Monday, May 18, 2009

5/16/09: Telling half-truths about Netenyahu approval rating

As you read this, keep in mind Ms. Huffington's claim that HuffPost is a "nonpartisan" source of news, and her admonition that, "A lot of the discontent with traditional journalism is because too many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned."

Previously: 5/13/09: (Kennedy-esque) Obama "warns" (sinister-looking) Netenyahu; predictable Israel-hatred ensues (with approval!!!)

Fresh on the heels of this Huff-Watch exclusive, regarding HuffPost's efforts to make Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu look sinister/docile via careful photo-selection and -cropping, along comes this "news" item, which HuffPost published on May 14:
"Half Of Israelis Unhappy With Netenyahu: Poll"

Wow, that sounds pretty bad, especially given that this story was published just two days before Netenyahu arrives in Washington, for what is anticipated to be a tense meeting with President Obama.

Given the fact that only about 99.9% of HuffPost's stories concerning Israel focus exclusively on its foreign relations, national security, military conflicts, etc., one might have automatically assumed that via this headline, the poll concerned these matters.

That person would be wrong.

So, what do those numbers in that poll actually refer to?
Following the headline to the HuffPost story excerpt, it reads:
"Half of Israeli voters are unhappy with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he agreed [sic] tax hikes and spending cuts in a two-year budget, according to a poll on Channel 10 network on Thursday."

[Note: The blurb then links to this story from AFP.]

So, the poll HuffPost cites refers to Netenyahu's actions regarding taxes and spending --- and not his stance on national security, etc.

Granted, AFP, with its notorious anti-Israel bias (more here, here, here, elsewhere), used the same headline. But HuffPost is a news aggregator that picks and chooses its story sources, and claims that it "is covering news in a 21st-century kind of way," and represents "new ideas about balance and fairness." (More here)

But wait, it gets worse. Wasn't there another public opinion poll on Netenyahu released this week by Haaretz, the left-wing source that HuffPost often relies on for Israeli "news"?

Why yes... there was.

In the Haaretz survey --- which HuffPost regularly uses as a source for its Israel-focused stories, but chose not to cite for this one --- the
poll measured responses to the question of how Israelis view Netenyahu as compared to his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, in general. And what were the findings?
  • 31% say Netenyahu is a better Prime Minister than Ehud Olmert

  • 27% say he's about the same as Olmert

  • 28% say he is worse than Olmert

  • 14% had no opinion

So, in fact, according to the Ha'aretz poll, more Israelis voiced their approval of Netanyahu than those who disapprove of him.

Yet the HuffPost headline claims that "Half of Israelis are unhappy" with Netenyahu. Not, "Half of Israelis unhappy with Netenyahu over taxes, spending," which we contend any honest first-year student at an honest journalism school would determine to be the fair way to "headline" this story.

Why would HuffPost commit such a breach of basic journalistic ethics? Why would it use such a headline, which could only serve to mislead its readers? And why would it do this only two days before Netanyahu was to arrive in Washington, for discussions with President Obama? Only HuffPost can answer those questions. Perhaps one day, someone in a position of influence will request that it do so.

As for Huff-Watch, the only answer we can arrive at is that aside from continuing its malicious anti-Netanyahu bias, HuffPost sought to falsely depict the perception of his popularity in Israel, and thus, subvert his discussions with Obama (who is one of the only three people in the world that Ms. Huffington acknowledges text-messaging).

So, what kinds of comments did HuffPost's blaring of headlines containing what any reasonable person half-truths regarding Netenyahu foment?

Keep in mind that HuffPost (supposedly) prohibits "off-topic" comments, and those containing ethnic slurs, ad hominem attacks, etc. --- and that in this case, the (actual) "topic" is:
Israelis' views on Netenyahu's handling of government tax and spending measures.

The following is but a sampling of the 27 comments that HuffPost reviewed, approved and published on this thread (PDF available for verification):
betz55 I'm a Fan of betz55 permalink
Of course they are unhappy. The Likud branch of the Israeli governmant and the radical, Jewish settlers of the West Bank are the embodiment of fervent, militant crusaders against equal rights. No greater evidence of Israel's messianic zeal exist than the fact that their very existence exemplifies an irrational belief in national and ethnic superiority.
Peres and Bibi, are prostituting themselves to hang on to power are the two most reprehensible characters [...]
No one is destroying Israel except Israel.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:51 PM on 05/14/2009

(reply to above)
Macready I'm a Fan of Macready permalink
you are so right betz55 . . israel is destroying itself . . . I just don't want it to take the rest of us along .. .
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 05:06 AM on 05/15/2009

betz55 I'm a Fan of betz55 permalink
[...] The vast majority of Jews in America COMPLETELY reject the insane neocon approach to the Middle East that Bibi and his Moldavian thug of an FM espouse. [...]
If Israel actually bombs Iran, right-wing Jews in America and Israel will finally feel the full wrath of the American masses, who will know whom to blame for their $10 or $12 gas at the pump, as well as the total implosion of the world economy [...] they will continue to be allowed to lay waste to every international law and convention without criticism and their "enemies" are not entitled to raise a hand in their own defense.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:09 PM on 05/15/2009

jmundstuk I'm a Fan of jmundstuk permalink
Half of Israelis are unhappy about everything.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 01:49 PM on 05/15/2009

(reply to above)
skialethia I'm a Fan of skialethia permalink
They should like in know what misery really looks like.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:13 PM on 05/15/200


Also see:
9/24/09: HuffPost's blackout of Netanyahu's blockbuster speech at the U.N.
On September 23, there were two notable speeches at the U.N. Israeli PM Netanyahu gave a passionate, fact-based, point-by-point rebuttal to the most egregious libels to which the State of Israel, its military, and the Jewish people in general, have been subjected in recent years. Libyan dictator and madman Moammar Gaddafi gave a 95-minute rant. Guess which speech HuffPost put near the top of its front page, and asked whether it contained "valid points" --- and which it refused to even acknowledge the existence of? Need you ask?


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