Thursday, November 17, 2005

A small skirmish in the media wars

Danish national public TV station DR has been known as a leftwing stronghold for more than three decades. They have normally stonewalled all critique, but after they got a new boss a couple months ago, things seem to begin changing for the better. To begin with, in the first interview he gave, he acknowledge the obvious: that DR had a slanted coverage, and that it needed correcting.

An example of the weakening resolve: This morning, DR´s text-television and news website carried a story about anti-semitism in Great Britain, that ended as follows (my translation):

A report from this year shows a rise of more than 50 per cent in the number of violent attacks on Jews i 2004. In all, 532 incidents were registered.

A fifth of the attacks were perpetrated by persons from the far right.

Of course, the singling out of "a fifth" invites to speculation about the other four fifths, and I made a mental note to investigate when I got home later in the day. Danish blogger Kim Moeller from Uriasposten beat me to it, and dug up the following from the report in question:

“The Middle East factor

Antisemitic incident levels have risen steadily since the start of the second Palestinian Intifada in October 2000. The 2004 total of 532 incidents is more than double that of 1999 - the last year before the Intifada broke out. As overall incident levels have risen, so has the proportion of incidents that are rooted in hatred for Israel and Zionism, rather than incidents that originate in the racial prejudice commonly associated with the far right. Of the 532 incidents, 124 showed clear anti-Zionist motivation, compared to 84 that were motivated by far right sentiments or ideology. There were 114 incidents involved specific reference to Israel or the Middle East; in 23 incidents “Zionism” or “Zionist” were invoked as terms of abuse while 21 involved mention of the Iraq war. The number of antisemitic incidents perpetrated in Britain fluctuates in response to events in the Middle East. This was illustrated most dramatically in March 2004, when there were 100 incidents recorded by the CST - the second-highest monthly total on record. These incidents were largely a response to the assassination by Israel of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas. In the 48 hours following Sheikh Yassin’s assassination on 22 March, the CST recorded 54 antisemitic incidents - more than has ever previously occurred in the entire month of March.”

At the same time, he sent the following mail to DR:

For whom it may concern,

You have to change the articles on DR Text and DR Online about the development of anti-semitism in England. The Internet presents an opportunity to test your information, so you have to make your propaganda more subtle.

Yours, Kim Moeller, Aarhus

Explanatory link:

Leftwing media resolve apparently not being what it used to, by early evening, the articles on both DR Text and DR Online had been changed. DR Text merely had the reference to rightwingers removed, without mentioning the preponderance of islamist perpetrators in anti-semitic incidents (changed part in bold):

A report from this year shows a rise of more than 50 per cent in the number of violent assaults on Jews in 2004. In all, 532 incidents were registered.

The report includes among others assault on persons and Jewish burial grounds, offensive anonymous emails and telephone calls.

The new DR Online version, on the other hand, is true to reality (my translation):

The authors of the report think, that a direct correlation between the situation in the Middle East between Israel and the palestinians, and the anti-Jewish incidents, is obvious. According to the report, only 84 of the incidents were motivated by the traditional racist and ideological views on the extreme rightwing.

A small skirmish in the medie wars, and a win for the good guys.



Blogger Renwaa said...

Excellent! As an American who lived in Aarhus the the last 3 yrs (although have left the country in July), DR was almost unbearable to watch with the anti-American/one-sided programs/documentaries alone. Even my Danish husband said "If you watch DR for your news, your are Red". I found that funny and intolerable considering the amount of money we paid for the idiotic tv license. Damn you guys tax the living crap out of everything there......

12:24 PM  

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