Thursday, January 19, 2012

Omertà, Mainstream Media-Style: The Oath of Silence When It Comes to Unfavorable News About Israel

On Jan. 11, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Economist Intelligence Unit released the results of a study of the security precautions taken by the 32 countries that possess nuclear materials able to fuel atomic bombs.

Later that morning, the New York Times Web site featured—briefly—a story on the study’s findings. The story appeared on page A6 of the next day’s print edition.

Noted reporter William J. Broad: “The study is full of surprises and potential embarrassments: for instance, Australia takes first place in nuclear security and Japan comes in at No. 23, behind nations like Kazakhstan and South Africa.

“The United States? It ties for 13th place with Belgium. Last place goes to North Korea,” Broad continued. Britain, with a security score of 79 out of a possible 100, came in top among “the nine countries known to possess nuclear arms.” The U.S. scored 78, Japan 68, Iran 46, Pakistan 41, and North Korea 37. (The lower the security score, the fewer precautions each country has in place.)

A New York Times reader wanting to know where Israel ranks, however, was out of luck. Not a word about the only nuclear-armed country in the volatile Middle East. For that one must go to the report itself—which, of course, we proceeded to do:

Turns out Israel earned a security score of 56, and ranked No. 25—like Japan, “behind nations like Kazakhstan and South Africa.” Moreover, it scored 0 (of 100) in the categories of “control and accounting procedures” and “nuclear security and materials transparency.”

So much for “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

The Washington Report deems it fit to print the ranking and scores of all 32 countries surveyed:

2 Hungary 89
3 Czech Republic 87
4 Switzerland 86
5 Austria 85
6 Netherlands 84
7 Sweden 83
8 Poland 82
9 Norway 81
=10 Canada 79
=10 Germany 79
=10 United Kingdom 79
=13 Belgium 78
=13 United States 78
15 Ukraine 76
=16 Argentina 74
=16 Belarus 74
=16 Italy 74
=19 France 73
=19 Mexico 73
=19 South Africa 73
22 Kazakhstan 71
23 Japan 68
24 Russia 65
25 Israel 56
26 Uzbekistan 55
27 China 52
28 India 49
29 Vietnam 48
30 Iran 46
31 Pakistan 41
32 North Korea 37
“=” denotes a tie among countries. 

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