Friday, November 13, 2009

An economy of words; an abundance of lies

In a news brief appearing this morning, Reuters reports on an incident occurring near a Gaza border crossing which led to the shooting death of a Palestinian by the Israel Defense Forces. In a story of only 255 words, the media company manages to embed a misleading assertion, a mischaracterization, one very odd almost certain factual error, and a single sentence containing a gross understatement, a red herring, and a one-sided false account.  First, the misleading assertion and mischaracterization:

The fatality was the first since August along the tense border of the coastal territory ruled by Hamas Islamists that has remained largely quiet since an Israeli offensive that ended in January.

We're not sure how Reuters would define "largely quiet"; however, as of October 14th 2009, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups had launched more than 250 rockets and mortars into Israel following the end of the Gaza war in January.  Reuters correspondents obviously have a very high tolerance for rockets -- particularly when they're landing on Israelis.

Reuters consistently mischaracterizes the war in Gaza as an "Israeli offensive", omitting any mention of the more than 3,000 rockets and mortars launched by Palestinian terror groups toward Israeli civilian communities in 2008 alone.

Next comes a very odd factual error:

Hamas police described those shot at on Friday as youths who had gone to the area near a Gaza border fence with Israel to hunt for dogs

Hunt for dogs??  We'll reserve further comment on this likely gaffe until Reuters inevitably updates its story.

Finally, following a report of a Palestinian Arab attempting to stab an Israeli policeman with a knife, there is this sentence of 34 words containing a gross understatement, a red herring, and a one-sided false account:

There were no reported injuries in the incident in Jerusalem, where tensions have led to sporadic protests in the past few weeks by Palestinians accusing Israel of allowing Jewish nationalists access to the holysite.

Sporadic "protests" in Reuters' parlance actually refers to Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks and mortar bricks at French and Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, as we noted here.  The entire statement represents a red herring as the Palestinian riots of over a month ago are wholly unrelated to the knifing incident today -- except to the extent that Palestinian violence directed at Jews is routine.  And Reuters offers only a Palestinian account of the cause of the earlier violence ("allowing Jewish nationalists access to the holysite"), an account which is false.

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