Oregonian Biases Covering the Palestine / Israel conflict
Download the full report here: www.auphr.org/docs/Oregonian_Report_04072005.pdf (Updated Version)
For the report in Arabic: www.auphr.org/docs/OregonianCoverageArabic.pdf
PMWATCH - March 14, 2005 -- A three-way collaborative effort between Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights -- www.auphr.org -- Palestine Media Watch -- www.pmwatch.org -- and If Americans Knew -- www.ifamericansknew.org -- has produced a new report focusing on the news coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by The Oregonian -- www.oregonlive.com/news
The report details the findings on The Oregonian's news coverage of the conflict between May 1, 2004 and October 30, 2004.
The Oregonian's coverage was found to display clear double standards when it comes to reporting Palestinian deaths compared with Israeli deaths. The likelihood of a death receiving headline coverage clearly depended on the nationality of the person killed.
Analysis of The Oregonian news articles showed that 100% of all Israeli deaths were reported during the period of this analysis, and in many cases were reported more than once.
By contrast, only 61% of all Palestinian deaths were reported.
The Oregonian significantly under-reports Palestinian deaths compared to Israeli deaths
These graphs shows that that 502 Palestinians and 54 Israelis were killed during the study period according to B'Tselem. Of these 120% of all Israeli deaths and 66% of all Palestinian deaths were headlined in The Oregonian.
Even more disturbing was the coverage of children's deaths, with only 28% of Palestinian children's deaths receiving any coverage by the Oregonian, compared with 100% coverage for Israeli children.
The Oregonian dramatically under-reports the death of Palestinian children
These graphs shows that that 116 Palestinian children and 7 Israeli children were killed during the study period according to B'Tselem. Of these 88% of all Israeli deaths and only 2% of all Palestinian deaths were headlined in The Oregonian.
According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B'Tselem -- www.btselem.org -- a total of 54 Israelis and 502 Palestinians were killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories during this period. For the full report, please see: www.auphr.org/docs/Oregonian_Report_04072005.pdf (Updated Version)
The Newspaper Association of America ranks The Oregonian 20th among the daily papers in the United States, with a daily circulation of 337,707.
Please spare a moment to share your thoughts on these findings withe Oregonian. A quick phone call to the Oregonian, or even a small letter, from you expressing your views on these findings will help a great deal in our struggle, one battle at a time, for more humane and more informative coverage of the conflict.
You can share your feedback with The Oregonian via: Telephone: (503) 221-8434
Please do feel free to share with us your letters or a summary of your conversation with the Oregonian at
Palestine Media Watch (866) DIAL-PMW
Executive Summary of Report
This six-month study consists of a statistical examination of The Oregonian's news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from May 2004 through October 2004. The categories examined were coverage of deaths in general, particularly children's deaths. We chose criteria for measuring accuracy that would be universally acknowledged as significant, could not be construed as subjective, and could be independently verified. For our control numbers we used The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem). B'Tselem monitors human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip (http://www.btselem.org).
Our findings indicate The Oregonian could improve the accuracy of their news reporting. We found a disparity in the likelihood of a death receiving headline coverage based on the nationality of the person killed. This discrepancy was even more pronounced in The Oregonian's coverage of the killing of children. The same pattern was seen in the body of the articles.
During the study period of May 2004 through October 2004, B'Tselem found a total of 54 Israelis were killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Of these, 57 % were soldiers, 29% were adult civilians and 14% were children. In the same period, a total of 502 Palestinians were killed in the occupied Palestinian territories. Of these, 43% were combatants, 34% were adult civilians, and 23% were children (B'Tselem). Overall, during the period over 10 times more Palestinians were killed than Israelis. Palestinian children were killed at a rate 15 times that of Israeli children. Analysis of The Oregonian news articles indicate that 100% of all Israelis deaths were reported and 120% were highlighted in news headlines. (Results over 100% indicate that individual deaths were reported multiple times.) By contrast, 61% of all Palestinian deaths were reported in news articles and 66% in news headlines.
When looking at the coverage of children's deaths, The Oregonian reported 100% of Israeli children's deaths in news articles and 100% in news headlines, while 28% of Palestinian children's deaths received coverage in news articles and 2% received headlines. In The Oregonian's cumulative totals of those killed from May 2004 through October 2004, only 4 of 130 news stories contained cumulative totals of deaths on both sides somewhere in the article.
We are providing this report to The Oregonian to raise editor awareness of inaccuracies in coverage of the news. We are also providing this study to the public to help them evaluate The Oregonian as a source for understanding the Israel/Palestine conflict.