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Media Backspin
« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

Sunday, July 31 2005

Hamas summer camp: 'Kill Zionists'

HamascampThe San Francisco Chronicle's Matthew Stannard went to visit a Hamas summer camp:

"In this camp we learn the important things of life -- good behavior, respect," said Osama, who was spending the summer at a Hamas-run camp on the beach outside Gaza City.

They also learn how to sing "intifada songs," including one urging them to "kill Zionists wherever they are, in the name of God."

Here's a sample activity:

At one beach camp, attended by approximately 100 kids, an instructor wore a heavy flannel shirt under which a webbed belt could be seen strapped to his stomach. Asked by a reporter what it was, he answered, with a broad smile, "Boom!"

For more on the problem of Palestinian incitement of youngsters to terrorism, visit HR affiliate Teach Kids Peace.

 
Sassygate unravelled

Here's an overview of the ongoing 'Sassygate' scandal at The Guardian, which has now caused the departure of two Guardian staffers.

But nobody seems to have articulated the larger issue here -- this whole affair cuts to the heart of the western media's stance vis-a-vis terrorist organizations. In the name of journalistic 'objectivity', The Guardian and many of its local and transatlantic colleagues have not only avoided denouncing terrorist groups (lest they be accused of partisanship), but in many cases have drawn those groups and their supporters into the fold of legitimate discourse. Witness the op-ed space that's been granted to the likes of Michael Neumann (who actively supports - in his own words - "vicious racist anti-Semitism" to bring on the destruction of the Jewish state), Palestinian hijacker and hostage-taker Leila Khaled (an 'expert' on BBC radio), John Pilger, and a certain contributor by the name of Osama Bin Laden (in The Guardian itself).

So, far from outrageous, it's perfectly natural that The Guardian would hire a 'trainee journalist' who belongs to a pro-terrorist group. What we're seeing with Albert Scardino's resignation is a long-overdue reckoning with this untenable editorial (and ethical) stance.

 
Bad news

An insightful NY Times article on the beleaguered news media contains some points relevant to Mideast coverage - 'Bad News':

Not that the media lie about the news they report; in fact, they have strong incentives not to lie. Instead, there is selection, slanting, decisions as to how much or how little prominence to give a particular news item... Journalists minimize offense, preserve an aura of objectivity and cater to the popular taste for conflict and contests by - in the name of ''balance'' - reporting both sides of an issue, even when there aren't two sides.

Author Richard A. Posner addresses big media, charges of bias from left and right, and the role of the bloggers.

 

Thursday, July 28 2005

Pilger's faulty logic

JohnpilgerIn a New Statesman cover story, John Pilger illogically explains the significance of the first suicide attacks on British soil while taking a cheap shot at Ariel Sharon:

The gravity of the bombing of London, said a BBC commentator, "can be measured by the fact that it marks Britain's first suicide bombing". What about Iraq? There were no suicide bombers in Iraq until Blair and Bush invaded. What about Palestine? There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power.

Pilger is just plain wrong about Palestinian suicide bombings, which began over seven years before Sharon came to power.

(Hat tip: Stan and Adam)

 
Reuters' photo caption bias

Last Sunday, two Palestinian terrorists murdered an Israeli couple near the Gaza border. The perpetrators were then shot dead by the IDF.

In Reuters picture captions of the subsequent Palestinian funeral (here and here), the Israeli couple was erased from the story -- there's no mention of their murder and the terrorists appear as if they were victims:

Continue reading "Reuters' photo caption bias"

 
Times' editorial boilerplate burns Israel again

PapolicemanA recent independent assessment of the Palestinian security forces found them in a state of utter disarray and nearly impotent as a law enforcement unit. What went wrong? The NY Times' Steven Erlanger reported:

The essential problem for the Palestinian Authority, the report says, is that its security forces were established on "an ad hoc basis without statutory support and in isolation of wider reforms," a lasting legacy of Mr. Arafat's policy of duplication and promoting rivalry within his organization.

Erlanger quotes the head of the Jerusalem office of the organization that drafted the report stating that 'continuing structural reform is the only way to build a credible Palestinian security that can provide internal order and a reliable relationship with Israel that could lead to a permanent peace.'

But that conclusion from the report's own authors, conveyed by a Times reporter, wasn't good enough for the Times' editorial board. Today's Times editorial - 'Nourishing the Palestinian Police' - responds to the report by blaming Israel alone for the unfortunate state of the Palestinian police force:

The tattered nature of Palestinian Authority security forces - including police officers and soldiers - has been evident since Ariel Sharon essentially destroyed those forces three years ago, during the Palestinians' ill-advised intifada. Yet senior Israeli military officials, as well as Israeli politicians like Mr. Sharon, now insist that Mr. Abbas has sufficient manpower and arms to dismantle the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad if he would just decide to do so. Adding insult to irony, Israel has refused requests by Lt. Gen. William Ward, the American-appointed coordinator of the effort to overhaul the Palestinian security apparatus, to allow the Palestinians to import new armored vehicles and fresh supplies of arms to do that very job.

This editorial falls squarely within the astutely noted 'template' for NY Times Mideast editorials presented by Mediacrity:

1. Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel. This is the cornerstone of the template. These editorials always maintain a pretense of even-handedness ("the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders"), but the message of the editorials is almost invariably that Israel gets the lion's share of the blame for whatever happens to be going awry at any particular point in time.

The Times editorial board's commitment to blame Israel has now overridden the very news item it comments on. Times editors are showing their true colors here -- it's not a question of subjective perspective, it's an institutionalized bias that grants legitimacy only to information that conforms to their fixed position.

In this case, the independent report's overview of PA security chaos is fine and admissible, but that very report's conclusion of internal Palestinian culpability is ignored, omitted, and rejected.

Comments to NY Times: letters@nytimes.com

(Remember that letters to The Times will only be considered for publication if you include your full name and contact information.)

 

Wednesday, July 27 2005

Palestinian media report

While the official PA newspaper continues to glorify terrorists as 'martyrs' (shahids):

Portrait_of_shahids

... Palestinian journalists are banned from covering internecine fighting, and urged to celebrate Israel's Gaza 'retreat'.

 
StandUp4Israel Poll

The British group StandUp4Israel is running a YouGov poll aimed at soliciting opinion from the Jewish community in Britain about the power of the UK media -- click here to take the short, three question poll.

This 2001 campaign from StandUp4Israel site is still quite relevant:

Standup4israelhand

 
The IDF's human face

IdfhumanRarely does a media outlet show the human face of the IDF. But the Christian Science Monitor has done that with a report about the extensive support offered to 'lonely soldiers' (hayalim bodedim):

Because of the stressful nature of army service, it is recognized that some soldiers need extra support. Currently there are about 6,000 young men and women in this category. A "lonely soldier" may be an orphan, or his family may have been killed in a terror attack. She might be a new immigrant, or estranged from her family. What he or she needs most are the simple things many other Israeli soldiers take for granted: a home-cooked meal, a welcoming place to go to on weekends, and someone who understands the tremendous pressure of Israeli military life.
 

Tuesday, July 26 2005

Reuters discovers 'terror'

Given Reuters’ strident policy against using the word “terror” in coverage, we’re a little curious how this headline got by editors:

Israel angered at Pope’s anti-terror sermon

Perhaps the headline writers felt "anti-militancy sermon" sounded too weird.

 

Monday, July 25 2005

Kudos to NY Times

KolsNY Times coverage of Saturday night's murder of the Kol couple (pictured) gets a thumbs up for this acknowledgement of Palestinian media spin:

Official Palestinian news organizations, including Voice of Palestine radio and Palestinian state television, described the killings as acts of resistance and martyrdom, while referring to the dead Israeli couple as settlers, which they were not. The Palestinian radio news, monitored by The New York Times, described "two citizens martyred in an armed clash near Kissufim junction" and described the Israelis killed or wounded as settlers.

This hopefully indicates a greater focus from western news outlets on the important factor of Arab media distortions and outright incitment to terrorist violence. HonestReporting has been calling for this change for years -- see, for example, this November 2004 HR communique.

 
Blaming Israel for London killing

The latest in the ongoing 'Blaming Israel for ___' series, submitted by Frimet Roth:

On the (UK) Times site, dateline July 25, in a piece entitled 'Shoot-to-kill policy is based on Israeli model' previous Metropolitan Police commisioner Lord Stevens is reported as stating:

Israel's methods for tackling Arab suicide bombers have emerged as the model for Britain's technique of shooting suspects through the head.

Oh, really? Well, someone obviously missed news of the Palestinian suicide bomber with an explosive belt strapped to his body who was apprehended yesterday by Israeli forces after slipping out of Gaza and proceeding toward Tel Aviv. He appeared on television news unscathed, smiling and capable of conducting a rather lengthy exchange with an Arabic-speaking journalist. Lord Stevens, be a man; own up to Britain's botch-up without dragging Israel down with you.

Though Israel has practiced targeted killings of terrorist leaders, the overwhelming majority of active terrorist attempts that the IDF thwarts are arrests -- not 'shooting through the head'.

 
Terror response: UK vs. Israel

Tom GrossTom Gross in the Jerusalem Post:

Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state.

By evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting, but the BBC still hadn't interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities to be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn't been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and The Guardian hadn't yet called British policy against its Pakistani population "genocide"...

Britons will also need to stop listening to the lies propagated by large sections of their media. For example, the cover story of this week's New Statesman, the favored publication of many in Britain's ruling Labour party, says: "There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal, sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power."

You begin to wonder whose side some in Britain's media are on.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

 

Sunday, July 24 2005

Whose byline is it anyway?

Nearly the same exact article, here accredited to Knight Ridder's Dion Nissenbaum, and here accredited to AP's Anne Gearan.

Hmmm... It's also Nissenbaum here and here, so it seems to be a mistake from the Boston Globe.

UPDATE 7/27: HR editors contacted the Boston Globe, which acknowledged the mistake, corrected the byline, and thanked HR for its 'eagle eye.'

 
'Settler' from western Jerusalem

[Read the HR communique on this topic.]

The San Francisco Chronicle has a profile of a Jerusalem resident from the Baka neighborhood whom the Chronicle describes in its headline as a 'settler':


BrianblumsmAre Chronicle editors so ignorant regarding the region to believe that western/southern Jerusalem contain 'settlements'? Or is all of Israel a controversial 'settlement' in their eyes?

HR contacted the subject of the Chronicle profile, Brian Blum (pictured), who said:

"I was very disturbed by the initial headline of the article. I was asked to be part of a series on 'normal life' in Israel, but I felt that the headline misrepresented me as a radical!"

* UPDATE * At 4 PM Israel time the Chronicle changed the headline to:

but then changed their minds to:

And now it's back to 'RESIDENT'... here's a suggestion -- how about 'Israeli'?!

Comments to SF Chronicle: letters@sfchronicle.com

Send a copy to the Chronicle's Readers' Representative, Dick Rogers: readerrep@sfchronicle.com

 
Egypt's 'expert' opinion

The Jerusalem Post reports that Egyptian media are quoting a number of local 'experts' linking this weekend's Sharm el-Sheikh terror attacks to Israel:

Shortly after the attacks, Egypt's state-run television interviewed retired army general Fuad Allam. He said that he was almost certain that Israel was behind the attacks at Sharm e-Sheikh and Taba:

According to Fuad, investigations have shown that the mastermind of the Taba attack was a Palestinian "apparently linked to Israel's security forces." He added: "I'm almost certain that Israel was also behind this attack because they want to undermine our government and deal a severe blow to our economy. The only ones who benefit from these attacks are the Israelis and the Americans."

Allam's remarks were re-aired several times during the day by Egyptian TV. Other commentators who made similar charges against Israel included political figures and prominent journalists.

So much for Egypt's recent media reforms.

 
Reuters' headline distortion

Two Israelis, 2 Gaza gunmen die in new violence

They just 'died', seemingly equivalent deaths... but read the story and you discover the two 'gunmen' cut down the Israeli couple's lives in cold blood.

How might the headline have been more accurate?:

YNet: Terrorists Kill Israeli Couple in Gaza (but of course, Reuters couldn't use that word...)

JPost: Husband and Wife Killed in Attack Near Kfar Darom

Comments to Reuters: editor@reuters.com

 

Friday, July 22 2005

New design for BackSpin!

For the third anniversary of Media BackSpin, we gave the blog a facelift, with emphasis on a cleaner look and direct access to the latest content on the main HonestReporting site (articles linked at left).

We're also hoping it will load faster - a frequent complaint.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?
Leave a comment below!

Note: A deluge of comment and trackback spam has necessitated an approval step before comments appear.

 

Thursday, July 21 2005

Unreliable Palestinian Witnesses

The latest HonestReporting communique – on Reuters' unreliable sources in covering the murder of a Palestinian boy – has just been been published: 'Unreliable Palestinian Witnesses'.

Just after this critique was sent out, the Jerusalem Post reported that a Palestinian from a rival clan was arrested for murdering Yazan Mohammed Mussa, age 12. The NY Times is commended for giving a full update of this development.

To receive HR communiques by email, simply sign up above.

Please use the comments section below for discussion of this topic.

 
Hamas and the 'ceasefire'

From Baltimore Sun cartoonist Kevin Kallagher:

Kallaghercartoon_1

 
Stabbing of Palestinian boy

Reuters, relying on unnamed 'witnesses', reported that a 12-year-old Palestinian was stabbed to death by Israeli settlers yesterday. The New York Times echoed Reuters' report.

But the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz reported, based on Palestinian officials' admission to Israeli police, that the boy was most likely stabbed by other Palestinians in a clan feud.

This appears to be another case of an unreliable Palestinian account unquestionably passed on by the media. The time has come for news outlets to institute a fact-checking period before promulgating dubious claims from Palestinian witnesses.

Comments to Reuters: editor@reuters.com

UPDATE: Reuters has another dispatch on the incident, recognizing that Palestinian police now suspect a Palestinian perpetrator. The need for a waiting period before reporting it in the first place very much remains.

EyeOnThePost caught a similar case this week, when the Washington Post reported that 'more than a dozen bystanders were killed [by IDF fire], according to [Palestinian] hospital officials'. That report was never substantiated, never repeated -- and never corrected by the Post.

 
Blaming Israel for London

Melanie Philips:

CrickI wondered who would be the first person in Britain to openly blame the Jews for the London bombings. Step forward for the garland of hatred Professor Sir Bernard Crick (pictured), the government’s former adviser on citizenship. On BBC Radio Four’s Today programme (0852) this morning, he said:

‘It’s not easily refuted that these kinds of protests… have been going on since the failure of Israel to follow the UN resolutions after the 1967 war.’

Listen to the BBC Radio segment (in RealPlayer format). Philips:

There is no doubt that ‘Palestine’ is used as a recruiting sergeant for the Islamic death cult by propagating the big lie of Israeli aggression and oppression and thus inciting hatred and murderous hysteria towards the Jews among Muslims across the globe. To blame the Jews, who are the victims of this terrifying evil and are in the front line of fighting it, rather than those who are perpetrating the lies and racial libels which are fuelling it, is disgraceful.
 
'Apologists for what the killers do'

Norman Geras in The Guardian (of all places):

Within hours of the bombs going off two weeks ago, the voices that one could have predicted began to make themselves heard with their root-causes explanations for the murder and maiming of a random group of tube and bus passengers in London... it wasn't very long - indeed no time at all, taking into account production schedules - before the stuff was spreading like an infestation across the pages of this newspaper, where it has remained.

It needs to be seen and said clearly: there are, among us, apologists for what the killers do. They make more difficult the fight to defeat them.

A longer version of the article, posted on Geras' blog, includes this point:

Did you ever hear a Jenny Tonge who empathizes with the Palestinian suicide bomber also understanding the worries of Israeli and other Jews - after the Holocaust, after the decades-long hostility of the Arab world to the State of Israel and the teaching of hatred there against Jews, after the acts of war against that state and the acts of terrorism against its citizens? This would seem to constitute a potentially rich soil of roots and causes, but it goes unexplored by the supposedly non-excuse-making purveyors of a root-causism seeking to 'understand'.

 

Wednesday, July 20 2005

HR elicits correction from NY Times

In response to Monday's HonestReporting communique, the NY Times Online has corrected a erroneous photo caption.

Here's the Times' printed correction:

A picture caption on nytimes.com on Saturday with an article about attacks on Hamas militants in Gaza described the scene incorrectly. It showed a Palestinian police tank involved in a battle with Hamas militants, not the attack on Hamas militants earlier in the day by Israeli forces.

The Times makes no acknowledgment of the misleading caption from its print edition (the second item on Monday's communique).

 
Cruel and unusual punishment?

Well, it's certainly unusual:

Lyingdown

Newly recruited Palestinian security personnel are forced to lie down on hot sand under a blazing sun, as a punishment for their attempt to leave the compound where they are taking part in a training session, in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 20, 2005. The Palestinian Authority is training 5,000 new officers who will be deployed in areas that Israel will evacuate during its planned withdrawal from the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip later this summer. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

 
AFP's 'nebulous' Brigades

AFP describes the Al-Aqsa Brigades’ relationship to Fatah as "loose" and "nebulous":

The two members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a nebulous faction loosely affiliated to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas's ruling Fatah party, were killed during an Israeli incursion in Al-Yumun...

But as AP, reports, the relationship isn’t so loose and certainly not nebulous:

Fatah unofficially asked its affiliated militant group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, to help fight Hamas as Abbas seeks to ensure a smooth Israeli pullout from Gaza settlements, Fatah and Al Aqsa members said.

UPDATE: A later report by AFP clarifies the Brigades' relationship with Fatah and the Palestinian security apparatus:

A spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed offshoot of Fatah which includes many members of the official security forces within its ranks, accused Hamas of using a rocket-propelled grenade in the clashes.
 
Fatah's media control

If you want more info about the latest clashes between PA security and Hamas, don’t bother looking to the Palestinian media. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate told members not to cover the in-fighting:

In a statement, the syndicate, which is controlled by members of the ruling Fatah party said that "pictures that some journalists are conveying to the international and local public opinion don't benefit the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation and independence."

The restrictions also apply to Palestinian stringers, fixers and cameramen employed by the Western news services.

 

Tuesday, July 19 2005

No guitars and marshmallows

Here's what summer camp looks like, Hamas-style:

Hamassummercamp1

For more on the incitement of Palestinian children to violence, see the HR-affiliated Teach Kids Peace.

LGF has a comparison to Israeli summer camps.

 
The Times' compromise on 'terror'

London_2Philip Gailey, an editor at the St. Petersburg Times weighs in on the media’s reluctance to use the “T-word,” and the reluctance of Muslims in the West to speak out against Islamic terror. Then he offers a compromise:

Muslims don't want to be stereotyped; American and British commuters don't want to be blown up in subways. So let's make a deal: We'll watch our language if peace-loving Muslims will watch our backs and drive the extremists out of their mosques and communities.

(Hat tip: Tampa Bay Primer)

 

Monday, July 18 2005

NY Times Caption Error

The latest HonestReporting communique - on a particularly bad NY Times caption error - has just been published: 'NY Times Caption Error'

To receive HR communiques by email, simply sign up above.

Please use the comments section below for discussion of this topic.

 
A spade is still a spade

The Boston Herald takes Reuters and BBC to task over their non-use of the word “terror” in coverage of Israel and London:

Using the word calls a spade a spade. It reminds the hearer that the victims are innocent, and that their killers are people who kill the innocent. This truth is hard for some people to take, but it is necessary to keep repeating it for any progress to occur.
 
'Tiny' Gaza

Now that Israel plans to leave the Gaza strip, media outlets have decided that it's best described as 'tiny':

MSNBC: 'Palestinians suspect Sharon plans to give them tiny Gaza but cement Israel’s hold on the West Bank...'

Reuters: 'Palestinians fear Sharon's plan will give them only tiny, impoverished Gaza'

Hmm... it was plenty big when Israeli settlements were growing there.

 

Sunday, July 17 2005

Who Broke the Ceasefire?

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Who Broke the Ceasefire?'

To receive HR communiques by email, simply sign up above.

Please use the comments section below for discussion of this topic.

 

Saturday, July 16 2005

Jenin terrorist does Reuters cameo

ZubeidiZakaria Zubeidi (at left), ringleader of the terrorist Al Aqsa Martryr's Brigade in Jenin, is apparently on such good terms with local Reuters reporters that he played a cameo part an an informal 'gag film' some Reuters staffers produced for a friend. YNet breaks this story:

The screening, which occurred in a Jerusalem restaurant last March, involved the showing of a video during a private party. "The video's theme was what Israel would be like in 10 years," said an Israeli government official who attended the party and viewed the video.

"All of a sudden, at the end, there is Zakaria Zubeidi, playing the head of Reuters. Zubeidi was sitting in Reuters' Jenin office, saying he was Reuters’ chief,” the official said. The party included guests from the BBC, ITN, the Independent newspaper, and French journalists.

"They all thought the video was hilarious," the official said. He added that only a few individuals did not seem amused during the screening.

 

Thursday, July 14 2005

The Power of Words

A new HR Canada communique is up: 'The Power of Words'

The correction that HR Canada elicited from the Globe & Mail concerned the use of the term 'retaliation' to describe IDF anti-terror actions. Melanie Philips calls for a similar adjustment at the BBC, which referred to the same Israeli action as 'vengeance':

Bbcvengeange2

This value-laden distortion of Sharon's order (what good guy calls for 'vengeance'?) comes from the same news outlet that's obsessed with 'neutrality' when it comes to Islamist terror.

 
Backlash in UK vs. BBC

See commentary critical of BBC's coverage of the London terror attacks at The Telegraph, Biased BBC, USS Neverdock, and from Stephen Pollard. One particularly interesting item from The Telegraph:

Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware "we are dancing on the head of a pin", the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.

BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as "terrorists" although - nonsensically - they could refer to the bombings as "terror attacks". And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the "t" word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair's statement to the Commons.

Reminds us of Stephen Jukes' Reuters memo following 9/11.

Meanwhile, Scott Burgess has caught The Guardian employing and publishing a Islamist 'trainee journalist'.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

 
No claim?

From an AP dispatch today:

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a shopping mall in the Israeli seaside city of Netanya, killing four women and wounding at least 30 other people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility by Islamic Jihad, but Palestinian police said the bomber, 18-year-old Ahmed Abu Khalil, was sent by the same Islamic Jihad cell that was behind a Tel Aviv nightclub bombing that killed five Israelis a couple of weeks into the truce.

Actually, Islamic Jihad did claim responsibility for Tuesday's attack, as Reuters reported.

Comments to AP: feedback@ap.org

 
Bad taste

Q: Where did the following passage appear?

The [Gaza] closure will give about 8,500 settlers a taste of some of the military restrictions and bureaucracy endured by Palestinians living under occupation.

A:

a) On the PLO website
b) In an al Jazeera editorial
c) In a Robert Fisk column on Jihad Unspun
d) In a Reuters 'news' article

You guessed it.

Comments to Reuters: editor@reuters.com

 
Why do they hate us?

James Taranto hits the nail on the head regarding the ubiquitous question 'Why do they hate us?':

That's the question we've all grown sick and tired of hearing since Sept. 11, 2001. It's not that the query is inherently objectionable; understanding what motivates the enemy is obviously helpful in wartime. But the people who ask this question almost never genuinely seek to understand; rather, they have their own axes to grind against the U.S. or the West...

Now and then a terrorist actually takes the trouble to explain his motives. London's Daily Telegraph reports on the trial of the man who allegedly (and now confessedly) murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh:

Mohammed Bouyeri, a baby-faced 27-year-old with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, broke his vow not to co-operate with the Amsterdam court by admitting shooting and stabbing his victim last November.

"I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion," he told its three-strong panel of judges.

"I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do the same, exactly the same." . . .

Bouyeri then turned to the victim's mother, Anneke, in the public gallery, and told her he felt nothing for her. Mrs van Gogh watched as he read out from what appeared to be a statement: "I don't feel your pain. I have to admit that I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because you're a non-believer."

This had nothing to do with Israeli "occupation" of "Palestinian lands," America's "unilateral invasion" of Iraq, "torture" of prisoners at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, the widening "income gap," or any of the other litany of complaints that the terror apologists trot out. Islamist terrorism arises from religious fanaticism and hatred, plain and simple.

 
BBC denies banning 'terror'

LondonThe Guardian gave op-ed space to the head of BBC Television News, who discusses covering last week's London bombings. At the very end, Roger Mosey addresses the way the network handled the word “terror.”

Then there has been a controversy about our use of language - particularly the question of whether the BBC banned the word "terrorist". There is no ban. It's true the word is contentious in some contexts on our international services, hence the recommendation that it be employed with care. But we have used and will continue to use the words terror, terrorism and terrorist - as we did in all our flagship bulletins from Thursday.

But Mosey contradicts BBC guidelines, and he fails to answer specific criticisms detailed here and here.

 
Suggestion for media accountability

Blogger Scott Rosenberg has one intriguing idea for improving media accountability: Public databases where readers can post complaints about errors in coverage needing a correction.

Let people file "bug reports" if they believe your publication has published something in need of correcting. The publication can respond however it seems appropriate: If the complaint is frivolous, you point that out; if it's a minor error of spelling or detail, you fix it; if it's a major error, you deal with it however you traditionally deal with major errors -- but you've left a trail that shows what happened. However you respond, you've opened a channel of communication, so that people who feel you've goofed don't just go off to their corners (or their blogs!) feeling that you're unresponsive and irresponsible.

(Hat tip: Cyberjournalist)

 

Wednesday, July 13 2005

Walks like a duck...

YNet English editor Alan Abbey on the media and the T-word:

It seems pretty simple to me: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and employs the unlawful use of force or violence against people with the intention of intimidating societies, it is a terrorist, whether it is quacking in London, New York, Madrid or Netanya.
 
Wholesale denial of the truth

Quote of the day, courtesy Melanie Philips... all the more appropriate given yesterday's events in Netanya:

It cannot be stressed too much that the hatred that fuels Islamic terrorism does not derive solely from religious texts but is incited and inflamed by lies and distortions about the history and present actions of the west and above all about the Jews and about Israel — a world-view based on a wholesale denial and inversion of the truth which has poisoned the minds of millions.
 

Tuesday, July 12 2005

Omitting anti-Israel terror, cont.

A followup on the 'terror map' from The (UK) Sun:

The German F.A.Z. (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that nation's most respected newspaper) published a similar map of worldwide 'Islamist terrorism since 9/11' -- also here, the horrific mass murders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are omitted:

Fazgraphicsmall

(click for enlarged version)

Comments: click here

This is actually a well-worn path of anti-Israel bias -- the New York Times was guilty of it also, back in May 2003. Why do western editors consider Israel a separate category from the rest of the world?

 
Palestinian radio praises London terror

YNet reports that Sut Al Quds, a radio station based in Gaza, aired a sermon praising last week’s bombings in London:

“The sounds of happiness were heard in London, and Osama Bin Laden came and redrew the map. He made sure that the voice of the surrendered will be heard in every place,” the mosque's preacher said.

The Palestinians also celebrated 9/11, managing to suppress coverage.

 
Tom Gross on London coverage

Tom GrossIn the Jerusalem Post today, Tom Gross reviews the British press' T-word switcheroo, AP's feeding the conspiracists, and some sane coverage of the London terror attacks.

 

Monday, July 11 2005

Bad News From London

BadnewsscreenThe latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: 'Bad News From London'

To receive HR communiques by email, simply sign up above.

Please use the comments section below for discussion of this topic.

 
Acknowledging London 'terror'

Reuters1Media Blog points out that Iran acknowledged “terror” in London even as Reuters' coverage of the attacks did not. This was the official Iranian response to the rush hour bombings:

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamidreza Asefi, here Thursday condemned terrorist attacks on London's transport network.

According to Foreign Ministry's Department of Information and Press, Asefi expressed disapproval of terror attacks on London which killed and injured a number of people.

He condoled the next-of-kin of those killed and injured, denouncing resort to terror to reach aims as "inappropriate method."

See here for why Reuters indulges in word games to avoid using the T-word.

 
L’Affaire Morin rages

Lemonde_1Despite a court ruling ordering it to do so, Le Monde has not issued a retraction for a June, 2002 column by Edgar Morin. Instead, the paper is appealing the decision, which held Le Monde guilty of "racial defamation." As proceedings continue, the JTA details a raging war among France’s intellectual elites, dubbed “L’Affaire Morin.”

Any gratification the Jewish community initially took in the ruling has turned to outrage as the controversy has evolved and as Morin’s backers attempt to “contextualize” the article, blunting its explicit anti-Semitism.
 

Sunday, July 10 2005

Omitting anti-Israel terror

The (UK) Sun has a roundup of Islamic terrorism 'across the world over the last decade' -- complete with map. Guess which Mideast country that has absorbed hundreds of attacks during this period does not appear in the Sun's account?

Sunmap_1

** UPDATE ** In apparent response to this HR critique, The Sun's page now includes this statement:

We have not included the unforgivable Palestinian terror attacks and suicide bombings in Israel due to their sheer number.

Comments to: talkback@the-sun.co.uk, letters@the-sun.co.uk, News@the-sun.co.uk

 


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