Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reuters publishes "FACTBOX" on Mahmoud Abbas; omits a few salient facts

When an individual, country, or event has been making recent news, Reuters will often publish what it headlines as a "FACTBOX" providing what it deems as important biographical and/or background info on the subject. With President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to quit his leadership role in the Palestinian Authority, Reuters seeks to enlighten us with "key facts" on Abbas' early life, political career, and accomplishments. We learn for example, that:

Also known by his nickname Abu Mazen, Abbas, 74, is a veteran of the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

The notion of Palestinian "struggle" has little to do of course, with the desire for statehood but is actually an Arab Muslim euphemism for the effort to exterminate the Jewish people:

Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.

-- Fatah Constitution

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.

-- Hamas Charter

And "nickname" in Reuters' parlance is a euphemism for a nom de guerre, which together with the effort to eradicate a Jewish national presence in the Middle East more accurately encapsulates Abbas' lifetime endeavors including:

1) writing a doctoral thesis denying the Holocaust and claiming collaboration between Zionists and the Nazis,
2) financing of the Palestinian terrorist attack and murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics,
3) refusing, as per his obligations under the RoadMap, to end incitement against Israel and Jews,
4) calling for the continuation of armed violence against Israel until the Palestinians get everything they want.

None of this very pertinent information is provided by Reuters in its sanitized bio of Abbas.

By contrast, here's how Reuters characterizes Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman with the same "FACTBOX" format:

Israel's next foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has rung alarm bells abroad with his policy toward Israel's Arab citizens

Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party...

The Soviet-born ultranationalist...

He questions the loyalties of Israel's Arab citizens and his anti-Arab rhetoric has won a large following beyond his Russian-speaking base. He once suggested Egypt's Aswan Dam might be bombed and last year he said the president of Israel's Arab peace partner could "go to hell".

Note the scaremongering, negative stereotyping, and inclusion of misleading and out-of-context quotations which Reuters scrupulously avoids in its comparatively glowing portrait of Abbas.

We think Reuters ought to spend some time reflecting on the transparent bias in its biographical reporting and in the spirit of journalistic integrity, consider conforming to the rules and regulations spelled out in its own Handbook of Journalism.

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