Like deja vu all over again, National Public Radio has covered the release of the road map and surrounding events with the same tilt toward Palestinian interests it displayed for a decade in reporting the failed Oslo negotiations.
CNN executive Eason Jordan's dramatic acknowledgment in a New York Times op-ed ("The News We Kept to Ourselves," April 11, 2003) that for more than a decade his network concealed gruesome information about Saddam Hussein's regime lifts the rock a notch off the dark underside of media collaboration with barbarous dictators.
Coverage of the story of Rachel Corrie, the American college student and Palestinian advocate killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while attempting to block a house demolition, followed predictable trends.
Too often, reports on Israel's minority include false platitudes about ethnicity-related gaps in income and municipal services.
As Israel went to the polls in January, a surge of news stories appeared about the lives, attitudes and voting patterns of its Arab citizens. All too many were boiler-plate recitations of charges that Israeli Arabs are understandably aggrieved and deeply alienated from their country because of its alleged discriminatory policies.
Robert Novak's long tenure as a syndicated columnist and CNN television commentator is sorry proof that extreme anti-Israel animus and sloppy attention to the facts are no deterrent to journalistic prominence.
The New York Times finished off 2002 with a bang in its coverage of Israel. On December 28th a page-four story (“Dreaming of Palestine, Teenager Writes a Novel”) and a large smiling photo of Randa Ghazi brought readers a breezy profile of the Egyptian-Italian teenage authoress of a virulent anti-Israel novel.
Terrorist savagery against Israeli civilians, often in the form of suicidal, bomb-strapped Palestinians, has yet to elicit from most journalists and major media anything close to honest coverage of the true causes of the onslaught. Instead, vacuous explanations, ones that essentially repeat Arab arguments, prevail.
Yet another two-month study reveals National Public Radio coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to be marred by factual distortions and disproportionate presentation of Arab and pro-Arab speakers. Skewed and serious allegations against Israel are, at times, aired in completely one-sided programs without giving Israel the right of response. Partisan language shades reporting, blurring the terrorist role of Palestinian groups and leaders and casting Israeli leaders alone as “hard-line.”
Décryptage, or "Decoding" in English, caused a sensation when it debuted in France in 2002, filling theaters with (often mostly Jewish) patrons dismayed at media treatment of Israel, "the epicenter of a world passion," as one of the film’s interviewees put it. American audiences too will find a riveting, thoughtful and relevant portrayal of how the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented.