Sunday, June 6, 2010

A study in bias

Consider this story by Reuters correspondent Robin Pomeroy on Iran's suggestion today that it may provide a military escort for ships attempting to reach Gaza.  We'll cite Pomeroy and then provide the facts:
Any intervention by the Iranian military would be considered highly provocative by Israel which accuses Iran of supplying weapons to Hamas, the Islamist movement which rules Gaza.
This is not simply an accusation.  It's a fact that Hamas has fired dozens of Iranian-made Grad rockets and mortars into Israel.  Iran has also confirmed funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to Hamas.  Of course, it is possible that weapons launched against Israel have been supplied to Hamas by Iran via a third party like Syria.  But that is a distinction without a difference.

Pomeroy again:
Iran does not recognize the Israeli state and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has often predicted its imminent demise.
Ahmadinejad has not simply "predicted" the destruction of Israel; he has actively and repeatedly called for it.  Pomeroy is slyly playing down the Iranian threat to Israel by couching it in passive language.

Now, note Pomeroy's comparative handling of the belligerent parties' intentions in the following two paragraphs:
Last Monday Israeli troops killed nine activists on board one ship in a convoy trying to deliver aid to Gaza, sparking international outrage, especially in Muslim countries. 
Another ship was boarded on Saturday and pro-Palestinian activists have promised more as they challenge the blockade imposed four years ago with the stated aim of stopping arms getting to Hamas.
For Pomeroy (and by default, Reuters) it's a given that the intention of the Turkish-flagged ship was to deliver aid to Gaza.  This despite all of the evidence to the contrary.  On the other hand, Israel's intention of blocking weapons smuggling is one that is merely "stated" and thus, open to skepticism.

Pomeroy again:
Tehran says its nuclear program is for energy generation and medical purposes and calls its nuclear-armed adversaries hypocrites for trying to block its technological progress
Who is speaking here: Iran, or Pomeroy?  Note the lack of quotation marks around the accusation and particularly around the word "hypocrites".  Now compare with Reuters report last week on a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following condemnation of Israel's interception of the Turkish flotilla:
Israel calls Gaza blockade critics "hypocrites"
In the case of Iran, Reuters parrots the claim.  In the case of Israel, Reuters simply sneers.

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