Last Thursday, the seniors participated in a presentation by Matthew Ackerman of The David Project on Israel and the Media. The dual goal of the program was to demonstrate how even reporting "the facts" is often colored by the reporter's pre-existing agenda and that a noticeable anti-Israel bias does exist in certain media outlets.
Mr. Ackerman pointed out that one powerful technique that various news stories employ is the framing of a story. Framing refers to which aspects of the story the journalist chooses to highlight and accentuate while relevant details or context are often left out, giving an otherwise factual report a particular spin. Another method used is priming, that is, reporting repeatedly about one event. If a story is given a disproportionate amount of coverage, it can impact the general perception of the events it is describing. Mr. Ackerman then empowered the students by telling them ways that they can impact the news: by either writing letters and op-ed pieces, using social networking sites to spread articles they feel are unbiased, or simply by not supporting news organizations that they feel are unjust in their coverage.
At the conclusion of the program, Rabbi Sher, our AISAC advisor, stressed that the techniques displayed in the presentation can be used to detect traces of bias in all forms of media, on both the right and the left, and that students can now employ these techniques to uncover the slants inherent to media and hopefully arrive at some form of the truth.