Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicanery, thy name is Reuters

Reuters correspondents, who are obliged to uphold the Reuters Trust Principles of bias-free reporting, have a nasty and highly unethical habit of using sources to give voice to their (the correspondents) own views.  They do this a couple of different ways: first, they typically choose to interview or cite only those officials who share their views.  Second, when citing officials who hold contrary views, they fabricate, actually putting words in the mouths of the source.

In a story on the Israeli army's preparations for a possible September breach of the country's borders by Palestinian "refugees" comparable to what occurred in May and June, Dan Williams quotes cites manufactures language drawn from an interview with an Israeli officer:
TEL AVIV, July 19 (Reuters) - Israel will reinforce its border defences in anticipation of protests by supporters of a Palestinian state in September and could target protest leaders with live ammunition, a military commander said on Tuesday.
Palestinians hope the United Nations will vote in September to recognise a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip but Israel has lobbied against the move and it could face a U.S. veto in the Security Council.

The officer said there must be no repeat of the events of May 15, when scores of Palestinian refugees and sympathisers, some hurling rocks, crossed a fenced and mined armistice line on the occupied Golan Heights.

"It is the military's duty to defend the country's borders and sovereignty, and that is what we will do," said the commander, who declined to be identified.

Although the officer said Israel did not know how ordinary Palestinians might react in September, he envisaged a scenario of "mass-disturbances resulting from dismay at this-or-that U.N. decision not being felt on the ground".

Israeli soldiers killed 13 people during the May 15 protest and Syria accused Israeli forces of killing 23 others on June 5 when protesters surged against the fortified boundary fence on Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Troops were now being equipped and trained with "less lethal" means for use on the boundaries with the Syrian Golan, Lebanon, occupied West Bank or Gaza, the commander said.
Did an Israeli officer actually refer to the "Syrian Golan" or the "occupied West Bank"?  We don't think so.  That would be a bit like an American military official referring to the "Mexican Rockies" or "occupied Tejas".

It's far more likely that Williams has simply fabricated this citation in an effort to reinforce, in the minds of his readers, these loaded characterizations and lead his audience to believe that Israelis view these territories the same way he views them, i.e., as sovereign to the Arabs.

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