incorporated into official Arab propaganda about Israeli atrocities. However, it inspired a new generation of media activists to stand up to bias in the “newspaper of record” and elsewhere.
Since then, HonestReporting has evolved into a multi-faceted institution, offering not only critiques of biased reporting across a variety of media, but tools for people to take up the critique themselves. Each year, HonestReporting invites its readers to participate in the selection of the recipient of the Dishonest Reporting Award. And in 2011, the winner was the Guardian—in a “landslide.”
The left-leaning UK daily won for a variety of outrages, including an antisemitic response to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in which a columnist (who later apologized) blasted Israel for the “obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives.”
In fact, the high number of Palestinian terrorists exchanged for a single innocent Israel soldier had been at the insistence of the terror group Hamas, not the Israeli government.
Even more outrageously, the Guardian‘s bias in Middle East coverage seeped into its coverage of local events. In reporting on the riots that consumed several cities across the UK last summer, for example, the newspaper avoided mentioning the ethnicity of the rioters, except to mention that several religious Jews had “gathered to watch and jeer at police.”
The Guardian is admired by reporters worldwide, and sets the editorial tone for journalists across the English-speaking media. Therefore, its receipt of the Dishonest Reporting Award is particularly noteworthy. And so, too, is the example that HonestReporting has set for those who wish to stand up to media bias in the free world, wherever it occurs and on whatever subject.