mideast map

Media and the Middle East

Where do you get your news about the Middle East?

It’s an important question. Most of the media reporting on Israel and the Middle East have a definite anti-Israel slant. Even very respectable news organizations have been sloppy or downright biased in their reporting.

For instance, a week ago the New York Times printed an article that cast considerable doubt that the Temple had ever stood on the Temple Mount. It noted that this is a “politically loaded question.” Then it proceeded to present the information in a politically slanted way. For a look at the problems with the original article, I recommend The New York Times Goes Truther on the Temple Mount in Tablet Magazine.

Last year the Atlantic printed an article by AP reporter Matti Friedman, What the Media Gets Wrong about Israel. In it he talks about the reasons for the reporting, and why “the pipeline of information from Israel is not just rusty and leaking, but intentionally plugged.” In another example, he notes that “the construction of 100 apartments in a Jewish settlement is always news; the smuggling of 100 rockets into Gaza by Hamas is, with rare exceptions, not news at all.”

So where do I get my news about Israel? Here are some (free) outlets that I follow:

The Times of Israel – A Jerusalem-based English language online newspaper. The founding editor is UK-born Israeli journalist David Horowitz.

The Mideast Reporter – Here’s how they describe themselves: “an independent nonprofit news organization with an ambitious purpose: to improve the standards of journalism on the Israeli-Palestinian and other Middle East conflicts, and a variety of related topics. Among them are Iran; the financing of global terrorism; Islamic extremism; and the boycott-Israel movement. We will accomplish our mission by producing groundbreaking investigative journalism on significant subjects that do not receive adequate attention, and by critiquing articles and broadcast segments that fail to meet professional standards.

The Jerusalem Post – The venerable JPost is a bit more political than the Times of Israel or the Mideast Reporter.  It has a distinct right-wing bent. However, for quick information about what’s happening, particularly in a crisis, it offers solid and local information.

Al Jazeera America – Just from the name and the logo, it’s clear that this is not an Israeli organization. My reason for choosing them as my non-Israeli source for news is that I know and trust John Michael Seigenthaler, their American news anchor. Al Jazeera America (as distinct from Al Jazeera) does its reporting with journalistic ethics.  I care about hearing both sides of every story – I just insist that the telling come from a place of journalism, not jingoism.

I also subscribe to Haaretz.com, but it is behind a paywall. If you are serious about following Israeli news, you should consider a subscription.

Where do you get your news about the Middle East? How do you decide whom to trust?

Published by


Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

9 thoughts on “Media and the Middle East”

  1. Thank you so much for this list! I end up watching the news on TV and whether it’s NBC or PBS, the tendency to compare numbers of wounded without identifying which side was the asgressor, has been getting on my nerves.

    1. I lost my taste for a lot of TV news when the Loma Prieta earthquake happened here in 1989. CNN particularly seemed to look for the scariest visuals they could find and then run them over and over, giving the impression that every person in the greater Bay Area was dead or dying. They terrified my relatives back East and the “news” they conveyed was sensational and largely useless. Now, since the advent of Photoshop, still images are a different set of problems. Words used with journalistic principles are more trustworthy, in my opinion.

    1. Yes, the “Beeb” is a disappointment. I used to listen to BBC World Service by shortwave (back before the Internet killed much of SW) and used to be a big fan. Not any more.

  2. I’ve come to realize all of my news has to come from multiple sources before I can form my own opinion. I don’t believe a well informed citizen can rely on any one news source any longer. It particularly alarms me when someone tells me they only listen to FOX news. I mean THAT really scares me. Even when reporting on non-world events, they report on medical issues that are misrepresented over and over and so many other issues. Thanks for bringing this issues about news reporting being so important.

    1. I agree, a thinking person should not just listen to one source, whether it’s FOX or NPR or NBC or BBC. If I only hear a story from one source, then I’m at the mercy of whatever bias that reporter (or the editor) has going.

Leave a Reply