Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crispian Balmer defines the word "bias"

Thomson Reuters maintains a corporate governance charter called the Trust Principles.  Amongst other commitments to high ideals and lofty ethical values, the Trust Principles affirm:
That the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Thomson Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved.
It's Reuters systematic failure to uphold its commitment to freedom from bias that we often focus on at RMEW.  And here's a prime illustration...

In an op-ed on the Shalit deal, misleadingly labeled as "Analysis" so Reuters can syndicate the de facto opinion piece to hundreds of other media outlets, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer asserts:
The Palestinian Territories are split geographically and ideologically, with Gaza run by Hamas and the occupied West Bank run by President Mahmoud Abbas, who wants peace with Israel.
On what does Balmer base his claim that Abbas wants peace with Israel?  On the specious argument that, "Abbas has led Palestinian negotiating efforts for years".

To that we say, so what?

Abbas has frequently boasted that in his "negotiating efforts", he has made no concessions to the Israelis, and never will.

Is that evidence of someone who "wants peace with Israel"?


On the other hand, Balmer relies on anonymous "critics" (a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism) to claim:
His [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] many critics allege he has no intention of ever concluding a broad treaty, despite his often-repeated calls for talks.
So notwithstanding the fact that Abbas has refused to compromise in peace talks with Israel and is currently refusing even to negotiate, Balmer endorses him, unequivocally, as a man who wants peace.  At the same time, Netanyahu, who has already made unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians and repeatedly calls for peace talks, is cynically cast by Balmer as someone who does not want peace.

A perfectly logical argument -- coming from a partisan masquerading as an independent journalist.

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