Friday, March 30, 2007

March 26 Special Report: “Are there two sides to every story?”

HonestReporting has produced one its deadly dull ‘videos’ (just a slide show actually, with horrible muzak), on the excavation work at the Haram al-Sharif.

The answer to their question is no, but not in the way HR mean.

Those of us who haven’t completely surrendered our gift for independent thinking, know that there are many takes on a single issue, rather than just 2 sides. But according to the intolerant partisans at HR, even 2 sides is too much – there is only one, and that is the stridently pro-Israel side!

According to HR, the media are reporting “a story that is not true”.

They pick the usual targets – let’s see how they misrepresent and distort the BBCs coverage to come to this amazing conclusion.

The media reported baseless claims say HR,

BBC – “Muslims say the work threatens holy remains

HR continues,

The only problem is: It Isn't True.
Did the BBC report this? Yes. Did some muslims say this? Yes. So it is true.

But, as manipulative as ever, HR edit out the rest of that sentence in the BBC report,

a charge Israel denies.

See, there is a controversy, with the Palestinians making one set of claims and Israel denying them, and the media are reporting this, quite faithfully from what I’ve seen.

Now you could protest at this point and say that this is just ‘he says, she says’ reporting from the BBC, which might be a fair point (not that HR makes this point). But the BBC article provides a link on the archelogical issues, or lack of them,

An independent observer, Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, from the French institute the Ecole Biblique in East Jerusalem, said that the work was "completely routine".

"This work is not inside the Haram. It is outside, leading to the Moors' Gate. The earth ramp fell down and has to be replaced," Father Murphy-O'Connor, author of an Oxford University guide 'The Holy Land', told me.

"I do not know why the Palestinians have chosen to make an issue out of this. It is a recognised Jewish area under the arrangements that prevail in the Old City.”

Doesn’t that just reek of anti-Israel media bias? That’s right, it doesn’t. But this does expose HRs own, very pronounced bias. Since they disagree with, or don’t like, Palestinian objections to the excavations, this is a story which isn’t true and therefore the media should not cover it.

Next the BBC is targeted for this head-line in an article,

Some in the media still insist on their own interpretation of the facts: BBC – “Israel must halt Jerusalem dig

Notice the quotation marks. The order appears to be issued by the BBC – “the only problem is: It Isn’t True”.

This is the actual headline,

Israel 'must halt' Jerusalem dig

This is especially funny, given one of the HR slides announces,

UN Investigation – work is legal

Besides the fact that the UN investigation doesn’t say that the work is legal, the ‘must halt’ comment comes from that same UN investigation. It was actually UNESCO and they said,

The Government of Israel should be asked to stop immediately the archaeological excavations……

So yes, there is more than one aspect to a story like this, such as the political dimension to the dispute – Israel conducts such activities without any consultation (as required by UNESCO) to demonstrate their claim of sovereignty and the Palestinians protest to challenge that claim. Or that Israels illegal annexation of East Jerusalem means that Israel has no recognized authority to be doing the work.

It’s just that this kind of open debate is something that HonestReporting can’t tolerate, hence we have HRs desperate distortions in an attempt to fabricate allegations of media bias.