Friday, January 29, 2021

Media bias illustrated: AP's "Israeli settler population surged during Trump era" (No, it didn't.)

AP published an article about Jewish population growth in Judea and Samaria that twists statistics to make a point that is not at all supported by the data.

As is often the case with the mainstream media, the facts are there - but skillfully hidden to make the reader believe something other than the truth.


Report: Israeli settler population surged during Trump era

Usually the word "surge" would mean that the numbers increased more dramatically than previously. As we will see, this is the opposite of what happened.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s West Bank settler population has grown at a far higher rate than the country as a whole over the last four years, a pro-settler group said Wednesday, a period that coincides with the Trump administration’s unprecedented acceptance of settlement activity.

This lede is already different from the headline. It is saying that settler population is growing faster than Israel's, but not faster than its own growth before Trump. 

The question is - is this unusual? Has anything changed? What does Trump have to do with it? 

The report by West Bank Jewish Population Stats shows the settler population growing by around 13% since the start of 2017 to reach 475,481. During the same period, Israel’s population grew by around 8% to reach nearly 9.3 million, according to the government.

The group’s report, which is based on official government data, does not include annexed east Jerusalem, home to more than 200,000 settlers.

Note that the AP report specifically mentions 2017 as the starting point of its analysis. Yet if you download the actual report (which is woefully lacking in historical data,) it only mentions the previous 5 year period, not 4.

AP went out of its way to tie Jewish population growth to Trump when the report doesn't even mention his name.

Is this amount of growth, 13% over four years, exceptional?

Using B'Tselem's statistics and excluding Jerusalem as this report did, this is the slowest growth by far of the last five presidential terms!

Does this look like a "surge" to you?

One more thing: AP wrote essentially the same report in 2019.

This is pure bias driving the news.