Guardian coverage of Carmel forest fire (a comparison)

A H/T for this post goes to Israelinurse

Considering that Israel hosts the highest density of foreign correspondents per capita in the world, which results in a magnified media spotlight upon events which take place throughout the country, not least upon the pages of the Guardian, one may have anticipated somewhat more thorough coverage of the disastrous Carmel fire.

To date, CiF’s Israel page has hosted three articles (two of which were AP dispatches) and one photograph gallery of the event.

Harriet Sherwood ignored the fire altogether (while it was still raging), but still managed to file a report on Israeli racism in Safed (Tsfat) while the blaze was still engulfing Northern Israel, and found the time to write two stories on shark attacks (yes, shark attacks) in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

However, it seems that Sherwood has returned to Israel, filing a report today that ostensibly was about the aftermath of the deadly fire, but, as she seems simply unable to cast Israelis in a sympathetic light, still managed to take two swipes at the Jewish state – both at the expense of the Orthodox community, who the Guardian so loves to vilify.

By way of comparison, during the terrible bushfires in Victoria, Australia in February 2009 in which 173 people died, 414 were injured and 7,562 displaced from their homes, CiF published 27 articles on the subject in the first four days of the event.

Taking into account that Australia’s population is more than three times larger than that of Israel, the 41 dead and 17,000 displaced persons in the Mount Carmel fire make current events in Israel a national disaster on a comparable scale.

Absent from the current CiF coverage of the event is any aspect of the individual stories of those Israelis affected by the fire, in contrast to the kind of articles run during the Australian disaster. Also not covered is any reporting on the damage to the environment and wildlife, again in contrast to the reporting of the similar event in Victoria.

Could it be that the Guardian editors are reluctant to run stories about events which do not fit in with the usual theme of ‘Israelis behaving badly’? (See Akus’s piece, back in early June, on the Guardian’s obsessive coverage of the flotilla incident for another example of this bias)

Here’s the visual of the Guardian’s coverage of the Australian fires, which is followed by a visual their coverage of the Carmel fire.

Now, here’s the Guardian’s coverage of the Carmel fire in Israel.  (Stories regarding the fire are outlined in red)

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