Six-Day War

One-sided Washington Post special section ignores Palestinian failures contributing to West Bank occupation

One-sided Washington Post special section ignores Palestinian failures contributing to West Bank occupation

Allow me to stipulate upfront that I support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only conceivable outcome that has any chance of succeeding.

Let me also stipulate that I agree -- with some reservations that I'll explain below -- with the general international consensus that continued Israeli settlement activities in Palestinian areas is a serious hinderance to achieving that two-state goal.

Also, that Israeli policies toward the Palestinians are too often heavy handed and, thus, are easily interpreted as being unjust. In short, while I'm a strong Zionist, I do not believe that Israeli government policies are above reproach -- not by a long shot.

However, I also subscribe to the notion that quality journalism acknowledges there are at least two sides to every conflict, and that historical context is exceedingly important to understanding why any conflict, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, keeps dragging on. It's important for journalists, when covering a heated debate, to treat people on both sides with respect, while striving for accuracy and fairness.

Which is why I believe that The Washington Post's three-story special section published Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the June 1967 war in which Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is an exercise in one-sided, blatantly anti-Israel journalism.

All three stories featured the problems, and the suffering, that Palestinians endure under Israeli control without any -- not any -- input from Israeli sources defending or at least explaining their side's actions.

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Getting upset while doing errands and listening to NPR stories about Israel

Getting upset while doing errands and listening to NPR stories about Israel

National Public Radio floats in and out of my journalistic consciousness, but not as much as in the past. Since I (thankfully) no longer commute for work, I now spend little time in my car stuck in rush hour traffic, the only time I listened to NPR with any real consistency.

I appreciate NPR's attempts to deliver a quality product.  And while it often succeeds, I do not think everything it does is top-notch. Like any news operation, at times it messes up. Then there's the brevity of the broadcast news format; outside of special features, it leaves little time for context and nuance.

Clearly, I'm a print guy. Though I did a short stint back in 1970 writing rip-and-read, top-of-the-hour, news roundups for United Press International radio clients when I worked in the agency's San Francisco bureau.

One subject about which I think NPR could do better is its coverage of Israel and Israeli Jewish society. I'm not alone on this. Right-of-center pro-Israel groups have long claimed that NPR is biased in favor of the Palestinian side, and goes out of its way to make Israel look bad.

Click here for an example of that criticism. To read an NPR ombudsman's response to the bias claims, click here.

My take is that the right-wing media watchdogs -- whose complaints help swell my email inbox -- too often find bias where I find only journalistic tripwires, such as quoting the same available officials over and over, or favoring English speakers over others simply because the NPR audience is English speaking.

However, two recent NPR stories I heard on separate days while in my car doing local errands did get under my skin more than usual.

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