OpinionMeister

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

European Coverage of Iraq Election

The European edition of The Wall Street Journal has an editorial comparing the coverage of the Iraqi election in Europe and in the Arab world. The Arab coverage was much more positive. Link. (Subscription required)

Media-Tenor, a media analysis center headquartered in Bonn, Germany, studied the Iraq election coverage of 41 main European media outlets in Germany, France, the U.K., Spain and Italy between Jan. 17 and Jan. 26. The analysis compared this with 12 leading Arab TV stations and newspapers. Specifically, the researchers looked at how the journalists presented the legitimacy of the elections. The results "even stunned our Arab researchers," Markus Rettich, director of political studies at Media Tenor, told us.

"European media portray a dramatic picture ahead of the elections in Iraq. The legitimacy of the election is strongly questioned. Almost no positive Iraqi sources are quoted," Media Tenor writes.

The Arab media, on the other hand, "make significantly fewer skeptical statements regarding the legitimacy of the elections in Iraq. In contrast to the Europeans, the Arab coverage quotes more Iraqi sources. As far as legitimacy is concerned, Al Jazeera & Co. seem to be reporting about a different election," Media Tenor concludes.

During the observation period, ambivalence or outright negative reporting about the legitimacy of the election always topped at least 60% of the European coverage. In the Arab media, positive reporting about the legitimacy usually topped 60% and sometimes was even 100%.

In Germany, the coverage appeared particularly biased. Nearly 80% of the reports regarding the legitimacy was negative in the coverage of ARD and ZDF, the two main state-funded broadcasters, which produce the "most-trusted" news shows. "The trend of the reports from ARD and ZDF correspond to the extremely one-sided pattern of reporting that we have observed since [Chancellor Gerhard] Schröder's change of his U.S. policy in the final phase of the 2002 German general elections,"

The European media are even more suicidal than their American counterpart. While European police forces and legal systems have woken up to the threat of Islamic terrorism, the Left, which largely controls the media, is too anti-American to recognize any other threat. Their fear of "cultural imperialism", i.e., McDonald's, pushes from their minds any fears of dirty bombs or poison gas. After all, the Islamofascists is fighting against America. Therefore, they must be good guys.

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