Here are some facts: there has been a dramatic increase in negative coverage of Israel in the New York Times since the November election, and the paper’s coverage of Israel was mostly negative under the former government as well. The Times also failed to cover terror organizations’ activity during 2022 which saw a peak in terrorism. And the Times published 20 negative op-eds about Israel in 2022, compared to only 13 about Iran – during the year that saw Iranian government forces massacring and hanging protesters.
“After the Ben & Jerry’s saga, I decided to commit to following NYT coverage of Israel for one whole year,” said Israeli author and Ma’ariv journalist Lilac Sigan, who monitored the daily coverage of Israel in The New York Times throughout the year 2022, with leading International Communication and Public Diplomacy expert Professor Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University.
“What I found was gloomy and disturbing,” Sigan said. “Apart from the immediate impact on the image and status of Israel, the coverage continuously distorts the reality in Israel and the region, in a way that affixes a false perception for future generations. This impacts Israel’s ties with large parts of the American public, especially with American Jews. The reader receives only partial facts from the news outlet, which paints a dark and monochromatic picture. This is disturbing, distorting, and dangerous.”
The research focused on the way a leading and influential international media outlet portrays Israel, especially during a year in which a diverse and liberal government was in place – one which included an Arab-Israeli party for the first time in history.
The results of the unique study, which analyzes patterns of both coverage and omissions of information, show a clear anti-Israeli bias in the New York Times on both levels. The report points to the 53% negative coverage of Israel throughout the year, and also to the consistent omission of information regarding threats that Israel faced.
Sigan approached the newspaper with the research summary for publication, but it declined to publish an opinion piece explaining the study and main findings.
The New York Times, which has a print circulation of around 750,000 in the US, and 8.6 million paid subscribers to its digital edition platform in addition to millions more readers online and in print, is one of the twenty most popular in the world.
Sigan selected The New York Times because, in her words, it is ‘the most important news outlet in the world, with a long-standing reputation for professionalism. That’s why the findings are so disturbing.’ 2022 was a year of particularly heavy coverage of Israel within its pages, while terror and threats that Israel faces were neglected.
Among the report’s findings:
- Terrorist organizations did not receive adequate coverage: Hezbollah was mentioned in only 4 headlines throughout the year (of which 1 was negative), and Hamas in 2 headlines (of which 1 was negative).
- The proportions are even worse when it comes to opinion and politics: 20 negative opinion articles were directed against Israel from January 2022 until today, compared to 13 articles against Iran, where the nuclear project is thriving and massive human rights protests broke out in the past year.
- From January through October Israel received 51% negative coverage. In the months of November-December (since the elections but before the formation of the new government), a sharp increase was recorded: 68% of the coverage of Israel was negative.
- National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir was referred to 20 times along with the word “terrorist” in 2022. However, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar had only 2 such references, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah not even one.
The study results are being published in parallel with ADL reports that show that the number of Americans holding antisemitic beliefs has doubled since 2019; with Jewish Agency reports that show a 50% rise in antisemitic incidents on American university campuses since the beginning of the academic year; and the Jewish Federation surveys that show antisemitic violence has stabilized on the peak figures of 2021.