Bias and propaganda at Reuters

Honest Reporting points us to an important review here of bias and propaganda by the largest multimedia purveyor of media information – Thomson Reuters.

“Researcher Henry Silverman of Roosevelt University analyzed a sample of fifty news-oriented articles published on the websites for the use of classic propaganda techniques, logical fallacies and violations of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, a manual of guiding ethical principles for the company’s journalists. Across the articles, over 1,100 occurrences of propaganda, fallacies and handbook violations in 41 categories were identified and classified.

In the second part of the study, a group of thirty-three university students were surveyed, before and after reading the articles, to assess their attitudes and motivation to support one or the other belligerent parties in the Middle East conflict, i.e., the Palestinians/Arabs or the Israelis. The study found that on average, subject sentiment shifted significantly following the readings in favor of the Arabs and that this shift was associated with particular propaganda techniques and logical fallacies appearing in the stories.”

The article provides a link to the PDF of the research.

The readers comments are worthwhile e.g. “The news media is uninterested in the truth. Their main interest is in staying alive. They are unable to produce any truthful accusations or reporting from the islamic world for fear of beatings, rape, murder, or the very least , being deported, if they are lucky.
The oil rich regimes pay regularly billions of dollars per year (Saudi is the main problem in sending monies to it’s embassies around the world for the losers to convert to Islam, to force countries to destabilise, deligitimse, divest, embargo and boycott the state of Israel. Oil revenues make worthwhile back handers, advertising revenues etc. Now what was the question?”

When I hear Thomson Reuters, it makes me think of Thomson and Thompson in the Adventures of Tintin.  As stated in Wikipedia Thomson and Thompson are detectives of Scotland Yard, and are as incompetent as they are necessary comic relief. While the two are apparently not related as they have different surnames, they are twice referred to as twins or brothers in the original language version of the series. In any case, the two detectives look like identical twins and can only be told apart by the shape of their moustaches (Thomson’s moustache flares out a tiny bit on each side at the bottom). They are afflicted with spoonerism, are extremely clumsy, incompetent, and usually bent on arresting the wrong character. In spite of this, they somehow get entrusted with delicate missions.”   Now doesn’t that sound familiar, except for the harm Thomson and Reuters do!  (and of course the sad reality that the original Reuters was a German Jew.)

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2 thoughts on “Bias and propaganda at Reuters

  1. Thanks for posting this item. I read through most of the report, and just wonder if it will do any good anywhere.
    The reasons for the bias at Reuters are many.
    Will the report cause Reuters such embarrassment that it feels a reason to change?
    Or CNN or anyone else?
    Please let us know if there are any positive developments.

  2. theozizion March 9, 2012 at 11:29 am - Author

    Thanks for your comment Ruth, and for posing the question “Will the report do any good”.
    Will someone in Reuters be shamed? Will one of the Reuters board members be disgusted and insist on changes? Will the report provide a boost to supporters of Israel by helping them better understand? Hard to know, but hopefully all will result.