- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Ahmed Bouzid
Monday, Jul. 14, 2003 at 10:25 AM
IF YOU want to measure the extent to which the standards of American journalism have sunk, your best barometer is no doubt the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. There you will find not only the usual lack of investigative backbone that now prevails across the American journalism landscape, or the remarkable self-censorship with which the American media go about “covering the news,” but, at times, also encounter what can only be described as an astonishing and breathtaking open refusal to live up to even the most basic responsibilities of being a journalist or running a newspaper.
The latest example of such total professional failure came in the form of an editor at the international desk of The Charlotte Observer, who was not only willing to publish a map that showed the Golan Heights as part of Israel, Jerusalem as its capital (depicted with a star, while other cities with a round dot), and occupied Palestinian territories highlighted as territories under “Palestinian control,” but had no shame pointing out that the paper published the map because both the Associated Press and National Geographic had done the same!
According to Tracy Yochum, Assistant National Editor of The Charlotte Observer, the map they published on June 12, 2003, was perfectly legitimate because — and I am quoting her verbatim: “1. Though Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights is disputed, National Geographic shows the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory; 2. Both National Geographic and AP list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; 3. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are shown by National Geographic as shaded areas, described in an editor's note as having `limited Palestinian autonomy' under the 1993 Oslo accords.”
Aside the basic reality that the entire world (including the United States), except Israel, does not recognise the annexation by Israel of the Golan Heights, does not accept the annexation of Jerusalem (East or West) and considers the West Bank and Gaza occupied territories, there is also something truly shocking reading an editor explain why they published something by pointing out that they did so because someone else did as well: since National Geographic and AP did it, the editor is saying, then it must be OK!
Is this really what American journalism has come to? To the point where editors don't even think that it is problematic to say that they won't bother to independently settle the most basic facts about the most explosive and enduring conflict of the last half century?
Or take the way Ariel Sharon has toyed — the way a big, experienced cat would leisurely toy with a mouse paralysed with confusion — with the American media the last three weeks, first by using the “O” word (occupation), then with his statement that he believes that the Palestinians should have a “state” of their own, then with his assertion that such a state should have “territorial contiguity,” and, for the coup the grace, his promise to dismantle “illegal outposts.”
Such “breakthroughs” were gingerly and immediately declared as monumental watershed moments, with many hailing Sharon as the new de Gaulle, the one leader who could force “painful concessions” on the right-wing settlers, his core constituency. Then, not more than a few days later, Sharon swept his big paw the other way and issued “clarifications,” making it clear for those interested in listening that he was not using the word “occupation” in its regular sense (he explained that he was not talking about occupation of land but occupation of people!), that when he said “Palestinian state” he did not mean a “sovereign Palestinian state” as we would normally think, but a “state” that was one only by name (e.g., no air sovereignty, no control over water, no standing army, no clear-cut and inviolable borders), and that when he said “territorial contiguity” he meant contiguity for 40 per cent of the West Bank, connected by a highway to Gaza, with the remaining 60 per cent conveniently swallowed by a wall that no one in the media feels is important enough to talk about!
And for the second coup the grace, we are now getting yet one more clarification: it appears that when Sharon said that Israel would dismantle “illegal outposts,” he really meant that Israel would continue with expanding”! settlements, but quietly and “without celebrations'!
As we all well know, the backbone of Israel's plan is the “fact on the ground” strategy: make (or make up) facts and count on time to do the rest. In American journalism, Israel counts on a lack of professional commitment by journalists to simply do the right thing. It is up to us to make that call, to write that letter, and to rock the boat by spreading the news around and shame our media into doing the right thing, so that such “facts on the ground” never take root and such obfuscations are shown for what they are.
The writer is president of Palestine Media Watch and author of `Framing the struggle'. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.
Report this post as:
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
More Local News...
3 Essential Videos
The System Question as a Survival Question
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control
Du pain et des jeux
Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report
Paraphysique de martyrologie
Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration
Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator
Democratic Socialists of America
Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's
Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup
FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution?
Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians
The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally!
Social Policy as Social Infrastructure
Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud
Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner..
June 2018 Honduras coup update
Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support
New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients
Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation
Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why
Change Links 2018 July posted
Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme )
Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA
For a World Free of Nuclear Risks
More Breaking News...