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« Disturbing Survey of Palestinian Opinion | Main | U of Florida Cartoonist »

Sunday, October 26 2003

Media Parroting of Official Propaganda: Then and Now

A matter of journalistic ethics with direct relevance to current Mideast coverage:

The New York Times has been told that the Pulitzer prize awarded to one of its correspondents in the Soviet Union 70 years ago should be rescinded because the journalist was not critical enough of Stalinism. The recommendation came from the history professor hired by the paper in response to calls from Ukrainian-Americans for the prize to be revoked. Prof. Mark von Hagen said of the reporter, Walter Duranty: "He really was a kind of disgrace." (The Guardian)

[Here's the Times article on the development, and some excerpts from Duranty's writings from Stalinist Russia.]

Duranty, due to his uncritical repetition of the Soviet regime's specious official statements, failed to report a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33, the infamous purge trials, and the Stalinist terror of 1936-39. "It's absolutely true that the work Duranty did, at least as much of it as I've read, was credulous, uncritical parroting of propaganda," says one present-day Times editor. According to Professor von Hagen's report: "The lack of balance and uncritical acceptance of the Soviet self-justification for its cruel and wasteful regime was a disservice to the American readers of the New York Times and the liberal values they subscribe to and to the historical experience of the peoples of the Russian and Soviet empires and their struggle for a better life."

Hmmmm...."Credulous, uncritical parroting of propaganda"?
Let's recall Jenin, April 2002, widely reported as "a brutal massacre of hundreds" (consistent with Palestinian propagada) before it emerged that no more than 52 died there, the majority armed. Or the ongoing parroting by the media of the official PA line that the present three-year terror campaign began because Ariel Sharon step foot on the Temple Mount. Or the media parroting of terrorist claims to be fighting a mere "uprising for independence." Or the Hamas claim that a hudna (ceasefire) still held while they blew up a Jerusalem bus, but a subsequent IDF action "broke it" -- a claim swallowed whole by the media.

"Uncritical acceptance of...self-justification for its cruel and wasteful regime"?
How about continuous media acceptance of Yassir Arafat's claim to be the "democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people," despite the fact that Arafat has never allowed a real democratic opposition to form, and his term of "election" (from 1996) has long expired? And what about PA financial corruption -- the skimming-off of hundreds of millions of foreign "aid" dollars to personal PA bank accounts, and personal monopolies on Palestinian industry to the detriment of an impoverished Palestinian populace?

"A the peoples of the Soviet empires and their struggle for a better life."
Don't Palestinian children deserve better than to be treated as guinea pigs, encouraged to become suicide bombers, and taken to summer camps that promote genocide?

We've made this point in a number of recent communiques -- the parroting of official PA statements in news reports is not sufficient to achieve media "objectivity." A tragedy of historic proportions -- irresponsible Palestinian leadership -- is occurring under our very eyes, and the media are by and large ignoring it. Hopefully, it won't take 70 years for the Times and others to recognize their error this time around.

UPDATE: New article from JPost: Palestinians Demand Missing PA Money. Contact your local editor to encourage reprinting of this article.



A very good point. "He said" "She said" journalism is the way they try to claim neutrality, but it's also just lazy reporting when the story actually demands alot more.

These are bitterly refreshing.

The Arabs have great imaginations, and they lie, which makes for better stories than that of the Jews, who have facts, but no imagination. If the Jews had pounded on the press and advertised for 54 years about the Jews who were expelled from Araba lands and called them "Iraqi" or "Egyptian Jewish refugess" for as long as the Arabs have fed the press, maybe we would have had some more sympathetic media.The Jews have always had miserable public relations and that, in a hostile world, doesn't help the media problem.

Also, as an individual, I have contacted the journalism schools, from whence will come the next batch of uninformed reporters. If the colleges don't teach history objectively the distortions are no surprise. They compouond. The grassroots movement and the Jewish watchdogs are doing the best they can.

there is no logic nor truth when dealing with a confirmed bigot!!! in this case--duranty.

The New York Times once was a great paper but it has now become a mediocre and redundant voice for the dogmatic ultra-left wing of the Democrat party. It it truly a loss for the development of public policy, and while for a short period of time during the 1930's there may be a slight excuse for Duranty because the technology of journalism was so much less time-efficient, with todays instantaneous media there is no excuse for the pathetic regurgated dogma that now populates the pages of the Times. The Times now equates a democratically elected war hero like Arial Sharon with a murdering terroist and killer of children like Arafat. It truly is a shame. I suggest we all start reading the New York Sun.

always on target as usual :
I know I will always get the truth from Honestreporting and not from the NY/PA Times.
keep up the good work ! you will always have my support ( both political and financial )

I think it is high time for the western media in general to have an epiphany and correct their long-lasting bias against anything and everything Israeli. This is the only way thay could keep their credibility.

A good start would be to have major newspapers and TV stations to regularly publish what is common knowledge to anyone who reads MEMRI: a compendium of reports published by the Palestinian and other Arab news media, complete with graphics and translation.

The NY Times and the LA Times are both left wing anti semitic rags with no sense of honor or truth.

We in Canada have to not only wince regularly at the CBC's naive, uncritical, without context, pro-Palestinian reporting, but pay for it through our tax dollars too.

Two years ago, the lead story on the National News on Israel's birthday was about it being the day Palestinians call "The Catastrophe."

I wrote to director of CBC News and asked if the lead story on July 1, Canada Day, might be about the catastrophe that Canada's natives associate with this country's founding. I never heard back.

Dear friends,

I repeat my continued gratitude for your reporting. You call to our attention members of the media we have to shy from in favor of those from whom we can learn the ever evasive truth. Jeanne Zanger

I will never understand those who claim the Jews who want one little Jewish nation are "racists" yet these same people do not call the Islamists racist" for having all those "Islamic" nations (many of which have effectively been stolen from others, by usurping the languages and culture of these nations). So they admit if you take a nation in the Name of God it is legal for them.

How can I not hate these hypocrites unless I pray to God?

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