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European media's pro-Arab bias
Two items on this today:
1) A French newspaper has fired a reporter for publishing a book critical of anti-American bias in the French press. Associated Press reports:
The book, "La Guerre a Outrances" (The War of Outrages), criticizes the French reporting for continually predicting the war would end badly for the U.S.-led coalition.
"Readers can't understand why the Americans won the war," Hertoghe said in a telephone interview. "The French press wasn't neutral."
The book, published Oct. 15, charges French reporters were more patriotic than journalistic and what was written amounted to disinformation.
James Taranto adds: "What's really pathetic is that in France, being 'patriotic' means showing fealty to a fascist Arab dictator."
2) Frontpage Magazine translated an interview with a Barcelona leftist and contributor to a forthcoming book that 'denounces the flagrant imbalance in the handling of information from the Middle East.'
Marc Tobiass: Why did you feel the need to write "In Favor of Israel"; to participate in the publication of this book?
Pilar Rahola: Since the start of the second intifada, the Spanish press, on the right as well as the Left, has taken a particularly aggressive approach toward Israel, an approach that leaves out the reasons for Israel's actions and tends to ignore the Israeli victims in this conflict. In this situation, a small minority of intellectuals, public personalities—sensitive to the Jewish question in general and to Israel particular—felt deeply touched by this problem. Outraged by the return of Judeophobia in Spain, we, each in our own way, began to write articles; to use the media to condemn this situation.
Here Rahola touches upon deeper causes for European media bias:
Marc Tobiass: There is a comment in your text that sent shivers down my spine. You say that Judeophobia is, in the final analysis, the common denominator between Europe and the Palestinians.
Pilar Rahola: It's true that there are in Europe non-Jews who are sensitive and respect the Jewish soul, which is also part of the foundation of Europe, but they constitute a minority. The majority, the unconscious European collective, does not understand, does not absorb, nor accept, the Jewish phenomenon. And it is there that the essential meeting point between the European and the Palestinian takes place. Palestinian identity is not just a recent phenomenon, but it is, above all, built on hatred of Israel, hatred of the Jews.
An important interview - read the whole thing here.
EU 'proxy war' vs. Israel
From The American Thinker:
Ilka Schroeder, a 25 year old former German Green Party member, who is now a member of the EU Parliament, has delivered an important address at the Center for German Studies of Ben Gurion University in Israel. She characterized the Palestinian Intifada as a European proxy war on America.
"The Europeans supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor, and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the Al-Aksa Intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States."
Europe actively fighting the U.S. through supporting Palestinian terror. A highly disturbing breaking of ranks.
Glenn Reynolds on the conflict
Superblogger Glenn Reynolds - the Tennessee law prof otherwise known as Instapundit - has an uncharacteristically strong condemnation of US support for Palestinians today - read it here. Excerpt:
These folks are our enemies, and deserve to be treated as such. They don't deserve a state of their own. It's not clear that they even deserve to keep what they've got.
Terrorist Trading Cards, v.2
While Palestinian kids are busy collecting cards that glamorize terrorists, Israelis now have a product of their own: Most Wanted Palestinian Terrorists
When does peace have a chance in this conflict? When the Israeli version is a hotter item on the Palestinian street.
(Here's a JPost article on this.)
'Terror' Inconsistency at AP
Here we go again...on an AP report yesterday from Saudi Arabia, note how the news agency refers to the suspect:
Terror Suspect Surrenders to Saudi Police A terror suspect surrendered to Saudi police, and a Western diplomat said Islamic militants are going after the security officials who are hunting them...
But when the dateline's Gaza City:
An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a car carrying militants from the violent Islamic Hamas, wounding 11 people despite earlier reports that Israel and the militant group had reached an agreement to halt violence.
Same day, same crimes, same news agency, two standards.
Comments to AP: firstname.lastname@example.org
The same deal at BBC today:
'Saudi terror suspect surrenders' vs.
'Israeli Gaza raid targets Hamas' : The Palestinian militant group Hamas confirmed two of its members were in the vehicle, but escaped unharmed.
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LA Times Ignoring Neumann's Background
Our communique yesterday addressed the LA Times granting op-ed space to a far-out radical - Michael Neumann - who would (in his own words) 'use anything, including lies, injustice and obfuscation' to promote his anti-Israel agenda. The Times felt this person was qualified to pontificate on the resurgent wave of anti-Semitism.
The LA Times published a number of letters today that took issue with Neumann, but none of these letters addressed the heart of the matter - that Neumann has written this, which should disqualify him from any respectable public platform:
My sole concern is indeed to help the Palestinians, and I try to play for keeps. I am not interested in the truth, or justice, or understanding, or anything else, except so far as it serves that purpose...I would use anything, including lies, injustice and obfuscation, to do so. If an effective strategy means that some truths about the Jews don't come to light, I don't care. If an effective strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism or reasonable hostility to Jews, I don't care. If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the State of Israel, I still don't care.
We're still waiting for the Times to both publish a letter that raises the issue of Neumann's prior writings (we know they got them...) and justify their granting this nihilist prominent space on this weighty matter. In the meantime, this guy hits the nail on the head:
Neumann concludes his convoluted screed by stating that anti-Semitism is not a priority, but only after he asserts that "a substantial majority of adult Jews" have "some responsibility" for Israeli "war crimes and human rights violations." Obviously, anti-Semitism is not a priority for someone who believes that most adult Jews are war criminals. The relevant question is whether anti-Semitism is a priority for people who are actually in touch with reality. - David Podvin, West Hills
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bad News Sells
Gregg Easterbrook says in his new book, The Progress Paradox, that mainstream journalists focus on bad news because the elites they serve benefit from fear-mongering. Easterbrook tells Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post that reporters "want their own work to be seen as important, as we all do. If you present something as scandalous or dangerous or frightening, that's more compelling than a story about something that's gone well."
This has important implications for over-reported regions such as Israel - see our entry on this topic.
(Hat tip: Romenesko)
Worth Reading Today
* Relative Calm Watch : Israel's only dealing with 54 terror alerts, according to the Jerusalem Post.
* Top Ten Media Blunders of 2003
* Good staff-ed in the Washington Times. The upshot: Disengagement is a sea change for Sharon because it highlights an end to ideology of "Greater Israel," and if the Palestinians would wake up and smell the coffee, they could have a state of their own, even though they blew previous opportunities.
* Khaled Abu Toameh reports that Palestinians Still Side With Saddam:
Saddam Hussein is still seen by some Palestinians as a hero and a symbol of defiance against Israel and the U.S. Saddam's picture appears at protests against the separation fence, at rallies for Palestinian prisoners, and at funerals of activists. Saddam's sympathizers can be found in almost all the Palestinian factions, including Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian branch of the dissolved Iraqi Ba'ath Party, known as the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), remains active in several Palestinian cities and villages.
In the past three weeks, the ALF and "Saddam's friends" have published two paid front-page advertisements in the Palestinian daily al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, condemning the U.S. for apprehending Saddam.
* J Post editorial on Fence-Building Anarchists:
The complaint of the Palestinians and their fellow travelers generally boils down to "it all started when he hit me back." Want to help the Palestinians? Tell them to stop attacking Israel, and the record shows that Israel will quickly reciprocate by easing its onerous security measures. It is Palestinian terrorism that is building the fence, with the help of its supposed friends.
* Barry Rubin, in Is There an Alternative to Arafat's Leadership?, says "the bottom line is: Arafat will not make a deal. Therefore, either an alternative to Arafat is found or we will have to out-wait him, in order to achieve peace."
Bungled Headline of the Day
From The Age (Melbourne):
Sharon Prepares for Failure
Failure of what? You have to read this Reuters report to find out Sharon appointed Giora Eiland to prepare for disengagement in the event of the failure of the road map.
P-I 'Enrichened' by Rachel
Perhaps with this, Rachel Corrie -- run over while obstructing the destruction of Palestinian buildings used to smuggle weapons from Egypt -- will finally be laid to rest.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an article on notable deaths in their region this year. Among basket-weavers and lifetime child advocates was none other than Ms. Corrie:
They changed the way we worked, played, lived. They made us see the world in different ways. They made us smile. Sometimes, they made us cry. Whether their lives were long and full, or tragically shortened, they became a part of the fabric of who we all are in the Northwest. Here are just some of those who died this year, leaving our lives a little richer for having known them...
Rachel Corrie, 23, an activist from Olympia who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Rafah refugee camp. After its internal investigation, the Israeli military said the driver of the bulldozer could not see Corrie. Corrie’s parents were not satisfied with the Israeli explanations, and in September they called for an independent U.S. investigation of her death. Corrie died March 16.
LGF reminds us this is the person whom the P-I feels 'left our lives a little richer,' burning the US flag before Palestinian children:
One wonders what Richard Redmayne here would think of Corrie's inclusion alongside him:
Richard Redmayne, 84, one of 316 men who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II by clinging to a life raft for five days in the Pacific Ocean. Japanese torpedoes sank the heavy cruiser on July 30, 1945, about halfway between Guam and the Philippines. Redmayne died April 21.
It isn't the first time the Seattle paper compared American soldiers with the flag-burning radical -- back in June a P-I editorial compared Corrie, "a young woman of uncommon compassion," to Pvt. Jessica Lynch, the American soldier who was captured by Iraqis and later rescued. Lynch, says the Post-Intelligencer, "put her life on the line for something larger than herself, as did Corrie."
Comments to P-I: email@example.com
Communique on LA Times, Neumann
We have released a communique to our subscribers on the issue below - view it here.
To subscribe to HonestReporting, so you'll receive communiques as they're released, go to the HR homepage.
Serious Opinion at LA Times
The following passage was written in the LA Times by a philosophy professor who believes that anti-semitism is not a problem today:
Myself, I'd feel a bit embarrassed saying to a homeless person on the streets of Toronto, much less to the inhabitants of a Philippine garbage dump: "Oh yeah? You think you know suffering? My grandmother died in a concentration camp!"
This was intended to be a serious opinion piece on the matter of anti-semitism?
UPDATE: It seems that the author, Trent University (Canada) professor Terry Neumann, has a history of inane and downright hateful statements. A BackSpin reader sent us the following:
Trent University professor Michael Neumann recently carried on an email correspondence with an antisemitic web site called the Jewish
Tribal Review, in which he wrote:
“My sole concern is indeed to help the Palestinians, and I try to play for keeps. I am not interested in the truth, or justice, or understanding, or anything else, except so far as it serves that purpose...I would use anything, including lies, injustice and obfuscation, to do so. If an effective strategy means that some truths about the Jews don’t come to light, I don’t care. If an effective strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism or reasonable hostility to Jews, I don’t care. If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the State of Israel, I still don’t care.”
See the Canadian Jewish Council's report on the matter here.
When these remarks came to light, Neumann was forced to apologize.
And the LA Times runs an opinion piece by Neumann on the topic of anti-semitism being "overblown," without acknowledging his stated commitment to "encourage vicious racist anti-Semitism" as a means to a political end?!
Neumann is the man who wrote, in the far leftist CounterPunch:
Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is antisemitism, antisemitism is a moral obligation.
Was this person qualified to pontificate on the "overblown" phenomenon of anti-Semitism?
In CounterPunch, Neumann went so far as to not only compare Israel to Nazi Germany, but to actually indict the entire Jewish people for Nazi-like support:
[A]t present, the case for Jewish complicity seems much stronger than the case for German complicity. So if it is not racist, and reasonable, to say that the Germans were complicit in crimes against humanity, then it is not racist, and reasonable, to say the same of the Jews.
Media Blunder of the Week
AFP and other news agencies reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair "extended Christmas greetings to Palestinian President Yassir Arafat." The greetings "included the wish that Palestinians 'realise their hopes in establishing an independent Palestinian state'."
But a spokeswoman for Blair denies any such greeting was sent. It seems the official PA news agency, WAFA, just made it up, and once again took the world media for a ride.
Palestinian Authority Sermons 2000-2003
The ever-diligent people at MEMRI have assembled an overview of three years of PA-funded and PA-broadcast Friday sermons.
Under-reported by the media, these highly disturbing sermons regularly foment and incite terror against Israeli civilians and other Western targets. One example:
Palestinian Mufti Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri also praises martyrdom in his sermons: “We tell them: in as much as you love life - the Muslim loves death and martyrdom. There is a great difference between he who loves the hereafter and he who loves this world. The Muslim loves death and [strives for] martyrdom. He does not fear the oppression of the arrogant or the weapons of the blood-letters. The blessed and sacred soil of Palestine has vomited all the invaders and all the colonialists throughout history and it will soon vomit, with Allah’s help, the [present] occupiers.”
The MEMRI report finds the following 'common themes' in the speeches:
- Calls for the Destruction of the U.S.
- 2003: The Year the American Crusader War Against Islam Began
- Shahids & the Rewards of Martyrdom
- Educating Children to Martyrdom
- Antisemitism and Calls to Kill Jews
- Re-conquering Palestine
Read the full report, and please encourage your local editor to write an editorial on this topic. This is one of the root causes of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Diplomats should therefore be placing far greater pressure on the PA to end this weekly incitement to murder.
Christians in Bethlehem
Today's communique addressed media blame of Israel for the dour Christmas in Bethlehem this year. (To receive communiques as they're released, sign up on the HR homepage.)
Just now another worthwhile source of information on this topic came to us: Silent Night - Bethlehem's Vanishing Christians
Worldwide Security Fences
Check out this powerful response to critique of Israel's new security fence:
Let's Remove All Fences!
Don't miss the punch line at the bottom.
Terrorist Trading Cards
From the Associated Press today: Palestinian kids trade 'baseball cards' -- of their favorite terrorists:
Palestinian children are collecting cards showing gunmen and soldiers the way kids in the US trade baseball cards, and some educators are concerned that the hobby is helping to breed a new generation of militants...The collectable cards depict real-life Middle East action figures familiar to the children: An Israeli soldier shooting a large gun, a soldier forcing Palestinians off their land, a small Palestinian child dressed in militant's clothing holding a toy gun and Palestinian boys throwing stones.
The albums are sold in cardboard boxes shaped like Israeli tanks and include a dedication from Nablus governor Mahmoud Alul. A child who fills an album with all 129 pictures can win a computer, a bicycle, a watch or a hat.
Adds the AP: "The card craze reflects reality in the West Bank..." Does it really, or is it constructing an extremist, homicidal reality for the next generation?
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
BBC, Independent on Maher Assault
As noted below, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was attacked by a Palestinian mob on Monday while he was praying at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque.
An HonestReporting subscriber wrote an letter to the BBC regarding their coverage of this issue, which caused the Beeb to adjust their article. Here's an excerpt from the letter:
The article notes that Mr. Maher "declined Israeli protection" whilst on the Temple Mount, and that he was accompanied by Egyptian and Palestinian guards. Yet the article reports that "the BBC's Jill McGivering, in Jerusalem, says the incident is sure to cause some embarrassment for the Israelis." There is no further explanation of this remark, or description of how an attack by Palestinian Muslim Arabs against the Foreign Minister of a nation whose majority is Muslim and Arab while being protected by Arab and Muslim body guards in a part of Jerusalem where Jewish Israelis are prohibited from visiting except on rare occasions is an embarrassment for Israel.
My assumption was that the article contains a typographical error, meaning to state that the incident is an embarrassment for Palestinians. If not, readers such as me would like a further explanation of how this incident in any way can be seen to embarrass Israel.
Thank you, M.S., Cincinnati, OH
M.S.' critique caused BBC to change their article, which now reads "the incident is likely to prove embarrassing for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as Egypt."
The Independent had a similar line: "The mayhem embarrassed Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Although the Muslims control the mosque compound, known by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the Old City is under Israeli rule."
Neither the BBC nor Independent have clarified why they declare (that is, make) this episode an "embarrassment" to Israel, which had no responsibility for Maher's security at the site of the assault.
Comments to BBC: email@example.com
Comments to Independent: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where's Israel's Capital?
The Israeli capital is Jerusalem. That's where the nation's top legislative, executive and judicial bodies are located, as well as the Prime Minister's and President's residences. But as the status of Jerusalem remains a matter of international controversy, most countries maintain their embassies in Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv.
Some news agencies, however, beyond refusing to call Jerusalem Israel's capital, or simply reminding us of the controversy, will actually refer to Tel Aviv as if it were the established capital.
Some cases in point:
* Scotland on Sunday (12/14/03): "The Tel Aviv bomb was a failed attempt on the life of crime kingpin Ze-ev Rosenstein, a man at the centre of a criminal underworld saga more familiar to cities like New York and Naples than the Israeli capital."
* BBC (8/18/03): "However, the agreement has been put under strain by Israel's killing last week of the group's Hebron cell commander, a move Tel Aviv says prompted two suicide bombings that left two Israelis dead."
* LA Times' Robert Brownstein (5/26/03): "In the last month, President Bush has displayed more commitment and creativity in advancing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians than at any point in his presidency. And that movement is kicking up swirls of political maneuvering, not only in Tel Aviv and the West Bank, but also in the United States."
* Guardian (12/23/03): "Bombs, missiles, delivery systems, gases, germs? Tel Aviv has the lot. We only forget to remember because it's not a suitable subject for polite diplomatic conversation."
These Western journalists find company in the terrorist-friendly Al Jazeera: "Tel Aviv Considering Operation Against Iran's N-Capacities" (12/22/03)
When journalists employ shorthand in reporting, for example, "Washington said..." there actually was a US government representative in Washington who delivered that statement. But that is almost never the case for Israel in Tel Aviv. Israeli diplomatic activity and formal statements almost always take place in Jerusalem.
This editorial policy, therefore, can only be understood as a product of 'journalist activism' - portraying Israel's capital not as Israel desires, nor even as a matter of dispute, but rather as Israel's most determined opponents would portray her.
Comments to The Guardian: email@example.com
Comments to BBC: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Guardian Vents
Yesterday Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was attacked by a Palestinian mob as he was praying at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque. After being shaken up, Maher was whisked away to a Jerusalem hospital, and is apparently OK now.
Why the attack? Maher was in Israel to meet Israeli leaders regarding resuming peace talks, and did not plan to visit Yassir Arafat. The assailants screamed "Traitor!" and threw shoes at Maher - a particularly harsh insult in the Arab world.
Now here's the spin from The Guardian:
Palestinians vented their frustration for the perceived lack of support by Arab countries in their quest for nationhood by attacking the Egyptian foreign minister when he arrived to pray at Islam's third holiest site in Jerusalem yesterday.
"Vented their frustration"? Well who could blame the assailants for a little "venting"? And when was there ever a lack of Arab support for Palestinian nationhood? This is the opening sentence of The Guardian's report - a smoothing over of extremist violence if ever we've seen one.
Q and A in Arab News
The Saudi-based Arab News posts this chilling question and answer, hosted by an apparent Islamic expert:
Q. Could you please tell me whether the Sept. 11 attacks were acts of jihad or terrorism? Would those who were killed in them be martyrs? What about other acts such as those done by Hamas and similar groups?
A. I cannot understand how a Muslim could justify boarding a plane, intending to kill all its passengers by flying it into a building used by thousands of civilians. This is simply terrorism and cannot be justified under Islamic law. The operations launched against Israeli occupation are totally different. They are undertaken against occupiers who have turned the local people, Muslims and Christians, from their homes and lands, desecrated mosques and terrorized the population into leaving their land. To resist Israel by all means available to us is justified under divine and human law. It is indeed Israel and its supporters that are engaged in a gigantic and continuous act of terrorism.
When will an international tribunal begin indicting Arab editors for incitement to murder and genocide, as recently occurred in Rwanda? The judges there recognized:
The power of the media to create and destroy human values comes with great responsibility...Those who control the media are accountable for its consequences.
(Hat tip: allahpundit)
Palestinian General in Saddam's Army
The LA Times today has a profile of a Palestinian, Ahmed Rahal, who rose to a prominent position in Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army and is now a totally crushed man:
He cast his lot with a ruthless dictator, and did his bidding. He followed Hussein because he was the only leader who fostered the hope that a pan-Arab movement would create a Palestinian state and welcomed Palestinians to Iraq while they awaited his grand plan's fulfillment.
Now that plan lies in ruins.
These days, Rahal, bitter and without remorse, sits alone in his darkened Baghdad house — the generator turned on as little as possible to save money....
Even now he refuses to admit Hussein did anything wrong.
"He never stole anything — the palaces were open to the people. They could line up one day a week and visit them," he said.
It's a long piece, but worth it, for it illustrates the "Saddam dimension" of Palestinian identity. The former Iraqi dictator threw his stature, influence and cash behind the most horrific and ultimately self-defeating expressions of Palestinian nationalism: terrorist efforts to destroy Israel.
We would hope Rahal's personal story represents a bookend to a dark period of Palestinian history. But just today another young Palestinian who went to Iraq to fight the U.S. was reported dead- the 18-year old perpetrated a Dec. 11 suicide bombing against a U.S. military base outside of Baghdad.
Worth Reading Today
* An internal BBC email tells its reporters not to refer to Saddam as a dictator. From the Daily Telegraph:
"An email has been circulated telling us not to refer to Saddam as a dictator," I'm told. "Instead, we are supposed to describe him as the former leader of Iraq. Apparently, because his presidency was endorsed in a referendum, he was technically elected. Hence the word dictator is banned. It's all rather ridiculous." The Beeb insists that the email merely restates existing guidelines. "We wanted to remind journalists whose work is seen and heard internationally of the need to use neutral language," says a spokesman.
* Tatiana Menaker, a student at San Francisco State University, reports on the anti-Israel film festival held there recently:
I don't know what was scarier for me: the images on the screen or the atmosphere in the auditorium...Watching these films, I saw that Palestinian Arabs have become professional victims and actors in the "Israelis-and-Jews-Are-Horrible-Child-Murderers” series. These films are constantly shown in Europe and especially in the Middle East due to heavy demand and plentiful funding.
* George Bush tells an Israeli correspondent to Washington, "We must get rid of Arafat."
* Dan Diker on the unfortunate consequences of Israeli humanitarian gestures:
Rabbi Dr. David Appelbaum, a global authority on emergency medicine, and his daughter Nava, who was to have been married the following day, were murdered at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem on September 9, 2003, by a Palestinian who had been released from detention on February 2, 2003, as a "gesture." Israeli gestures in the absence of Palestinian security measures have had proven lethal consequences for Israeli civilians and soldiers alike. Improving the economic situation of the Palestinians is important, but the precipitous removal of security measures can cost lives. This point should be remembered before Israel is asked again to undertake similar risks in the future.
* Ze'ev Begin argues that all of the peace plans being bandied about today, including Ariel Sharon's unilateral moves, will not bring tranquility to Israel.
AP's Photos of the Year
Here come the photos-of-the-year compilations.
The Associated Press' version is out today - would you believe that AP couldn't find any images of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror?
But there's no lack of pro-Palestinian images -- see these dates:
Comments to: email@example.com
Video on Reuters' Bias
Take a moment to view HonestReporting's new 90-second video that exposes the blatant bias of the Reuters news agency ― the recipient of our 2003 Dishonest Reporting 'Award.'
Saudi Arabia Bans Cuddly Toys
You might think this little guy is harmless, but he actually represents a pernicious threat to the moral fiber of Arab civilization.
From the AP wire:
Saudi Arabia has banned the importation of female dolls and teddy bears, giving merchants three months to dispose of such stock, a state-guided newspaper reported Wednesday.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef ordered the ban which was relayed around the country by the national Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Al-Riyadh said.
The daily gave no reason for the ban, which could not be confirmed with government officials Wednesday.
The ban singled out stuffed-animal toys and dolls of brides. It made no mention of male dolls and it was not clear if these were banned as well.
Male teddy bears - out. Groom dolls - in.
Crown Prince Abdullah imitates The Onion.
It will be exceedingly difficult for the West to establish a common ground with such a culture.
Islamic Jihad Using Grossman Photo
HonestReporting's "Photo that Started it All" is the Sept. 2000 AP picture of bloodied teenager Tuvia Grossman, miscaptioned across the world as a Palestinian victim of Israeli police brutality, when Grossman was in fact a victim of unprovoked Palestinian brutality.
As we note in our article on the event, a number of Arab groups actually adopted Grossman's photo to use in their own propaganda campaigns, passing him off as a Palestinian victim. For example, an official Egyptian government website is still using the Grossman photo on its "Photo Gallery."
Now it seems that none other than Palestinian Islamic Jihad has begun using Grossman's photo. In this a section of the brutal terrorist group's banner graphic on their homepage, note the Grossman photo in the bottom-left:
Note also the map of "Palestine" - no two-state solution there. This genocidal plan is regularly whitewashed by Reuters (the ignominious winner of the 2003 Dishonest Reporting 'Award') as an "uprising for independence."
(Hat tip: I.A.C.)
Worth Reading Today
* With the capture of Saddam Hussein, the IDF has lifted its ban on reporting a planned 1992 assassination attempt on the former Iraqi dictator: "Elite IDF Sayeret Matkal unit trained for Saddam hit in 1992"
* Israeli military analyst Elliot Chodoff writes that though Saddam's ouster is a positive for Israel, it would be "foolishly oversimplistic" to believe that Israel no longer has signficant security threats - the position articulated by NY Times columnist Tom Friedman in a recent opinion piece. Says Chodoff:
It would be nice to see the Middle East as having been thoroughly transformed by the American campaign, but it is simply not the case. True, Saddam is out of the picture, and this has had a positive effect on Israel's security. But there are more than a few leaders out there vying to replace him as a threat to Israel's security, and some of them are in the east: Syria and Iran, to name a couple.
* Barry Rubin on the endangered species of Arab liberals:
The Middle East has been more effective at exporting authoritarianism than the West has been in exporting democracy...There is no great liberal theorist or reform advocate who galvanizes people in the Arab world. There is no major original book which provides a manifesto for moderation, and no powerful political party or movement pushing for democratic change.
* An informative article on Christians living in the disputed territories:
Despite...the general atmosphere of conflict during the last few years, the Christian communities continue to thrive. According to Israel's English-language daily, the Jerusalem Post (November 18, 1994), the number of Christians living in Israel has trebled since the re-establishment of the State in 1948. Whether they are praising political actions of the Israeli government or criticizing them, Israel's Christian population continues to experience freedom of speech, religion and movement.
Sadly, the same cannot be said about Christian communities living under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule. Here, they struggle for a place and a voice in a largely Moslem, non-democratic society.
Happy Hanukkah to You, Too
A Hanukkah advertising flier, distributed to thousands of homes in the Dallas area, included this page:
According to ADVO, the company that printed the advertisement, a graphic artist working on the ad had left his desk for a moment, and a co-worker changed the text on the ad as a "joke."
The graphic artist didn't notice the change and the ad went to print.
According to NBC-5 in Dallas:
ADVO representatives in Dallas said they are mortified by the oversight and that they are trying to figure out why the error was never caught.
An ADVO employee had this to say over at LGF:
While the news story for the most part is true I can add the following TRUE information. First, ALL of ADVO's employees were mortified by this incident. "CC" is the nickname of the artist that was working on the copy version when a co-worker thought it would be funny to add the comment that I won't even mention again. This worker has already obviously been fired.
I also work for Advo and I also happen to be Jewish and many of my clients (I'm in sales) are Jewish too. Imagine my anger and embarrassment when I heard about this story. Our CEO had a nationwide conference call to alert everyone of the incident and EVERYONE was outraged by it. We too (including our management) can't imagine how this got by everyone without being noticed and they are looking into it to ensure that it never happens again. This isn't the way our company runs their business...it was a stupid employee who's been fired and has caused our company a lot of humiliation and money.
(Hat tip: LGF)
Security Fence Presentation
Here's an online presentation from the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry:
Why Does Israel Need a Security Fence?
AFP Acknowledges Attempted Terror
In our communique of Dec. 11, Why the "Calm"? , we noted that the major news agencies have largely disregarded the recent wave of attempted Paalestinian terror that's been successfully stopped by the IDF. We hear only of a "period of relative calm."
Credit where it's due: AFP has a report today recognizing that Israel has thwarted 22 attempted suicide bombings since the October bombing of Haifa's "Maxim." The IDF said there have been 25, but we're pleased by AFP's recognition nonetheless.
Reuters - 2003 Dishonest Reporting "Award" Winner
The 2003 Dishonest Reporting "Award" - granted annually to the news agency that demonstrated the most egregious anti-Israel bias - was announced in today's mailing to HonestReporting subscribers: It goes to Reuters, the London-based news agency whose skewed coverage reached new heights of irresponsibility this year.
Dishonorable Mention: Associated Press, BBC, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Independent, Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Washington Post.
To see the full text of the 2003 "Award," click here.
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"The Tyrant is a Prisoner"
While there's celebration on Baghdad's streets, here's the reaction among Palestinians:
For many ordinary Palestinians, the TV footage of a disheveled Saddam obediently submitting to a medical exam by his U.S. captors was painful to watch: it sealed the defeat of the one Arab leader they felt always stood by them.
Saddam should have put up a fight or committed suicide, they said, and his surrender is a stain on Arab honor. “It is a big defeat for all Arabs and Muslims,” said Raji Hassan, 29, watching TV with friends in a Gaza City coffee shop.
The Palestinian Authority declined to comment on the arrest of Saddam, but a senior PA official in Ramallah said Yasser Arafat was "saddened" by the news from Baghdad. "President Arafat was sad to see an Arab leader in an humiliating position," said the official.
Especially one Arafat's been quite close with:
Reuters reports "Palestinians Mark 'Black Day' of Saddam's Capture":
Disbelief and gloom seized many Palestinians on Sunday at news of Saddam Hussein's capture while Israel, which came under Iraqi Scud missile attack in the 1991 Gulf War, hailed the United States for capturing Saddam.
The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for his stand against Israel and its U.S. ally, as well as for giving financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and others who died in a three-year-old uprising...
"It's a black day in history," said Sadiq Husam, 33, a taxi driver in Ramallah, West Bank seat of the Palestinian Authority.
AFP reports from Jenin:
PALESTINIANS today accused former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein of cowardice after the long-time hero to many in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was captured without a struggle by US troops near his hometown.
Saddam's support and financial aid to the tune of thousands of dollars for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers during the three-year intifada made the former Iraqi strongman a popular figure in the occupied territories.
Palestinians celebrated during the 1991 Gulf War when Saddam's forces fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel.
But today many were quick to draw a contrast between Saddam's meek surrender and their own leader Yasser Arafat, who has been confined to his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah by the Israeli army for more than two years.
And then there's this comment from one bitter (and clear-seeing) Palestinian woman:
A nurse from the West Bank town of Bethlehem said Saddam's behaviour was reminiscent of the leaders of hardline Palestinian groups who dispatched young men and women to their death in suicide bombing missions, but were not prepared to sacrifice themselves...
"I expected that he would kill himself, but he is similar to the recruiters of the suicide bombers in our country, sending people to their martyrdom, but whenever the army comes to arrest them they give themselves up easily because these people are not prepared to die."
Caroline Glick comments on this very point:
The psychological impact on Saddam’s loyalists and on terrorists around the world of the picture of the tyrant’s dirty, mired face and meek complicity during his medical examination by a US army doctor is immeasurable. Today they are forced to ask the question, “Why should we die when Saddam surrendered so abjectly?”
Worth Reading Today
* Mark Levin in the National Review about the security fence and US operations in Iraq. Succinctly written and very clear.
The wall is about Israel's self-defense, and nothing more. The wall can be moved if future agreements require it. The problem has never been Israel's unwillingness to exchange land for Palestinian promises of peace: It has always been the Palestinians' unwillingness to keep their promises. This is just one more example of a double standard that devalues Israeli security and the lives of Israeli citizens.
* Rachel Ehrenfeld in the National Review - EuroCash:
How is it possible that the International Monetary Fund, CBS, the BBC, and even the PA itself were all able to document the PA's misuse of funds while the EU failed to acknowledge it? Further aid payments should cease until the PA explains how it spent more than $6 billion in aid during the last decade, and returns the missing funds to the Palestinian people. History gives us little reason to think the PA will stop funding terrorism. Maybe it's time to hold European donors legally accountable for the return on their investment.
* A Washington Times editor makes a strong case for the security fence by looking at a larger historical context.
* Molly Moore of the Washington Post reports on how the Israel is sparking tourism by marketing solidarity trips and tours, featuring visits with terror victims, trips to checkpoints, security briefings. Moore quotes the director of Shurat HaDin:"It is not Grandma's trip to Israel."
* Steve Chawkins in the LA Times on a trip for Israeli terror victims:
The two dozen young Israelis were on a two-week U.S. tour organized by the Southern California Jewish Center, an educational group based in Los Angeles. There was the young girl who was severely burned in a 2002 terrorist attack on a hotel in Kenya frequented by Israelis. Fire engulfed her as she tried to drag her mother's flaming body to a swimming pool. There was the 14-year-old boy with permanent brain damage from rocks hurled at him on the street. There was Leor Thaler, 16, who still carries a hunk of shrapnel and a few steel nails inside him. In February 2002 he went out for pizza with his sister, Rachel, and friends when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing Rachel and two other teenagers, including Leor's best friend.
The "Soldiers of Allah" are:
a) a Palestinian terror organization
b) a shadowy Al-Qaida offshoot
c) a banned Saudi charity
d) a Muslim football team in Orange County that competes with teams nicknamed "Mujahadeen" and "Intifada"
The LA Times has the answer.
Indymedia Israel Under Investigation
An organization called "Indymedia Israel" is being investigated by Israeli police for incitement. Their web site was recently shut down when managers at Actcom (which hosted the site) were inundated with complaints.
The complaints began in earnest after Indymedia Israel published a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Sharon kissing Adolph Hitler: see the cartoon here.
Palestinian Schoolbooks Deny Israel
Stefan Sharkansky points out some of the more disturbing aspects of current Palestinian schoolbooks, which deny the very existence of the State of Israel - in graphics and through the air-brushing of historical documents.
See Sharkansky's postings here and here.
The study that Sharkansky draws from was performed by EUFunding.org.
An HonestReporting reader submits:
The border security fence is comprised of many sections totaling scores of miles. Some sections are concrete, others sheet metal.
The barrier is three layers deep in parts, fifteen feet high and surrounded by razor wire. The area around it is lit by spotlights, monitored by cameras, motion detectors and magnetic sensors, and patrolled by armed guards with attack dogs.
But enough about the USA border with Mexico, let's talk about Israel....
And remember, the US/Mexico security fence has been meant only to keep out "financial" immigrants, not suicide bombers and other terrorist murderers. One wonders about the lack of hue and cry from international "human rights" organizations, the UN, and the EU regarding the fence between two countries at peace with each other.
Ramirez' Warped Sight
LA Times cartoonist Michael Ramirez with some moral equivalence between dwelling on disputed real estate and mass murder of innocents:
The caption says: "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the biggest impediment to peace of them all?"
Comments to LA Times: firstname.lastname@example.org
News that has not (for some reason) hit the major news wires today:
Israeli security agencies foiled a planned suicide bombing in Rosh Ha'ayin on Monday in which a Palestinian mother of seven was involved.
Fatah's military wing in Nablus sent Latifa Abu Dar'a, 40, of Balata, to pass through IDF roadblocks wearing an explosives belt around her waist, since IDF soldiers very rarely do body searches on women.
She crossed into Israel near Kafr Qasem and then handed over the explosives belt to the bomber, Suliman Abu Awis, 20, also of Balata.
Due to intelligence information, Israeli security forces arrested the bomber and, shortly thereafter, Abu Dar'a.
The bomber's goal was a shopping center in Rosh Ha'ayin - the same mall where another Fatah bomber blew himself up in August, killing one Israeli.
A mother of seven!
So why are images like this all we see or hear about Palestinian women in the media?:
BackSpin, bringing you an entirely different type of "Images of Women" criticism...
Send the article above to your local paper and encourage them to provide readers with the full story on Palestinian women's role in terrorism.
NY Times Public Editor Begins
Daniel Okrent took to the cockpit in his (and the paper's) new position of Public Editor at the New York Times on December 1. He begins with rhetorical flourish:
Reporters and editors (the thickness of their skin measurable in microns, the length of their memories in elephant years) will resent the public second-guessing. The people who run the newspaper may find themselves wondering how they might get away with firing me before my 18-month term is up. Too many combatants in the culture wars, loath to tolerate interpretations other than their own, will dismiss what I say except when it serves their ideological interests.
But those are their problems, not mine. My only concern in this adventure is dispassionate evaluation; my only colleagues are readers who turn to The Times for their news, expect it to be fair, honest and complete, and are willing to trust another such reader — me — as their surrogate.
Okrent's even willing to provide some "full disclosure," which, as Jeff Jarvis says, is something more journalists should emulate:
By upbringing and habit, I'm a registered Democrat, but notably to the right of my fellow Democrats on Manhattan's Upper West Side. When you turn to the paper's designated opinion pages tomorrow, draw a line from The Times's editorials on the left side to William Safire's column over on the right: you could place me just about at the halfway point. But on some issues I veer from the noncommittal middle. I'm an absolutist on free trade and free speech, and a supporter of gay rights and abortion rights who thinks that the late Cardinal John O'Connor was a great man. I believe it's unbecoming for the well off to whine about high taxes, and inconsistent for those who advocate human rights to oppose all American military action. I'd rather spend my weekends exterminating rats in the tunnels below Penn Station than read a book by either Bill O'Reilly or Michael Moore. I go to a lot of concerts. I hardly ever go to the movies. I've hated the Yankees since I was 6.
Yankee fan or not, Okrent is a welcome - and long overdue - presence on the Times' staff. His introductory piece is important, so you're encouraged to read it in its entirety here.
You can reach Daniel Okrent at: public@nytimes
And telephone messages are taken at: (212) 556-7652
Coverage of UN Vote
Most of today's Israel coverage centered on the UN vote to refer the security fence question to the International Court of Justice (a.k.a. the Hague). In the General Assembly, 90 countries voted in favor, 8 voted against, and a whopping 74 countries abstained. 19 other countries didn't even vote. So the proposal didn't muster a legitimate majority of the General Assembly.
Reuters buries the abstentions in the 14th paragraph and you have to do the math yourself to figure out the truth behind the meager majority. Moreover, two paragraphs beforehand, reporter Megan Goldin writes that only eight countries voted against the resolution without mentioning the 74 abstentions.
For contrast, AFP prominently noted an Israeli reaction to the vote:
The Arab-backed resolution was passed with 90 votes for, eight against and 74 abstentions.
Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the near-even split between the yes votes and the no votes and abstentions was a kind of win for Israel, which is regularly criticised by assembly resolutions.
"Israel regards this vote as a moral victory and so should this chamber," he said, branding those nations which voted in favour of it "mostly tyrannical dictatorships, corrupt and human-rights defying regimes."
For further contrast, the BBC attributed the abstentions to ambivalence:
The BBC's correspondent at the United Nations, Greg Barrow, says the abstentions were a clear sign of the ambivalence felt about taking this contentious issue to the court, which could find itself compromised politically if it finds in favour of the Israeli or the Palestinian side.
Student Activism in Dallas
In July, we noted that an enterprising group of Dallas teenagers met with the President and Editor of the Dallas Morning News to discuss the paper's problematic coverage of Israel.
The student activists -- Jordan Hirsch (10th grade), Daniel Bonner (8th grade), and Steven Rosson (11th grade)-- have now had another session with the paper's editorial board, which was written up in the Texas Jewish Post .
By all accounts, the meeting went very well. Hirsch, the group's chairman, said "The meeting was productive but there's still alot to be accomplished. We will continue to put pressure on the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets to report fairly about Israel."
Mendoza Report on PA Funding
The British Parliament's International Development Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into "Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories." This committee is investigating the effectiveness of European aid to the Palestinian population and the impact of the current war conditions on the Palestinian population.
Until a few weeks ago, the list of submissions to the committee was entirely skewed towards a pro-Palestinian view of the issues. Now several new submissions present a countervailing view. One of them, submitted about a week ago, was made by Terry Mendoza. The new website EUFunding.org has just posted a complete copy of that outstanding, highly detailed submission, which should reach an audience outside of British parliamentarians. An excerpt:
Based on a plethora of sources (both media, governmental, and non-governmental), it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Palestinian Authority has systematically been funneling money according to their own purposes and to the detriment of the their own people. It has also become clear that international aid, including European Union funds, is falling into this abyss and thus being misused as well. Even the Palestinian people have become aware of this problem and have demanded change.
Israel, responsible according to the Oslo Accords for providing specified amounts of aid to the Palestinians, has found a way to ensure that their funds are received by the intended parties. The European Union, the World Bank and other donors have still not focused on the need for this supervision. This allows funds to continue to fall into the wrong hands, ultimately to be used for the wrong reasons.
As a taxpayer, it is my right and obligation to demand that all funds be used for proper educational materials, real and improved living conditions, development of infrastructure and more.
The entire report is online here.
Tom Friedman Goes Ballistic
Steven Weiss at Jewsweek reports on an evening at the Israel Policy Forum, featuring Geneva architects Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abbed Rabbo, and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. After his talk, Friedman was approached by a critic, and this is how he handled it:
I run over to the stage to catch Tom Friedman for that question-and-answer he promised I'd get after his speech. Harvey Schwartz, a Manhattan lawyer, greets Friedman and with a smile on his face tells him he learned two things from Friedman that night: That the columnist, "Supports drilling in ANWR," and is, "willing to sacrifice Israel on the altar of Iraq."
Friedman yells "F**k you," hits the guy with his right hand, and then shoves him into a small crowd of people with their backs turned. Schwartz has a good foot and 100 pounds on the diminutive Friedman, but he went about three feet backwards from Friedman's push.
Friedman turns around and sees me with my notebook and tape recorder. Deer in the headlights. Schwartz goes, "Did you get a picture of that?" Still under the lull of the truth is untrue/up is down nature of the event, I consider for a moment whether I'm a photographer. Friedman runs over to an IPF executive, the one who said he does "the most unbelievably insightful reporting ever," (sans an adjective) to tell on Schwartz. Like those wimpy nerds in grade school, he hits first, tattles second, screaming about "that asshole," who apparently is so mean that his innocuous comment deserves a whack.
Finally, I have Friedman cornered. Can he answer some questions? "No, no." But I've got one question I think he'll have a cool answer to: What do you think your role is for the Geneva Accord? "I'm a journalist, I'm a columnist," he says and then runs away. Sure, he is those things, but only in the loosest sense: more, he's an actor, a trader, and a fighter.
The man who spent the past few hours pronouncing how we need to see past the present, the rhetoric, and the attacks to achieve peace has just gone violent on some random guy.
You couldn't ask for a more fitting ending.
Worth Reading Today
* Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren have an article in The New Republic against the Geneva Accord (req. registration):
The Sharon government was elected in a landslide victory to pursue a policy fundamentally incompatible with Geneva. The losers of that election are now trying to circumvent the electoral process and, together with the PA, impose their will by summoning international pressure for the Accord in order to delegitimize the Sharon government. Geneva is the product of Israelis who have forgotten how to defend their nation's most basic interests. (full text in "Continue reading" below)
* Hamas leaders speak: Rantisi says suicide bombings will begin again soon, and Sheikh Yassin says Israelis should all move to Europe.
* Robert Levine claims in the Washington Post that the oh-so-disturbing European poll that found Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace was completely misunderstood by the world press: "All the survey says is that most Europeans believe that countries at war are threats to world peace. Surprise!"
* IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon told a cabinet meeting Sunday that Damascus is conveying clear and precise instructions to perpetrate terror attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, and is also transferring cash to banks in Nablus to fund these operations.
* Bernard Goldberg, who wrote the book on liberal media bias, did an interview with Right Wing News:
I've never said these media elites are bad guys or evil guys. I've specifically said there is no conspiracy. They're living in their lives in this comfortable bubble with like minded people in it. It includes the people in their newsroom with like-minded liberal people in it and after a while they think everything to the right-of-center is conservative and everything to left-of-center is middle of the road. I know that sounds crazy, but that's how they see it.
Continue reading "Worth Reading Today"
Burchill, part II
Julie Burchill, the Guardian columnist who's leaving due to the rampant anti-semitism there, has now published the second part of her statement: The Hate that Shames Us.
(If you missed the first part, here it is: Good, Bad and Ugly.)
We at HonestReporting spend alot of time scratching our heads over particular articles on Israel, but there's another aspect of the coverage that's no less bewildering: the sheer volume of it.
Harvard's Ethan Zuckerman has a remarkable web page that monitors in real-time the Global Attention Profiles of major media outlets, mapping out what parts of the world the major news services deem important.
Though Israel is certainly a "red zone" (very high interest), it's telling that one can't even see the red of Israel on Zuckerman's color-coded world map, since Israel is so small. So click through to the tables format, where you find that on the AP wire today, Israel and the West Bank's coverage-to-population correlation are by far the highest, at over 3000%.
The over-reporting of Israel, now quantified, is an important element of biased coverage of the conflict. A few reasons why:
1) The prominence "granted" to Israeli power distorts the geographical reality: Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by Arab states that, at best, coldly tolerate Israel's existence. This military reality fades behind the barrage of "Israel Kills..." headlines.
2) Faulty and misleading reporting (such as this) is amplified beyond compare.
3) Israel's conscientious anti-terror effort is scrutinized in a manner no other nation is forced to confront.
4) The thousands of reporters in Israel have to file lots of stories to keep their editors happy, and dramatic writing grabs the most attention. Drama, in this context, almost invariably means exaggerated portrayal of Israeli aggression (unless Palestinian terrorists have recently struck, in which case Israel gets a momentary reprieve).
Now the question is, why is Israel so disproportionately over-reported?
Imagine the American forces in Iraq tolerating this from hostile locals:
A Palestinian teenager hangs a tire
on the barrel of an Israeli army tank
during clashes in Balata refugee
camp near the West Bank city of Nablus
(December 6, 2003. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
Here's this scene in a nutshell:
If the tanks don't pursue the terrorists, they murder more innocent civilians.
If this Palestinian's tire is filled with explosives, the tankists die.
If the tankists shoot the Palestinian as he struts right up to their tank, Israel is condemned worldwide for cruelty.
That's Israel's predicament today.
Losing the TV War
Two Hebrew University lecturers say Israel is being defeated on the news' "TV war":
There are many reasons for this daily thrashing on the world's screens. A major one emerges from the contrast between the striking invisibility of terror and the salience of daily images of Israeli military action.
The media know that clashes are attention grabbers: Squaring-off turns audiences on. Contests draw attention, as family feuds, shouting contests at the office, or brawls on city streets daily demonstrate.
One protagonist is the terrorist sporadically striking out of nowhere at vulnerable civilian populations; the other is a powerful organized army systematically confronting Palestinians as the terrorists vanishes into crowded urban habitats.
Television indeed gets repulsively exciting footage of one side of this satanic equation: impregnable tanks storming stone-throwing children, hellfiring helicopters targeting decrepit station wagons, young soldiers, armed to the teeth, confronting the elderly, the pregnant, the infant, at security checkpoints, too frequently with undue violence.
But on the other side of the equation, when the terrorists play their hand, television is impotent: It can show no dramatic contest or realtime violence: Terrorists strike where they are least expected. Unlike tanks and infantry battalions, they cannot be identified, let alone filmed, until it's too late.
Read Losing the TV War (J Post)