August 04, 2003

Sunday Times Fiction Supplement

Letter to The Sunday Times


Having lost an eye to army gunfire in Sri Lanka’s own war on terrorism, Marie Colvin could be forgiven for any bias against all soldiers, not least the Israeli army and their operation in Jenin. Although all journalists were excluded during the fighting, she reports blow-by-blow as if she had been in the thick of it. “On the first night of the invasion, Israeli soldiers hauled [the Palestinian] out to act as a human shield as they knocked on his neighbours’ doors.” How could she know? Is this newsgathering, hearsay or just propaganda. Is it any more reliable than Saeb Erekat’s rantings about thousands of civilians massacred and buried in mass graves?
In the end Miss Colvin concludes that there was indeed no massacre, but only on the second page under a headline which directly contrasts with the front and boldest headline: “Jenin:the bloody truth”.
Alas, this was not the only misleading headline in last Sunday’s edition. In News Review you have a piece entitled: “Israel, my pride and my shame”. This story is about a young Jewish man recounting his feelings about the Israel he visited in his teens. The piece opens with his embarrassment about walking past an Islamic Centre in Kilburn with a Hebrew tee shirt; a pretty foolish thing to do nowadays. But nowhere in the article does this young man say that he is ashamed of Israel. The word shame appears nowhere except in the headline. He does say that he is proud of his Jewish faith and recounts that his father – a former MP – recognized some twenty years ago that the two-state solution was for the PLO only a first stage in the elimination of Israel.Let us please get back to honest newsgathering and fair headlining.
Add to Technorati Favorites Tweets by @ZalmiU