THUMBS DOWN to CBS’ Bob Simon for abandoning journalistic rules requiring impartiality in two recent reports on Intifadah II.
In an Oct. 24, 2000 “60 Minutes” segment entitled “To Be Continued …” Simon displayed a striking double standard in his interview with Israelis and Palestinians. On the one hand, he personally challenges the Israeli allegation that Palestinians deliberately put their children in the front lines. In addition, he allows Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi to counter the charges. In contrast, he lets Palestinian charges against Israelis pass without comment, and Israeli guests do not have the opportunity to respond.
The report also distorts the Oslo process. “The peace process was designed to close down some of the settlements, but that hasn’t happened,” states Simon, despite the fact that there is no Oslo provision requiring Israel to do so.
Similarly, in a Jan. 23, 2001 segment entitled “No Way Out,” which focuses on the conflict concerning the Palestinian town of Beit Jala and the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, Simon editorializes that it is “settlements that now make a peace agreement so problematic.” The reporter does not pause to consider other possible obstacles to peace such as hateful anti-Semitic propaganda spread daily in Palestinian schools or newspaper, or the incessant Arab violence against Jews, much of it orchestrated by the PA.