Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Honest Reporting #27

What's shocking to me is that after Israel's pullout from Gaza, the entire world agreed that the ball was in the Palestinians' court. How would they behave? What would they do? After burning abandoned synagogues, they soon launched over 40 rockets into Israel without any provocation. The wire services ignored the agression only until Israel retaliated, as I blogged about previously.

Communique: 27 September 2005 [View this article online] [Discuss this topic on BackSpin]
AP'S 'CIRCLE DANCE'ALSO:▪ CNN omits crucial point
Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,

On Friday and Saturday (Sept. 23-24), Hamas fired 40 rockets from Gaza onto the southern Israeli town of Sderot, wounding five civilians. In covering the Israeli response to the rockets, Associated Press reporter Sara El Deeb filed two Sept. 25 dispatches that raised media monitors' eyebrows:

● El Deeb's 12:06 PM article contained this description of an IDF celebration:
"... in an unprecedented step, Israel set up five artillery pieces on the border, and fired test-rounds into empty fields in northern Gaza in preparation for a possible artillery strike, causing no injuries. The Israeli soldiers danced in a circle after firing the artillery and sang a biblical song of revenge."

To anyone familiar with the professionalism of the IDF, this scene of a bloodthirsty 'circle dance' appears highly unlikely. Upon reporting such an unusual event, standard journalistic practice prescribes stating a reliable source within the article itself, which El Deeb did not do.

HonestReporting contacted AP editors to request some corroboration of El Deeb's claim, but as of this posting, none has arrived.

● An earlier 9/25 El Deeb article blamed the Israeli response to the Hamas rocket salvo for ruining a supposed 'ceasefire':

"The new [Israeli] offensive dubbed 'Operation First Rain' dashed hopes that Israel’s recently completed Gaza withdrawal would help restart peace talks and left a seven-month-old cease-fire teetering on the brink of collapse."

Whose offensive 'dashed hopes' of positive change?! And how exactly were 40 Hamas rockets fired during a 'ceasefire'?

Join our enquiry to El Deeb's 'circle dance' claim, and her reversal of chronology and responsibility for the recent Gaza violence, by sending comments to: feedback@ap.org
If your local paper carried either of these AP articles, HonestReporting encourages you to send a letter to your editor as well.(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish)

In today's CNN:

"Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants have escalated since an explosion at a Hamas rally on Friday in Gaza that killed at least 19 people. Militants blamed the blast on Israel, which denied the claim."

CNN fails to mention that the Palestinian Authority concurred with Israel's assessment that Hamas itself was to blame for Friday's explosion. The omission leaves more doubt around the issue than is justified, especially given the fact that Hamas used this explosion as a pretext for its Kassam rocket attacks.


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