Biased reporting by REUTERS on Gilad Shalit agreement (with examples)
It seems that Jeffrey Heller, Douglas Hamilton, Andrew Heavens of Reuters.org have an interesting way of reporting a simple news item that’s been covered by other organizations with a bit more objectivity. Here’s two of the opening paragraphs of (what should have been) a simple news item. The problem is with the words in bold below, which are used out of context to the reality of what has actually transpired in this case:
“JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel and Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers agreed on Tuesday to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit, resolving one of the most emotive and intractable issues between them.”
Problem with words in bold in the above paragraph: “Islamist rulers” is an intentionally mis-leading use of words that doesn’t apply to the case. “Hamas” is the accurate description of the political party that actually brokered the deal with Israel. (Correct terminology on Hamas can be found on Wikipedia)/. They are simply refered to as a political party, not “Islamic Rulers”, as Palestine (last time we checked) can hardly be defined as an “Islamic Kingdom”.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip greeted the agreement, brokered by Egypt and a German mediator, with celebratory gunfire. Hamas confirmed that it only remained to conclude technical arrangements for the exchange. The breakthrough pact, after many false dawns in years of secret efforts to free Shalit since he was captured in 2006, has no direct bearing on Middle East peace negotiations.
Problem with first set of words in bold in the above paragraph: where is the evidence of there being celebratory gunfire? Did all of the Palestinians celebrate with gunfire? Or a handful of individuals? Thanks to Reuters, we’ll never know because the article doesn’t address this observation.
Problem with second set of words in bold in the above paragraph:
“The breakthrough pact, after many false dawns in years of secret efforts to free Shalit since he was captured in 2006, has no direct bearing on Middle East peace negotiations.” – This statement is 100% false. This agreement DOES have a direct bearing on Middle East peace negotiations, otherwise it wouldn’t be news. A prisoner swap has been achieved after five years of failed negotiations by both parties, and REUTERS doesn’t think this is a “Direct bearing on Middle East Peace Negotiations”? Little wonder the Middle East conflict is never-ending. News agencies like REUTERS refuse to accept any sort of peace brokering by either side, or bother to report it as such.
The rest of the news item leaves the reader subjected to the un-informed, and un-educated opinions of the writers of the story: “Prospects for peacemaking have been clouded by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s request for UN recognition of a Palestinian state and Israeli settlement expansion which Abbas has said must stop if negotiations are to begin again.”
Problem with the above statement – there’s multiple factors behind the prospects for peacemaking. Abbas’ UN bid is only one out of seven factors according to Middle East experts and academics. The other main issue is Israeli settlement expansion in the West bank, which both the United States and Europe have condemned as the “main obstacle to peace”. (Past quotes from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and countless US politicians can be referenced saying such statements all over the internet in countless news items on the Middle East.)
For more information, and a better sourced objective pieces, click on the link below courtesy of the NY Times:
(Please note – in this story we learn what accurate Middle East reporting is):
“Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader based in Syria, confirmed in a broadcast from Damascus that an agreement had been reached, setting off wild celebrations and cheering in Gaza and Palestinian communities elsewhere as word spread that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails would soon be coming home. Mr. Meshal said the Israelis had agreed to turn over 1,027 Palestinians, among them 315 sentenced to life in prison and 27 women. He called the agreement “a national accomplishment.”
Note in the above paragraph – there is no mention of “Islamic Rulers”, “Gunfire”, and the leader of Hamas Khaled Meshal, (who isn’t referenced as a nameless “Islamic Ruler” – he’s referenced simply as “the Hamas leader based in Syria”), called the agreement “a national accomplishment”.
Good thing Reuters isn’t responsible for brokering peace in the Middle East, for irresponsible reporting like this from them and other news agencies, we can count on a Middle East conflict for years to come.
The Shalit family for one, deserves more accurate reporting on such a case, and Noam Shalit (the father of Gilad Shalit) does as well, being as he spent 1,934 days of their son’s captivity outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem protesting the lack of progress by both parties. He recently thanked U.S. Muslim Leaders for assisting in his release.
(Pic of Gilad Shalit via NY Times)