Thumbs Down to William M. Stewart and Laurent Guerin

THUMBS DOWN to Santa Fe’s New Mexican columnist William M. Stewart and photographer Laurent Guerin for departing from journalistic standards in their blatantly pro-Palestinian December 31, 2000 photo-essay entitled “The Struggle Goes On,” and to Santa Fe’s New for presenting the Sunday “Outlook” feature as an objective overview of the Middle East crisis.

From the first sentence—”The historic struggle for an Arab Palestine lies at the heart of the current violence on the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip”—it was clear that the feature was not the dispassionate summary it purported to be. The blurb under the article title had claimed the photo-essay concerned “the pain and suffering of the latest ‘intifada’,” implying that there would be discussion of the grief and hardships both sides suffered. But descriptions of victimhood, suffering and grief were limited to only one side.

The nine photographs taken by Guerin were exclusively of Palestinians and largely portrayed them as helpless, innocent victims confronting an implacable and deadly enemy, Israel.

The only reference to Israeli casualties of Palestinian violence came in one dismissive paragraph: “…occasionally the violence spreads into Israel itself, as it did last week when a bomb exploded in a bus in Tel Aviv, injuring 14 people. Several hours later, one Israeli was killed and three others wounded. . . .”

Stewart deplored Israeli action, without any hint of Palestinian violence and provocation, stating: “Israel’s crackdown on the intifada already exceeds in severity anything any previous Israeli government, of any party, has imposed.”

There is no excuse for “The West’s Oldest Newspaper” to abandon all semblance of objectivity and balance, offering its readers instead a study steeped in bias and distortion.

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