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Dec 19, 2004 8:39 pm


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER ON THE RACK



I think it is time to pass along to you parts of more outrageous findings of an indefatigible critique of the Philadelphia Inquirer's coverage of Israel.

To: Brith Sholom Media Watch Subscribers

From: Jerry Verlin, Editor (jeromeverlin@brithsholom.org)

Subj: Brith Sholom Media Watch Alert #207, 12/19/04

This Week In The Inq: Multi-Level Imbalance

LEVEL I: BIG COVERAGE (WELL, MOSTLY) AND LITTLE DIGS

The Inq ran 14 Israel articles this week, of which 2 made page 1, 4 made page 2, and only 3 made pages further than 6. The one item the Inq relegated to News In Brief (Monday, A4) was Abbas going to Kuwait to apologize because Arafat had"supported Iraq in its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and opposed the subsequent U.S.-led war that liberated it." (We wouldn't want to remind folks of THAT.)

LEVEL II: BLAMING THE REFUGEES ON THE JEWS

But the deep difference in Mideast positions between us and the liberal media, including the Inq, was exemplified by the Inq's AP article (12/16/04, A5, emphasis added) on Thursday:"Palestinians demand . . . the right of refugees from THE WAR THAT FOLLOWED ISRAEL'S 1948 CREATION to return to their homes with their descendants - about four million people." . . .

Yes, the media saying"refugees . . . with their descendants - about four million people" is in itself less imbalanced than calling the c. half-million Arab refugees"millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants," which the liberal media did over of over for years, including in 2004, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (AP), New York Times and Washington Post (4/12, 4/14 and 4/16, respectively). But the media has only finally stopped saying"four million Palestinian refugees and their descendants," if it has finally stopped saying that, following tenaciously pursued protests by Camera and others. Even then, we didn't pursue WHY all these major liberal media outfits had said there were"four million Palestinian refugees." Could these micro-covering, Israel-obsessed professional journalists reasonably have been ignorant that 1947-partitioned Palestine's ENTIRE population was less than two million, a third of it Jews? Could such ignorance, or whatever it was that accounts for the media's"four million Palestinian refugees," account as well for the media's perception of Palestine-conflict equities today?

LEVEL III: TREATING THE BLATANTLY TRUE AS IN ISSUE

Case 2: Tunnels? Army SAYS Tunnels

In paragraph 18 of 21 of its"Abbas Criticizes Sharon's Proposals" AP article Saturday (12/18/04, A2), the Inq reported:"A weapons smuggling tunnel near Gaza's border with Egypt collapsed late Thursday, trapping six Palestinians, witnesses and officials said. Military officials said Palestinians told the army that five bodies had been removed from the tunnel. Palestinian officials denied the report."

The tunnel collapse late Thursday did happen. Haaretz, Saturday, 12/18/04 (Internet):"Elsewhere in Gaza, Palestinians rescued six men from the rubble of a collapsed weapons-smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border. . . ." This was followed by paragraphs of detail on what happened.

But, like incitement, it's the EXISTENCE of the tunnels themselves that the Inq on occasion has characterized as in issue. See, e.g., Inq, 5/20/04, A16, Matza, (emphasis added) reporting that

** the Philadelphi road"overlays a network of tunnels used to smuggle weapons to the Palestinians, THE ARMY SAYS."

** Article sub-head:"Israel is knocking down nearby houses that THE ARMY SAYS are used to hide smugglers' tunnels."

** Accompanying IDF drawing:"... a diagram showing what ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES SAY a typical smuggling tunnel looks like."

** Par. 6:"... houses that THE ARMY SAYS are used to hide tunnel openings....";

** Par. 8:"... the army, which SAYS it has uncovered more than 80 tunnels along the Philadelphi Road in the last three years ....";

** Par. 9:"The ARMY SAYS that, while the tunnels have been used to transport automatic rifles, ammunition and explosives into the strip, heavier armaments ... could soon be coming through ....";

** Par. 10:"Citing recent intelligence reports, ISRAEL SAYS it has information that the heavier weapons are being sent from Iran, through the Lebanese group Hezbollah, into Egypt and are destined for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian extremist groups."

Case 3:"Metal Workshops"

This genre of articles on occasion depicting the reality of anti-Israel actions like incitement and tunnels as being"in issue" seems like an Israel-tweaking game with the Inq. There was another instance - this time of the recurring Israel attacking"metal workshops" variety - this week in the Inq. Monday, the Inq staffers' article included:"Early today, Israeli helicopter gunships fired eight missiles at targets in Gaza City, including a metal foundry that the army says is used to produce munitions." But Sunday, 12/19/04, A27, Nissenbaum, Inq Foreign Staff:"Until this weekend, Israel had responded to attacks with relative restraint by focusing on selected targets, including militant leaders and warehouses that Palestinians used to make homemade rockets." Oops, we forgot to say"Army says."




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