Sunday, October 17, 2010

Palestinian public relations, courtesy of Tom Perry

If Reuters were true to its lofty Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, it would have long ago canned correspondent Tom Perry for his perennial gross violations of the same.

In a story on the Palestine Liberation Organization demanding a "map" of the international borders Israel and the US would like the Palestinians to recognize, Perry employs the propaganda technique of innuendo all the while flouting the Reuters Handbook with unnamed sources, loaded language, a lack of fairness, and the use of euphemisms:
He [Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu] said it would be a "trust-building step," while some Palestinian and Israeli commentators questioned whether the proposal was only a ploy to try to shift blame onto the Palestinians should the peace process collapse. 
The Palestinians ruled out the idea -- something they see as a major concession that would be tantamount to political suicide for a leadership whose credibility has already been badly damaged by the failure of past peace talks.
Note how Perry slyly incorporates anonymous "Palestinian and Israeli commentators" to serve as a beard for what amounts to his own suggestion that Netanyahu is operating in bad faith.  Perry then speaks on behalf of the Palestinians by characterizing what would be their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state -- resolved by the United Nations over sixty years ago -- as a "major concession" while omitting any balanced reference to Israel's unilateral and unprecedented concession to freeze Jewish building in the disputed territories.

Perry recycles his previously-employed euphemistic language to obfuscate Palestinian President Abbas' conditions for negotiations:
Abed Rabbo's demand for a map echoed Abbas's call for clear terms of reference for the peace talks.
As we noted at the time, Abbas' "clear terms of reference" for peace talks consisted of the demand that Israel concede, in advance of those talks, a Palestinian state on all land beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines.

Finally, Perry reports that Israel had in fact, provided the Palestinians with a map delineating borders during negotiations with Netanyahu's predecessor, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
Netanyahu's predecessor as prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has said he showed Abbas a map offering him 93.5 to 93.7 percent of the West Bank, with the difference made up by a proposed land swap of 5.8 percent and a safe-passage corridor between the territory and the Gaza Strip.
But in an illustration of the propaganda technique of card stacking, Perry fails to mention that despite that map and an extraordinary settlement offer from Olmert, Abbas and the Palestinians walked away from peace with Israel.

Afforded this information, readers might come away with a greater understanding of why this conflict, and its resolution, are not about "maps".

1 comment:

  1. very good analysis. it's the standard operating principle of the mainstream news media: frame the story as the palestinian david vs the israeli goliath. obviously goliath shd make concessions and david needs room to breath...