Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Grantmann, one of our commenters, provided an interesting link in response our post on National Public Radio’s spew skew of the news. It’s a site called CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), and is devoted particularly to the way the MSM in general kinks anything about the Palestinian –Israeli conflict. They have a long list of newspapers and examples of egregiously blatant spin. It’s enough to make a body dizzy.

In perusing the long list of “mistakes,” one of my favorites — and there are many examples of bias and euphemism — was this gem:
     In its October 27th article on the terrorist attack in Hadera, the Washington Post exhibited poor news judgment. The paper ran only one photograph with the article, a small color photo of the mother of the bomber holding a picture of her son.
Other major dailies, including the Baltimore Sun and Washington Times published large, page-one color photographs of the bomb scene and Israeli victims. The New York Times, for example, ran a similarly large black-and-white photo inside. But Washington Post readers get none of the readily available visual evidence of Israelis as victims of Palestinian aggression. Instead, the Post chose to publish a photo sympathetic to the terrorist.
CAMERA noted what the Post did correctly:
     The article did a good job of including context and comments from both Israelis and Palestinians, and in describing the gruesome scene of the terror attack.
And then it gives the essential issue that conservatives face when dealing with the MSM:
     But throughout the article is the recurrent problem the Washington Post has with whitewashing terror groups by describing them euphemistically.
The article studiously avoids using the word "terrorist". Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group formally listed as a terror organization by the U.S. State Department and Israel, is referred to twice as a group with a military wing, once as a group with a military leader, and once as having a military presence. Terror attacks are called "operations" and "offensive operations," as well as "attacks" and "suicide bombings". The only time they are described as "terror" attacks is when Israeli officials are being quoted.
Islamic Jihad is a terror group that intentionally targets non-combatants. It is not a "military" group representing a state who attack only combatants or who abide by internationally accepted rules of war. Israeli non-combatants are not legitimate "military" targets.
There follows a short list of “Action Items” that readers can take to make the WaPo aware that we’re aware.

Then there’s the update, five day after the story.
     UPDATE: Nov. 1, 2005: Post Editor and Ombudsman Agree Photo Was Poor Choice
In her Oct. 30 column, the new Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell notes that she
got a number of phone calls and letters from readers distressed over The Post's use Thursday of a small picture of the grieving mother of the suicide bomber who killed at least five people and himself in Hadera, Israel. They were incensed that the Post would highlight her grief and not the sorrow of those who lost loved ones in the bombing. The paper's Middle East coverage often draws criticism, most of which I don't agree with, but in this case I side with the readers. And so does [ executive editor] Downie.
In contrast, Foreign Editor Keith Richburg responded to numerous letter-writers with a note not about the substance of their concerns, not about the bad news judgment involved in publishing the photo of the bomber's mother, but only with a question about how they had heard about the photo. He appears to be more concerned with assessing if the complaints are part of a letter-writing campaign than whether the complaints are valid.
This is an invaluable site. I suggest you bookmark it so you can keep up with the on-going atrocities. Meanwhile, please send us anything your hear on NPR: time, date, station, and a paraphrase if you don’t have the full quote. You’ll be doing us all a public service. Perhaps our voices added together will create another hassle when the next funding cycle starts.

For me, I’m going to start writing our two “local” stations and let them know why they get no money from me. No email, just a nice, long, friendly snail mail.


Papa Ray said...

Here is another blogger that keeps track of media mess-ups.


Papa Ray

NotClauswitz said...

Good work Andrew and thanks Grantmann for the bookmark.