Rebuilding Trust in Media: HonestReporting’s Year in Review

Any constructive conversation about the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a fully informed public. When presented with all the facts, it becomes possible to have an exchange of ideas that brings Israelis and Palestinians together. Yet prominent media outlets around the world all too often fail in their basic duty to present the entire story, free of partisanship, to readers.

This phenomenon not only hurts Israel. The absence of truth, integrity and fairness in journalism hinders people’s ability to accurately comprehend the world around them.

That’s where HonestReporting comes in. Since 2000, we have made it our mission to analyze stories, articles, opinion pieces and images that appear in the media’s coverage of the Jewish state. Our Jerusalem-based editorial team constantly exposes and responds to inaccuracies and bias, all with a view towards combatting ideological prejudice in reporting.

You can read more about our mission here. Below, is a brief overview of our accomplishments in 2021 — and a sneak peek of what’s ahead in the coming year.

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Over the last 12 months, we published some 200 news critiques and 60 educational articles on our completely revamped website, HonestReporting.com, with a combined reach of over 1.6 million unique visitors. In addition, we produced over 70 videos that were viewed millions of times across online platforms.

On social media, we reached new heights, with HonestReporting recently having hit the milestone of 40,000 followers on Twitter. This year, our tweets received no less than 11.8 million impressions. Meanwhile, our Facebook page sports 80,000 supporters. More than 12,500 people have subscribed to our YouTube channel.

And the media are taking note. Recently, a senior official in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office confided in us by saying that one of the things journalists fear the most is being called out by HonestReporting. ​Our constructive criticism in 2021 prompted many corrections from outlets like The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, NBC News and others.

At the same time, we were cited this year as media experts by publications including The Washington Post, The New York Post, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Fox News, Newsweek and others. In total, HonestReporting was directly mentioned some 370 times in English-language media outlets.

Moreover, reporters in Israel, Palestinian-controlled territories, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and even the Indian Ocean island Reunion cited our research. This is a level of credibility and impact that we’ve worked hard to achieve.

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When Hamas in May fired thousands of rockets from Gaza at Israeli population centers while using its own civilians as human shields, a double war crime, we immediately shifted into high gear. During the 11-day conflict, we held journalists to account when they failed to report stories accurately. From May 10 to May 21, HonestReporting published 14 long-form news critiques and ten videos. Our website content garnered hundreds of thousands of views and was seen over 1.5 million times on Twitter.

Concurrently, HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz was interviewed by a variety of international media outlets, even appearing on South African television from a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv due to incoming rocket fire. Our articles and videos on the May hostilities were republished by Algemeiner, United With Israel and Jewish World News. Furthermore, we were cited in publications like The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Jewish News Syndicate and The Jewish Press.

Only two days after the ceasefire, HonestReporting made global waves when we exposed Tala Halawa, a BBC journalist who posted antisemitic statements to social media. Perhaps her most offensive tweet was in July 2014 when she called Israel “more #Nazi than #Hitler” while adding that, “#HitlerWasRight.” Our post about Halawa was retweeted over 2,000 times. Countless media outlets — including The Daily Telegraph, Fox News and The Independent — cited our work on the issue. In response to our campaign, the BBC opened an investigation that ultimately led to Halawa being fired.

In the months that followed, our research team identified four other journalists and media pundits (see here, here, here and here) who either praised Hitler, referred to Jews or Israelis as “Nazis” or expressed direct support for terrorism against Israelis, including contributors to The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC and other news organizations.

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Our proactive approach to combatting media bias included circulating four petitions (see here, here, here and here) that, together, had a measurable impact. For example, after we called on the White House to declassify a report outlining the true number of Palestinians alive today that were displaced during the war in 1948, outgoing US secretary of state Mike Pompeo exposed the truth.

Our in-depth investigative work further catalyzed political change in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Belgium.

In 2022, HonestReporting will continue to use its data-backed approach to explaining the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict. By emphasizing Israel’s concern for human rights and making stark the harmful impact of terror groups on ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, we will engage new audiences: young adults, university students and progressives.

Indeed, an exclusive poll conducted by the Technometrica market research firm has already proved that our unique communication style and framing of issues significantly improved — particularly among the critically important 18-24 cohort — attitudes towards the Jewish state and its citizens.

You can help HonestReporting by subscribing to our IsraBites newsletter; notifying us when you identify anti-Israel bias in the media; circulating our materials through your own channels; or through a donation.

A happy and healthy 2022 from all of us!

Found this article informative? Follow the HonestReporting page on Facebook to read more articles debunking news bias and smears, as well as others explaining Israel’s history, politics, and international affairs. Click here to learn more!

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