Monday, January 31, 2011

Reuters, Mohamed ElBaradei, and the Muslim Brotherhood

With all eyes on the turmoil in Egypt and the possible overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Mohamed ElBaradei is increasingly being seen as the most likely successor to autocratic rule under Mubarak.  ElBaradei has called for Mubarak's ouster and offered to form a government in a power sharing arrangement with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

Reuters correspondents have a long history of penning obsequious stories about ElBaradei under whose watch, Iran's nuclear program made significant advances.  One of Reuters' favored techniques in its campaign to boost the former IAEA Chief and to simultaneously cast doubt on Iran's bellicose nuclear aspirations has been to selectively quote ElBaradei in his various and inconsistent assessments of Iran's nuclear activities.  We wrote about that here.

Reuters has also sought to sanitize the nature and objectives of the "conservative" Muslim Brotherhood and its offspring like Hamas.

If ElBaradei does indeed come to power in Egypt, particularly with the Muslim Brotherhood at his side, it will be interesting to see how Reuters correspondents spin this development and whether the agency continues to shield these players from criticism.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reuters reports on a revealing assurance by Hamas

In a story on the unrest in Egypt and concern that it may impact fuel supplies for the Gaza Strip, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports on an interesting assurance by Hamas:
A statement issued by Hamas officials tried to calm fears by saying that there was no shortage of any goods in the coastal strip but it did not deter drivers from filling their cars.
Hmm, we'll remember that the next time Hamas or Reuters complains about the deprivation being caused by the Israeli "blockade".

Friday, January 28, 2011

9 out of 9

That's the number of the paragraph out of the total number of story paragraphs where Reuters finally discloses the key facts surrounding the reported shooting of two Palestinians by Jewish settlers:
Jewish settlers shoot 2 Palestinians in West Bank
(Reuters) - Jewish Settlers shot two Palestinian men in the occupied West Bank on Friday, critically injuring one of them, the mayor of a Palestinian village and Israeli police said.
Palestinians said the incident in the village of Beit Ummar near Hebron was the second time they had come under fire from settlers in 24 hours. A 19-year-old was shot dead on Thursday near Nablus, further north.
An Israeli police spokesman said several Israelis who had been hiking in the area were being questioned in connection with the shooting. He said the settlers had "probably" been attacked by stone-throwing Palestinians and had opened fire on them.
Nasri Sabarna, the mayor of Beit Ummar, told Reuters dozens of settlers had entered his village and started shooting at houses on Friday morning, hitting two youths working on land nearby.
Palestinian medics said Fakhri Youssef, 17, had been shot in the head and was on a life support machine.
Violence in the West Bank has largely subsided in the past few years, but Israeli military officials have warned in private that the stalling of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians could stoke tensions and break the status quo.
U.S.-brokered peace efforts broke down last year after Israel refused to give way to Palestinian demands to freeze settlement building on occupied land.
On Thursday, Oday Kaddous, 19, was shot dead near the village of Iraq Burin near Nablus. His cousin Omar Kaddous accused settlers of killing him in an unprovoked attack.
Israeli media said footage from a military security camera showed an Israeli-looking man shooting in the air after Palestinians started throwing stones at him. He then fired directly at the group.
Only after describing the location of the incident employing the propaganda mantra "occupied West Bank"; citing anonymous Palestinian sources; linking the shooting to a previous shooting of a Palestinian; employing scare quotes to mock a statement by Israeli police; citing a Palestinian mayor's account of the incident; citing Palestinian medics; citing anonymous Israeli officials to suggest that violence may rise as a result of stalled peace talks which it is suggested have failed due to Israel's refusal to "freeze settlement building on occupied land"; providing further details on the previous shooting which includes citing the dead man's cousin accusing Jewish settlers of murdering him in cold blood -- only after that litany do Reuters correspondents Ali Sawafta and Maayan Lubell finally get around to disclosing that video footage of the incident evidences a group of Palestinians throwing rocks at an "Israeli-looking man" who first fires into the air and (when that fails to deter his attackers), at the group of Palestinians.

By that time of course, most readers have already moved on to the next piece of Reuters carefully contrived propaganda.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The fine art

Writing about the arrest of four Palestinians for the murder of an American woman and the attempted murder of her Israeli companion, Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell asserts:
Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens in and around the West Bank have become rare in the past few years. Stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have raised concern in the Jewish state that such attacks would increase.
Negotiations broke down last year over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to impose new curbs on settlement building in the West Bank, part of the territories where the Palestinians seek to establish a state.
Palestinian attacks have become "rare" perhaps relative to the heady days of the Palestinian intifada when over 1,000 Israelis were killed.  Still, scores of Israelis have been the victims of shootings, stabbings, and Palestinian bulldozer rage over the last few years.  The only thing preventing many more of these attacks has been the return to the territory by Israeli security forces.

Lubell doesn't explain any this of course, but does suggest that Palestinian violence may increase as a result of the fact that negotiations "broke down", which Lubell implies is Israel's fault.  That the Palestinians have doggedly refused to enter into peace talks with Israel absent further unilateral concessions by Netanyahu goes unmentioned.

We sometimes wonder whether there is a second Reuters Handbook, hitherto unknown and specifically authored for the agency's Jerusalem Bureau, which guides correspondents in the fine art of bullshit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hypocrisy, thy name is Reuters

In the immortal words of Reuters global news editor, Steven Jukes:
We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.
This is certainly the case when Israelis are blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers and Reuters correspondents routinely censor any use of the "T"-word in their stories, even when Israeli spokespeople specifically use the term.

Not so however, when innocents in other countries are murdered by terr*rists.  In a story about the suicide bombing in Russia Monday that killed 35 people entitled, "Putin vows revenge for suicide bombing", Reuters correspondents use variants of terrorist at least three times, all absent scare quotes:
President Dmitry Medvedev criticized law enforcement agencies and airport managers over the attack at the international arrivals hall at Domodedovo, a major international gateway to Russia, which killed at least eight foreigners.
"Everything must be done to find, expose and bring the bandits who committed this crime to court -- and the nests of these bandits, however deep they have dug in, must be liquidated," he told Federal Security Service (FSB) leaders, who are in charge of coordinating Russia's fight against terrorism...
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Medvedev on the phone, expressing condolences and "his strong condemnation of this outrageous attack on innocent civilians," the White House said. Obama also pledged to work with Russia to combat terrorism...
"Terrorism remains the main threat to the security of our state, the main threat to Russia, to all our citizens," Medvedev said. He said terrorist attacks increased last year, calling it "the most serious signal" for law enforcement.
Note that none of the three references are direct quotes; Reuters is doing the speaking.

Apparently for Reuters, those that murder Russians, Britons, Germans, Bulgarians, Kyrgyzstanis, Tajikistanis, Uzbekistanis or Ukrainians are terrorists, whereas those that murder Jews are freedom fighters.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reuters dilemma

There is no dilemma compared with that of the deep-sea diver who hears the message from the ship above, "Come up at once. We are sinking."
We can't think of a more apt way to describe the pickle Reuters correspondents find themselves in with the release of leaked documents supposedly detailing the substance of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  As we noted yesterday, the heavily coordinated position of Reuters correspondents in their torrent of stories since the release has been that the documents reveal the "substantial", "major", "big", "huge" "concessions" the Palestinian Authority was prepared to make in negotiations in order to arrive at a final settlement with Israel.  At the same time however, Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Cairo, accused Al- Jazeera of deliberately misleading viewers by mixing up Israeli proposals with Palestinian positions.
“This is shameful,” Abbas said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “These documents are designed to create confusion. I saw them [Al-Jazeera] broadcast things that they attributed to Palestinians.
In fact, these were Israeli [proposals].”...
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top PLO official closely associated with Abbas, accused Al-Jazeera of taking sentences out of context.
“The goal behind the publication of these documents, which are known to all our people, is to distort the Palestinian position at a time when the Palestinian leadership is leading a conflict with the occupation in various international forums,” he said. 
Abed Rabbo also accused Al-Jazeera of waging a well-organized campaign to distort the image of the Palestinians, and charged that this coincided with another campaign being waged by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discredit the PA leadership and convince ordinary Palestinians that their representatives don’t care about their interests. In addition, Abed Rabbo alleged that the campaigns targeted Abbas personally because of his refusal to negotiate with Israel while construction was continuing in the settlements...

Former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, whose name appeared in the leaked documents as one of the negotiators who had offered to cede control of most of east Jerusalem to Israel, called for an emergency meeting of the PA leadership and the Arab League to discuss Al-Jazeera’s “fabrications” and “false accusations.” 
A Fatah spokesman accused the network of trying to politically assassinate Abbas and vowed to foil its “conspiracy.”

The spokesman claimed that the documents leaked to Al-Jazeera were forgeries.
Yes, Reuters correspondents are indeed faced with an unenviable dilemma: to continue with their long-standing public relations campaign on behalf of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority by insisting in story after story that these players are serious and laudable peace partners for Israel, offering "extraordinary concessions" but stymied by Israeli "instransigence", or, that in fact the entire lot of them -- Abbas, Rabbo, Qurei, and the rest of the crew in the PA and Fatah -- are simply lily-livered and dissimulating politicians willing to sell-out their "people" for a few pieces of silver while protecting their own arses when the shite hits the fan.

Which will it be Reuters?  The ship is quickly sinking.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reuters spin on leaked Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

Oh, let's get straight to the point: Reuters is an Arab advocacy media machine, the largest in the world, firmly in the Palestinian Arab camp, and hostile to Jewish nationalism.  The agency's correspondents have proven time and time again that they will distort, suppress, and lie about the facts when these don't support their politics, fabricate facts when they think they can get away with it, employ every imaginable propaganda device to manipulate and deceive their audience, and happily violate their employer's corporate governance Charter and Handbook of ethical guidelines in order to advance their collective agenda.

Reuters is very concerned that the Palestinian Arabs have been unable to coerce Israel -- via war, terrorism, and political pressure -- into submitting to a 23rd Arab-Muslim state, sworn to Israel's destruction, and in control of the Jews' 3,500-year-old capital and holy sites.  So, the agency has stationed over 70 correspondents, editors, photographers, and managers in Jerusalem tasked with exploiting Reuters immense distribution network to disseminate its pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel message.

The latest chapter in that campaign is the spin associated with the publication by Al Jazeera yesterday of leaked documents purporting to reflect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs over a ten-year period.  Reuters' predictable, and coordinated, position on these documents -- here, here, here, here, here, and here -- is that the Palestinians were willing to make great concessions to Israel for the sake of peace and that these concessions went unrequited by Israel.

That these "concessions" centered on the Palestinians "permitting" Israel to keep Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern portion of Jerusalem in a peace deal, something every Israeli government, every US administration, and the Palestinians themselves have previously acknowledged would have to occur for Israel to submit to a Palestinian state, doesn't appear to have entered into Reuters' calculations.  This is particularly the case for two of Reuters most egregious perpetrators, Tom Perry and Crispian Balmer:
Equally sobering for the Palestinian people, who want to create a state on land Israel seized in a 1967 war, is the fact that Israel offered nothing in return for the concessions and turned down their offer, saying it did not go far enough.
Only in the Orwellian world of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau could suing for peace and surrendering land to an aggressor which has repeatedly tried, and failed, to destroy the victor's country -- something no other prevailing nation has ever done, been asked to do, or would ever do -- be considered offering "nothing in return".

Douglas Hamilton refers readers to boycott Israel website

In a story that attempts to conflate Israel with apartheid South Africa while feigning impartial news reporting, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton suggests that those boycotting Israel in an effort to delegitimize the country are doing so with "increasing effect".  Hamilton's evidence for the success of the movement?
Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, Elvis Costello, Gorillaz Sound System, the Klaxons, the Pixies, Faithless, Leftfield, Tindersticks, Meg Ryan and film director Mike Leigh have all decided not to go to Israel in recent months.
While Israel can probably survive absent the "Sneaky Feelings" Costello, Hamilton decides to lend a hand to the boycott effort by using his platform as a reporter for the largest news agency in the world to refer readers to one of the boycott advocacy websites.  We kid you not.  If this isn't enough to get Hamilton terminated for a material breach of the Reuters Trust Principles, we don't know what will.

Hamilton suggests that Israelis believe the world is biased against them, and that this belief is irrational, and to "prove" his point, he cites an Israeli television show which parodies Israeli claims of global antisemitism.  Gee, we have no idea where Jews would get the impression that antisemitism is endemic or that this manifests today in irrational hatred of Israel.

All of this is reminiscient of an exchange we had with Hamilton back in July of 2009 after he wrote a nearly hysterical piece accusing Benjamin Netanyahu of "disingenuousness" in a speech which took to task, the hypocrisy and antisemitism of those (like Hamilton) who would prevent Jews from living in Jerusalem.  We noted in an email reply to Hamilton that whereas Reuters apparently doesn't have a problem with British pensioners building condominiums in Gibraltar or the Turkish government providing housing for its citizens in Cypress, his outrage over Jews living in their 3,500-year-old capital, supported by international law, does smack of double-standards.

Unfortunately for the increasingly erratic Hamilton, the "BDS" (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaign against Israel is not going particularly well.  However, the movement does have the potential to damage the country and as there is no comparable BDS campaign against Turkey, China, Russia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia or many other countries which, unlike Israel, are actually engaged in gross human rights violations, political and religious oppression, and illegal occupations of neighboring states, one has to admire Hamilton's towering chutzpah in mocking Israelis who feel that boycott efforts singling out the one Jewish state do indeed reflect antisemitism.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Might as well face it: you're addicted to lies

The Turkel Commission has released a 296-page report on the Gaza flotilla incident last May and found that Israel's actions were in accordance with international law.  Amongst other interesting findings, the panel, which included David Trimble, notes (page 180) the following about the Turkish ship where the violence occurred:
It should be noted that during the searches conducted on the Mavi Marmara, no humanitarian supplies were found.
Of course, this is still not sufficient to deter Reuters from repeating a mendacious propaganda mantra the agency has become fond of employing in (at current count) 278 280 retellings of the incident published on its website:
(Reuters) - An Israeli inquiry cleared the government and military on Sunday of wrongdoing in the bloody seizure of a Turkish aid ship that tried to breach the Gaza blockade, saying passengers were to blame for the violence.
In a caption under a photo of the Mavi Marmara, Reuters repeats the lie:
Turkish cruise ship Mavi Marmara, carrying pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza, leaves from Sarayburnu port in Istanbul May 22, 2010.
In his story, correspondent Dan Williams also employs the propaganda technique of card stacking, deliberately withholding from readers the group identity, history, and associations of the jihadists "activists" participating in the violence on-board the ship.

Can't have the audience knowing too many of the facts, can we Dan?

Friday, January 21, 2011

France cowers after Minister is attacked in Gaza. Reuters writes of "liberation" of Palestinian prisoners

In Gaza today, the convoy of the French Foreign Minister was attacked by an angry Palestinian mob following her meeting yesterday with the father of kidnapped Israeli, Gilad Shalit.  Palestinians were reportedly incensed that the French Minister had the audacity to call for Hamas to release Shalit or at a minimum, to allow the Red Cross to visit him, which, in violation of every tenet of international law, Hamas has refused to do.  During the meeting, Shalit's father apparently referred to the kidnapping as a "war crime" and Palestinians were immediately driven into a frenzy mistakenly thinking the French Foreign Minister had made this comment.

The Palestinians have nothing to fear however, as the government of France immediately rolled over issued a statement indicating that the Foreign Minister had been "misquoted by Israeli media".

In the mean time, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer writing about the ongoing attempt by German mediators to broker a deal with Hamas to release Shalit refer to the... wait for it... "liberation" of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners Hamas has demanded in exchange.  One of those prisoners incidentally, is Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to five life terms for murder, whom Reuters has in the past, characterized as "an activist... seen by some as a Palestinian Nelson Mandela".

As usual, Reuters peculiar choice of language reveals everything one could ever wish to know about the personal political views of its correspondents and editors.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mendacity, thy name is Reuters

In a story on Arab nations submitting a draft resolution which asks the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), Reuters correspondent Louis Charbonneau asserts the following:
The draft uses language that the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- have used in previous statements on settlements.
It says that "Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
So, has the Quartet ever issued a statement declaring settlements in the territories "illegal"?  The answer is no.  And the reason, is that per League of Nations and United Nations Security Council resolutions, Jewish settlements anywhere west of the Jordan River in the original Mandate are entirely legal.

Charbonneau is lying -- and this isn't the first time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nidal al-Mughrabi still lying or clueless

In a story about Hamas launching a program to rebuild 1,000 homes in the Gaza Strip, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi wonders aloud where Hamas is getting its funding:
Hamas, shunned by the West for refusing to renounce violence, declined to disclose the project's cost or the source of its funding. International donations toward reconstruction in Gaza have been held up by Hamas's split with the Palestinian Authority controlling the West Bank...
A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks quoted Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as saying Iran was giving Hamas $25 million a month but Egypt was preventing funds from entering Gaza. Iran says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.
Er, no.  Iran admitted as long ago as 2007 that it was bankrolling Hamas.

Will someone please get Nidal a newspaper?

UPDATE 1:30 PM: This is not the first time al-Mughrabi has perpetuated this myth.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rhetoric to bend the mind

At RMEW, we focus on the use of language by the propagandist (Reuters) to consciously and unethically coerce readers to adopt a point of view of the propagandist's choosing.  The specific rhetoric employed, the connotations associated with that rhetoric, and the reader emotions elicited typically reveal the propagandist's own view and agenda.

Take the following cursory biography of Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak written by Crispian Balmer:
Factbox: Israel's Barak quits party, stays center-stage

(Reuters) - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has broken away from his center-left Labor Party and created a new parliamentary force which will almost certainly remain allied to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
His move follows months of squabbling within the once all-powerful Labor Party, with some senior members challenging his leadership and many supporters unhappy over his close ties with the right-wing Netanyahu.
Here are some facts about Barak.
* As Israel's prime minister from 1999 to 2001, Barak held peace talks with Syria that failed to reach a deal on the future of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. He made an unsuccessful attempt to achieve peace with the Palestinians after they began an uprising in 2000.
* Born in 1942 in an Israeli kibbutz, Barak served as a career soldier and rose through the ranks to become chief of the armed forces in 1991. He is Israel's most decorated soldier.
* Barak took part -- along with Netanyahu -- in the 1972 rescue by Israeli commandos of hostages on a [             ] hijacked Sabena airliner at Tel Aviv's international airport.
* Barak holds an undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics and a post-graduate degree in systems analysis from Stanford University in the United States.
* As defense minister in the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Barak was an architect of Israel's 2008/2009 offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
* In the Netanyahu government, Barak has repeatedly insisted that the administration was serious about reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians. He is also believed to have been active in planning operations to combat Iran's nuclear program.  [emphasis ours]
First, note how Reuters seeks to establish an image of unbiased, authoritative reporting with the presumptuous "Factbox" format.  No subjectivity here, just unvarnished, unquestionable truth.

Whereas Balmer refers to Barak as breaking away from his "center-left" political party, the Israeli Prime Minister is characterized literally as an object of a more extreme political persuasion, "the right-wing Netanyahu".  Moreover, we have never seen Reuters use similarly hackneyed political tags to label Palestinian Arab leaders, other than "moderate".

In an effort to sanitize Palestinian violence, Balmer then refers to the Palestinian terror war, which lasted more than five years and cost thousands of lives on both sides, with the euphemistic and Arab-ethnocentric term "uprising".  This, a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism which specifically proscribes against the use of such hollow and biased rhetoric.

By contrast, Balmer casts the Israeli military response to thousands of Palestinian rockets fired into Israeli civilian communities between 2002 and 2008 as an "offensive".  

In his discussion of Barak's participation in an Israeli rescue of a hijacked airliner, Balmer strategically omits mention of who, precisely, was responsible for the hijacking: the Palestinians.  Such a disclosure obviously would not reflect well on them.

And finally, Balmer violates the Reuters Handbook yet again, by employing the word "insisted" to invite reader skepticism as to whether the Israeli government is genuinely committed to a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Taken together, these rhetorical devices transform a story of less than 300 words into a powerful, yet nearly subliminal advocacy message on behalf of the Palestinians.

UPDATE 12:40 PM: Mendacious astrology freak, Allyn Fisher-Ilan regurgitates some of the same rhetoric in her "factbox".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Douglas Hamilton goes off his meds

Demonstrating once again why Reuters is the object of so much criticism and the butt of so many jokes about "unbiased" reporting, correspondent Douglas Hamilton opens up with his feelings about Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.  A few choice excerpts from Hamilton's "news" story:
Some leaders would have fired him months ago for insubordination. But Avigdor Lieberman, denounced by critics as the Jewish Joe McCarthy, just wraps himself tighter in the flag...
... the abrasive scourge of "bleeding heart" peaceniks on Friday explained his lengthening enemies list...
Analysts say this explains a flagrantly maverick act, which has included telling the United Nations that Middle East peace is a distant dream, whatever [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu may say, and promoting a "loyalty oath" as a test to flush out the unpatriotic...
Critics say Netanyahu tolerates Lieberman -- who lives in a settlement in the occupied West Bank -- at a cost to Israel's image, issuing limp responses to his verbal offensives that fall short of political disavowal...
Likud is "not the dictatorship of one opinion", he told the minister publicly, in a jibe at the democractic credentials of Lieberman's party, which critics say enjoys the unthinking support of one million of his fellow Russian-speaking Israelis...
Pundits suspect Lieberman's real aim is to prove to Netanyahu he can outflank him among an electorate that has moved steadily to the right, and so must be kept in the fold, or else.
Along with insults spewed at Lieberman, the Israeli Prime Minister, and the "unthinking" one million Russian-speaking Israelis, note how Hamilton deflects responsibility for his own hyperbolic editorializing to anonymous "analysts", "critics" and "pundits", a clear violation of the Reuters Handbook.

Apparently, Douglas Hamilton is mad as hell and not going to take it any more.  We feel for ya, Doug.

RMEW wins a round; Reuters "adapts" racist rhetoric

In our post just below, we noted Reuters use of the racist and anachronistic appellation, Arab East Jerusalem, designating the Old City of Jerusalem where Jews were driven out by Arab armies in 1948-49, their homes gutted, synagogues turned to rubble, and cemeteries desecrated.  Of course, Reuters doesn't provide the historical context under which Jerusalem became (overnight) "Arab East Jerusalem" -- a trophy name celebrating the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the city.  

Reuters responds to our criticism by repeating the phrase in another story about Israel considering a plan to build homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.  But note the artful adaptation:
Meir Margalit told Reuters the Jerusalem city planning commission was set to consider on January 24 the building plans for Gilo, an urban settlement built on land Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed to Jerusalem.
"It is another nail in the peace process's coffin," Margalit, a member of the left-wing opposition party Meretz, said about the project, which seemed certain to draw Palestinian and international condemnation.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week denounced the demolition of a derelict hotel in mostly Arab East Jerusalem to make way for 20 homes for Jews in a settlement project. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded publicly by saying Jews had a right to live anywhere in Jerusalem.
Reuters converts the word Arab from part of a proper noun ("Arab East Jerusalem") to an adjective by inserting the adverb "mostly"!  The agency is now ostensibly describing the city in demographic terms rather than with racist rhetoric.

Still, we'll take the points.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Serial liar and racist Tom Perry back from his holiday

Reuters correspondent Tom Perry is back from an extended holiday and obviously feeling reinvigorated, he returns to his long tradition of lies and racism targeting the Jews of Israel.  In a story about Arab businessmen investing in Jerusalem, Perry sycophantically parrots Reuters' deep-pocketed Arab clientele, referring to the eastern portion of Jerusalem, the Old City where Jews were ethnically cleansed by the Arab Legion following Israel's War of Independence in 1948, with the ahistorical and racist misnomer "Arab East Jerusalem".  This, in a transparent bid to displace and reassign ownership of Jerusalem, a city built by the Jews and only ever sovereign to a Jewish state, to the descendants of Arab invaders and colonizers.

Perry next compares the business and economic climate in the Palestinian capital of Ramallah with that of Jerusalem:
For many, it has been easier to invest in Ramallah, the nearby West Bank city governed by the Palestinian Authority. Lower taxes and cheaper labor add to the business case. Ramallah is booming, thanks largely to Western donor support.  By contrast, economic life in East Jerusalem's walled old city and nearby Arab districts, home to some 350,000 Palestinians, has been suffocated by the impact of the barrier built by Israel during the last Intifada, or uprising.
Perry is lying here, inflating the Arab population of greater Jerusalem by 40 percent and asserting that the economy in the eastern portion of the city has been "suffocated" by the security fence, built by Israel to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching the civilian population.  In fact, Jewish districts in eastern Jerusalem lag the country in economic growth as well and the percentage of Arab households with employed persons (76.1%) is actually higher than that of Jewish households (66.8%).  The relatively high rate of unemployment and poverty in Jerusalem is due to a multitude of complex factors, not the least of which is the large Haredi population in the city, 70 percent of whom choose religious studies over work.  And of course, if the Palestinian Arabs wish for Israel to remove the security barrier, they simply have to choose peace over terror.

Having embraced the Arab-designated name for the eastern portion of Jerusalem in violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, Perry then embraces Adnan al-Husseini as the "Palestinian Authority-appointed governor of Jerusalem":
"Jerusalem should not just be the focus of songs and poetry. Today, Jerusalem is about work. People who want to protect Jerusalem must work in it. Israel is working hand over fist and putting in billions. The Arab nation must spend more," he said.
Al-Husseini is actually not the "governor" of Jerusalem, but rather Palestinian president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas' adviser on Jerusalem affairs.  And although Perry uncritically parrots Husseini suggesting that only Israel is investing heavily in Jerusalem, in fact, the "Arab nation" is quite active in that regard, having poured hundreds of million of dollars into illegal construction.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Non sectarian or non sequitur?

Writing about the political chaos in Lebanon following the resignation of all Hezbollah-affiliated government ministers, Reuters correspondent Mariam Karouny slips in this amusing whopper and non-sequitur:
Hezbollah portrays itself as spearheading Islamic resistance to Israel, not as a sectarian group.
Our desktop dictionary defines sectarian as:

1. of or pertaining to sectaries or sects.
2. narrowly confined or devoted to a particular sect.
3. narrowly confined or limited in interest, purpose, scope, etc. 

Hezbollah, a Shiite group, has previously done battle with the Sunni community in Lebanon and incites for genocide against the Jews.

But for Mariam Karouny, the group's image is one of simply "spearheading Islamic resistance to Israel" (note the Arab euphemism for murder) and not sectarian.

This is what happens when journalists learn their craft under the tutelage of Chris Patten.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reuters quite sure on Israeli UNSC violations. On Lebanese violations, agency hasn't a clue

In a story on the Lebanese prime minister meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to urge the UN to pressure Israel on a variety of fronts, mendacious Reuters correspondent Louis Charbonneau is sufficiently confident of Israeli violations of UNSC resolution 1701 to cite them as such, but apparently completely in the dark about Lebanon's violations of the same:
In a one-hour meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a New York hotel, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri insisted on the "full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701," a member of Hariri's delegation told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 halted hostilities in the Israeli-Hezbollah war in 2006 and banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the U.N.-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.
It also called on Israel to halt unauthorized flights over Lebanese territory, though the United Nations says the Jewish state regularly sends aircraft over Lebanon.
Note how Charbonneau accurately cites UNSC 1701 but is mute on whether Lebanon is actually abiding by the resolution.  Charbonneau seems to have forgotten his own report from a year ago on the discovery by UN peacekeepers of hundreds of pounds of explosives just within the Lebanon border with Israel as well as scores of other reports documenting the tens of thousands of missiles supplied to Hezbollah in violation of UNSC resolution 1701, UNSC resolution 1559, and UNSC resolution 1680.

Charbonneau apparently suffers from the same infirmity of selective amnesia as his colleagues at Reuters.  Must be something in the water cooler.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jeffrey Heller forgets a little something

One of the most pernicious forms of propaganda is known as card stacking or selective omission.  Here, the propagandist deliberately omits certain key facts or other information that would otherwise provide his audience with a more complete understanding of a situation and be able thus, to form an independent opinion free of manipulation by the propagandist.

Take for example, a story by Reuters Jerusalem Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller on Israel's redevelopment of the Shepherd Hotel compound.  Heller proffers a cursory history of the subject property as follows:
In the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, bulldozers tore into the decaying hotel built in the 1930s for Muslim grand mufti Haj Amin Husseini, who fought the British and Zionists and became a World War Two ally of Hitler.
A project to replace the building with a block of 20 apartments was approved by Israel's Jerusalem city hall in 2009...
The hotel was declared "absentee property" by Israel after it captured and annexed East Jerusalem. The title was transferred to an Israeli firm, which sold it in 1985 to Irving Moskowitz, a Florida bingo king and patron of Jewish settlers.
Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Authority-appointed mayor of Jerusalem, said knocking down the historic building was an "act of barbarism."
His family claim ownership of the property and had been using the Israeli courts to challenge the steps that had led to its sale.
Heller leaps from the 1930s when the structure was originally built for Palestinian Nazi collaborator and uncle to Yasser Arafat, Haj Amin al-Husseini, to the year 1967 when the hotel came into Israeli hands following the Six-Day War.  Omitted from Heller's synopsis, are a few salient details:
When the British Mandate government deported him [al-Husseini], the building was confiscated and turned into a military outpost for the British Army. At the end of the period of the British Mandate, the building was transferred to the ownership of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which expanded the original structure without affecting it, and the building served as the Shepherd Hotel.
Following the Six Day War, the hotel became the property of the Government of Israel. It was used by the Ministry of Justice and as a district courthouse.
On November 5 1985, C and M properties purchased the building and surrounding land from the Government of Israel. With the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987, the Border Police leased the building and stayed there for about 15 years before moving to their new building alongside Highway One.
Note that during the entire period, 1948 to 1967, during which time the property was in the hands of, first, the British and then the King of Jordan, there was absolutely no dispute by Adnan Husseini or anyone else over ownership.  Only after Israel took possession of the compound did Husseini and the Palestinians become incensed and seek to obtain title.

Heller also uncritically parrots Husseini's assertion that Israel is "knocking down a historic building" as "an act of barbarism".  Actually, the developers have agreed to retain a portion of the original structure for historic preservation purposes.  We think this an extraordinarily charitable gesture; after all, how many civilized people would object to the razing of a derelict hotel built for a Nazi-collaborator who once beseeched:
"Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion.  This saves your honor.  God is with you".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A tale of two tales

Compare the following two headlines from stories published by Reuters on its website today: 

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian
in West Bank
 
Gaza mortar shell wounds two men
at Israeli farm

In the first headline, Reuters clearly identifies both parties to the incident: a Palestinian is shot by Israelis.  In the second headline, two men are wounded by a mortar shell apparently fired by someone named "Gaza".  It's not until the 4th paragraph of a seven paragraph story written by correspondents Ori Lewis and Nidal al-Mughrabi that we learn the identity of the perpetrator of the violence, Islamic Jihad, and even here, there is no mention that this is a Palestinian group.

But Dean Wright, Reuters Global Editor for Ethics, Innovation and News Standards, advises us to "be honest and transparent with your audience".

Proverb: the counsel you would have another keep, first keep yourself

Regular readers of RMEW will be familiar with the Reuters Trust Principles and the agency's Handbook of Journalism.  We refer to these frequently to illustrate the way Reuters correspondents regularly violate their own corporate governance charter and ethical guidelines with patent partisanship and skewed reporting.

Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards for Reuters.  On the Reuters website, Wright's bio reads:
"He leads the process of reviewing, establishing and encouraging adherence to standards in Thomson Reuters journalism and works with editors to promote innovation. He writes a regular column and works with Editor in Chief David Schlesinger in maintaining the editorial relationship with the Reuters trustees and upholding and promoting the Reuters Trust Principles."
We recently discovered two interesting videos of Wright talking about online journalism ethics and the Reuters handbook, respectively.



Friday, January 7, 2011

Independent news agency or dishonest political advocate?

Reuters' many stories disparaging the current Israeli government reflect nothing less than the agency's contempt for democracy as the Jewish people seek to protect their lives, land, traditions, and national rights in the face of a relentless effort to drive them from the Middle East.  Reuters is not merely engaged in political advocacy in this regard but in crafty chicanery as well. 

Note how in the following story, correspondent Dan Williams slyly leads his audience from what would be a straightforward report on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu being interrupted by bereaved relatives during a memorial speech, to innuendo suggesting, falsely, that the Netanyahu government has been subject to regular public censure, to an entirely unrelated and specious reference asserting that major powers have rebuked Netanyahu for the collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians:
(Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's memorial speech for those killed in Israel's worst-ever wildfire was disrupted on Wednesday when bereaved relatives shouted for his interior minister's ouster.
Bodyguards briefly sheltered Netanyahu as a few dozen hecklers surged toward him and others stormed out of the event at Beit Oren, a kibbutz at the epicentre of last month's Carmel forest blaze in which 44 people, mostly rescue personnel, died.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who as the official responsible for Israel's fire services bore the brunt of public outrage at the disaster, left the hall after the first outbursts against him. Netanyahu then resumed his speech.
"My heart is with you," he said. "I understand the pain."
The upset was a fresh public rebuke for Netanyahu's rightist coalition government, in which Yishai's Shas, a party run by rabbis, is junior partner. Many secular Israelis have long opposed Shas policies on welfare and other core social issues.
But the broad-based government has weathered such domestic censure as well as criticism from world powers trying to break a deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that followed Netanyahu's refusal to renew a freeze on West Bank settlements.
Indeed, despite an approval rating of about 38 percent, the latest poll shows the Israeli public supporting the Netanyahu government by nearly two-to-one over opposition leader Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party.  And although Interior Minister Eli Yishai is not popular, the same poll found that if Aryeh Deri headed Shas, the party would win 15 seats in the Israeli parliament, compared to the current 11.

Williams goes on to provide not a shred of evidence for his assertion that "world powers" have criticized Netanyahu for his stance on the settlement freeze.  In fact, following numerous failed attempts to persuade the Palestinians to continue in direct peace talks, the US formally dropped its request for an extension of the freeze stating that "[we] have determined a moratorium extension at this time will not provide the best basis for direct negotiations".

Though Williams and Reuters work tirelessly, with deceit and malice, to demonize the Israeli government and its policies, the Israeli public apparently takes a somewhat different view.  And this includes a recognition of who, precisely, is to blame for the "deadlock" in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The new year, same as the old year

Of one thing we can be certain: Reuters correspondents have not made any New Year's resolutions giving up their addiction to injecting anti-Israel propaganda into their stories.  In a piece on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev canceling his visit to Israel, Douglas Hamilton tosses in this bit of vintage 2010 boilerplate:
Direct talks began in September between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and [Palestinian President] Abbas. But the process foundered in a matter of weeks over Israel's refusal to extend its freeze on building at Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Like his colleagues at Reuters, Hamilton blames Israel, and only Israel, for the collapse of negotiations.  There is no mention of the fact that Abbas tarried for nine and a half months of the original ten-month building moratorium, trying to extract further unilateral concessions from Netanyahu before agreeing to talk.  No mention of the fact that Abbas told his party that he would not make a single concession in negotiations with Israel.  And no mention of Abbas' adamant refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as did the United Nations 63 years-ago, in exchange for a Jewish construction freeze in the territory.  These are glaring omissions clearly intended to mislead and manipulate readers into adopting Hamilton's personal pro-Palestinian political views and as such, they represent an egregious violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism and the company's Trust Principles.

Hamilton also adds to the three-year running total of 1,130 Reuters stories (over one per day) employing the propaganda mantra, "occupied West Bank", so named in part, following Israel's liberation of the territory from Jordanian occupation in 1967 and in part, following Arab ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities from the territory in the previous Arab-Israeli war.  Hamilton sycophantically serves Arab interests in this regard, refusing to balance the "West Bank" designation with Israel's appellation for the territory, Judea and Samaria.  This, a violation of Reuters social responsibility commitment:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles. Generic references to a specific country as “the homeland” for example, are unwelcome.
In 2009 and 2010, Douglas Hamilton repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles and professional standards of conduct for a purportedly unbiased news agency.  The question at hand, is whether Reuters will enable him to continue to display that contempt through 2011.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Past

In the run-up to Christmas each year, Reuters is notorious for penning stories that depict hardship and gloom amongst Palestinians living in and around Bethlehem.  And blaming that despondency on -- you guessed it -- Israel.  We commented on several of these stories in 2009, pointing out that Reuters employs its usual holiday bag of propaganda devices, deceit and omissions to maliciously smear the Jewish state.

This past Christmas however, we noticed a marked dearth of such stories from the usual suspects and we think we have discovered the reason why: a group of Jerusalem-based reporters were so fed-up with the annual insipid ritual, they started a Facebook group called Reporters against whiny christmas stories in Bethlehem:
A rebel group of Jerusalem-based reporters has reacted to the decade-long tradition of Bethlehem holiday stories by refusing to accept any holiday cheer this season.
Refusing editors' requests for "Christmas in the holy land" tales of Palestinian woe and tourist shows, the group has announced it will refrain from filing any articles until an actual news event occurs.
"We are doing this for the good of our readers. Who, if they have any memory whatsoever, will recall that we have written the exact same Bethlehem story for the past four years," said a spokesman for the group. He continued that the decision was also financial, hoping to save the dying newspaper industry the cost of commissioning a new piece when they could just rewrite the previous versions.
One journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, said the rebel group was trying to quell more extreme elements who called for a torching of all olive-wood products made in Bethlehem, and the expelling of shopkeepers who whined excessively.
 Heh!

Reuters still running interference for Iran

Over the seventeen months we have been commenting on Reuters Middle East coverage, the agency has published hundreds of articles on Iran and its nuclear program.  In all but a handful of these stories, Reuters correspondents refuse to come clean with respect to the overwhelming global consensus, led by the IAEA at the United Nations, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.  Rather, the agency hypnotically repeats one of its favorite propaganda mantras that merely the US and Israel, or alternatively, the amorphous "West" are making this claim:
Iran is at odds with major powers over its nuclear activities, which the United States and its allies suspect are aimed at producing a nuclear weapon. Tehran has denied the allegations and said it wants only to generate electricity.
Framed this way, the scope of Iran's nuclear program (as well as its serial violations of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) is always in murky waters, one of subjective debate, unsupported claim and denial, between Iran and her adversaries.

Reuters apparently hasn't a clue as to whether any independent evidence has emerged -- like this, this, or this -- to confirm American "suspicions".

Alternatively, why does Reuters, an agency that trumpets itself as the foremost source of "unbiased and reliable news", continue to deliberately conceal the facts about Iran's nuclear program?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reuters conceals true nature and history of Fatah

Reuters correspondents Ali Sawafta, Allyn Fisher-Ilan, and Mohammed Assadi begin the new year the same way they began the previous year -- by providing cover for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a story on Palestinian demands for the Quartet (the US, EU, Russia, and the UN) to draft a new "peace plan" which calls for a Palestinian state on all disputed land outside the 1949 Armistice Lines, the Reuters trio cite Abbas speaking on television yesterday:
Abbas, speaking on the anniversary of the foundation of Palestinians' mainstream Fatah movement, reiterated a demand for Israel to halt settlement building, the issue over which negotiations launched anew in September foundered just several weeks later.
In fact, the occasion was not the anniversary of the "foundation" of Fatah, but rather the 46th anniversary of the group's first attempted bombing attack.  Apparently, a minor detail missed by Reuters.

Note also, that this terror attack occurred on January 1st, 1965, two years prior to Israel gaining control of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") in the Six Day War and the commencement of modern settlement construction, the fictitious casus belli advanced by the Arabs and their media acolytes to rationalize Palestinian terrorism aimed at Jewish civilians.

Reuters does get one thing right: Fatah's raison d'etre and bloody methods are indeed "mainstream" in Palestinian society.

hat tip: EoZ