Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hezbollah says: "Polly wanna cracker"; Reuters says: "Polly wanna cracker"

In its reporting on the Middle East conflict, Reuters frequently parrots Arab rhetoric, providing no criticism, no analysis, and no balance.  This is not only lousy journalism, it's also a violation of Reuters' own code spelled out in its Handbook:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories [uh-huh, how often does Reuters refer to the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria as such?]. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles.
In a story today about Hezbollah calling on Egypt to cease construction of the subterranean wall it is building along the Gaza border, Reuters correspondent Mariam Karouny parrots Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.  Here's the Nasrallah quote first:
We call on the government in Egypt and the leadership to stop the wall and flooding the tunnels and to end the siege otherwise it should be condemned by all Arabs and the Muslims [italics, ours].
And here's Karouny:
Tensions between Egypt, a predominantly Sunni country, and Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group backed by Iran, have been running high since last year when Nasrallah accused Cairo of complicity with Israel in its siege of the Gaza strip [italics, ours].
Note the reiteration (sans quotation marks) of the very loaded expression, "siege".  Our desktop dictionary defines "siege" as "the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies".  Now, here's the latest report on the help and supplies -- food, fuel, desalination systems, and medical care -- provided by Israel to the Palestinians in Gaza:
Since the end of the IDF operation in Gaza (18 Jan 2009), 668,393 tons of aid and 100,645,680 liters of fuel have been delivered to the Gaza Strip.
On Dec. 21, 2009, six advanced water desalination systems were transferred to the Gaza Strip... The systems are planned to supply good quality drinking water to 40,000 citizens, and were installed as part of a sewage water treatment project in the northern Gaza Strip, which is coordinated by the Gaza CLA in collaboration with the international bodies working in the Gaza Strip and the relevant Palestinian authorities.
In 2009, ten thousand patients and their escorts were able to leave the Gaza Strip in order to receive medical treatment within Israel and the Judea and Samaria region.
 Ahem, quite a "siege".

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