A study released last month by 416Labs, a Toronto-based consulting and research firm, supports the view that mainstream U.S. newspapers consistently portray Palestine in a more negative light than Israel, privilege Israeli sources, and omit key facts helpful to understanding the Israeli occupation, including those expressed by Palestinian sources.
The largest of its kind, the study is based on a sentiment and n-gram analysis of nearly a hundred thousand headlines in five mainstream newspapers dating to 1967. The newspapers are the top five U.S. dailies, The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.
Headlines spanning five decades were put into two datasets, one comprising 17,492 Palestinian-centric headlines, and another comprising 82,102 Israeli-centric headlines. Using Natural Language Processing techniques, authors of the study assessed the degree to which the sentiment of the headlines could be classified as positive, negative, or neutral. They also examined the frequency of using certain words that evoke a particular view or perception.
Key findings of the study are: