Though it isn’t easy to empirically measure how the Guardian’s coverage of Israel has changed over the years (in a qualitative sense), one quantitative metric we’ve used relates to the volume of Israel related news reports and commentaries published by the media group.
Though in 2011 and 2012 we revealed the disproportionate degree of Israel related coverage at the Guardian and its blog ‘Comment is Free’ in comparison to their coverage of other countries, we thought it would be interesting this year to isolate just their Israel related commentaries, and see how the output has changed since 2010, the first full year of this blog’s operation.
The results are interesting, and consistent with our sense that their institutional obsession with Israel, for any number of reasons, has decreased in some respects.
- In 2010 there were 143 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 289 for the entire year.
- In 2011, there were 92 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 168 for the entire year.
- In 2012, there were 61 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 143 for the entire year.
- In 2013, there were 54 Israel related commentaries in the first six months, and 100 for the entire year.
- In 2014, there have been 35 Israel related commentaries through June 26th (with a projection of 70 to 75 for the entire year if current trends continue).
Whilst this analysis doesn’t include straight news reports (and other Israel related content which does NOT appear at ‘Comment is Free’), it’s clear that Israel related commentaries decreased quite dramatically over the last four years.
Also of interest is the fact that some of the Guardian’s favorite Israel bashers (commentators who we’ve posted about continually) have been published far less frequently, or have disappeared completely – reflecting a slight improvement (and we use these words cautiously) in their overall output on issues concerning Jews and Israel.
Rachel Shabi, an anti-Zionist Jew who once was a frequent contributor, hasn’t published a commentary about Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ since August 2013
Antony Lerman, another anti-Zionist Jew, hasn’t published a commentary at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2012.
Seth Freedman has largely been silent on the topic of Israel at ‘Comment is Free’ for the past two years, save one quirky piece in August 2013.
Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah (once a frequent contributor) has had only one commentary published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.
Richard (faux ‘scoop’) Silverstein (also once a frequent contributor) has been ‘silenced‘ by the Guardian, and has had only one commentary which deals with Israel published at ‘Comment is Free’ since 2009.
And, finally, Ben White, the notorious Israel hater who can understand why people would be antisemitic given Israeli behavior, and who once appeared at ‘Comment is Free’ several times a year, hasn’t been heard from since September 2012.
Though we are not shy about taking credit for Guardian corrections prompted by our correspondence with their editors, the cause of the decrease in Israel related commentaries – and the disappearance of some of their long time anti-Zionist contributors – is more opaque, and may involve editorial decisions (clearly influenced to some degree by the work of this blog) at the Guardian that we’re naturally not privy to.
Additionally, the impact – to the editorial process at ‘Comment is Free’ – of the recent promotion of Jonathan Freedland (one of their more sober commentators) to the position of executive editor will not be clear for some time.
Finally, whilst the Guardian is still the most anti-Israel media group in the UK, it is nonetheless important to note such changes in their reporting and editorial decision-making, and recognize even modest improvements in their coverage of Israel and the larger region.
- Guardian legitimizes claim that Jews are responsible for European antisemitism (cifwatch.com)
- The Richard Silverstein page at Israellycool (Israellycool)