By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
I’m not one of those people who buys into the “media hates Israel” exaggeration usually. But sometimes an error is so egregious that it seems it can only be the result of extreme editorial and reporting bias. The Guardian recently ran a major expose on health care around the world. In the 3,000 word article it profiles countries around the world. It confined its analysis to: “We compare the systems in some of the world’s leading countries for healthcare.” The article was based on OECD health statistics from 2015. There are 34 countries in the OECD.
Whoever designed the data for the article included graphs relating to such issues as doctors, healthcare spending, nurses, caesarian, antibiotics consumption, hospital length of stay and hospital discharges. Thirteen countries appeared in most of the graphs.
France, Ireland, Sweden, China, Israel, US, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Australia and the UK.
Then the article includes descriptions of health care in each of these countries….except one. Israel. Israel interestingly didn’t rank badly compared to all these other countries. It wasn’t stellar in any one category, but it wasn’t the worst. That’s because Israel’s health care system actually works pretty well.
But for the authors of the short several hundred word descriptions of the state of health care in each country, for some reason there was no description of Israel.
Why was that? Why include Israel in the graphs but have it be the sole country that didn’t receive a description? It’s true that other OECD countries didn’t receive a description, but they were not on the graphs either. Obviously someone felt it important enough to graph Israel, but then someone else decided it wasn’t worth writing about.
Why was that? Just forgot? Just a mistake, right? Or perhaps Israel isn’t included because that might require informing readers that Israel has a decent health care system? The UK has a notoriously vigorous anti-Israel crowd. Some of the opposition to Israel is understandable politically. If you wanted to write about countries with the best record on civil rights, probably Israel wouldn’t be on your list. But you’re writing about health care. It’s like deciding you’ll write about art or music and wherever Israel scores well, just ignore it, because mentioning it’s successes, rather than just the negatives of the conflict, doesn’t fit the “narrative”?
So if you’re going to go to the trouble of ranking Israel on a graph alongside a dozen other countries, don’t have detailed analysis of all those countries except Israel.
if the journalists could have used the reference to somehow denounce Israel for inequality in access, believe me, they would have.