Tuesday, May 17, 2011


After perhaps two to three decades of churning out anti-Israeli propaganda, is it possible to hold out hope that Reuters might ever break the addiction and take an honest, even-handed approach in its Middle East reporting?


Consider the latest piece from Palestinian parrot and Reuters correspondent Matt Spetalnick.  Speculating upon Barack Obama's upcoming speech on US Middle East policy, and in violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, Spetalnick takes an entirely Arab-ethnocentric perspective on the Israeli-Arab conflict:
By laying out his own vision for a "reset" with the region, Obama aims to counter criticism that he has been slow and inconsistent in dealing with an unprecedented wave of popular revolts that have upended decades of U.S. Mideast policy. But even as he reaches out to a wider Arab audience, he is likely to disappoint many with what will be left out -- fresh U.S. proposals for breaking the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians and getting them back to negotiations.
Clashes on Sunday on Israel's borders, where Israeli troops killed at least 13 Palestinian protesters, underscored the depth of Arab frustration over the decades-old conflict, which remains a central preoccupation in the region.
Spetalnick uses the catachresis "protesters" to willfully mislead readers into believing that the Arab mobs, bused to the Syrian, Lebanese, and Gazan borders with Israel and encouraged to rush and infiltrate those borders, were simply "protesters" in deep "frustration" unable to cope with their "preoccupation" over the conflict.  Spetalnick is so programmed to toe the Arab line, he completely ignores any Israeli preoccupation associated with being a country 9 miles wide at the neck, one that has barely survived multiple wars of annihilation waged against it by its Arab neighbors, and whose civilian population is under daily threat of terrorist attacks.

That's what we mean when we write that Reuters is in perpetual violation of its Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism promising "freedom from bias".

Spetalnick continues along this same vein with implicit jibes directed at former U.S. President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: 
Obama raised Arab expectations for a more active and even-handed U.S. role when he took office but the mood soured when he backed down from confronting Israel over settlement building in the occupied West Bank. His unmet pledge to shut the prison at Guantanamo also has drawn Muslim criticism.
While Obama is expected to recommit broadly to seeking Israeli-Palestinian peace in his speech and during talks with Netanyahu on Friday, there are no plans to seek major Israeli concessions for now. Nor has the right-wing Israeli leader given any sign concessions would be forthcoming.
Spetalnick again ignores any perspective other than that of the Arabs: the United States under Bush was not "active" or "even-handed" in its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict; Israel must be "confronted" over Jewish settlements in the "occupied West Bank"; all attention is on "the right-wing" Netanyahu to make concessions, etc.

There is no mention that George Bush was the first U.S. President to publicly call for a Palestinian state and to encourage democratic elections in the territories (which brought Hamas to power); no mention that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") are entirely legal in international law; no mention that it has been Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who has consistently refused to make any concessions or even to engage in unconditional peace talks with Israel.

Spetalnick and Reuters are simply not constitutionally able to take an honest, even-handed approach in their Middle East reporting.  Constitutionally unable to "take no side; tell all sides".  Constitutionally unable to honor their Trust Principles or their Handbook.

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