Knesset subcommittee convenes session on media bias regarding Israel

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A Knesset subcomittee convened a session to discuss bias against Israel in the foreign media, following a controversial headline published by CBS.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Legal Warfare held the session Tuesday, which included the director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Knesset members from multiple parties and Luke Baker, Reuters’ Israel bureau chief and the head of the Foreign Press Association in Israel.

The Feb. 3 CBS headline, which was changed soon after publication, read, “Three Palestinians killed as violence grinds on.” The article refered to the killing of an Israeli policewoman by three Palestinians, who were then killed by Israeli forces. The headline was edited to, “Palestinians kill Israeli officer, wound another before being killed.”

“We must treat the international media arena as a hostile arena,” said Knesset member Tzipi Livni, who chairs the subcommittee, according to a government press release. ”I do not think the State of Israel should not be criticized, that is the media’s job. The problem lies in those cases where Israelis and Palestinians who are killed in the same incident are placed in one package.”

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Baker disavowed any bias and defended the work of foreign journalists in Israel. He said articles go through a “rigorous process” before publication.

“I clearly don’t think the foreign press is biased,” Baker said, according to the press release. ”I don’t think anyone is denying there have been errors, problems from time to time. Sometimes it’s been harder to correct them than others. I fail to see the media has something to answer in terms of systemic bias.”

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