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January 28, 2003

Honest Reporting, Like Charity, Should Begin at Home

There is little surprise when outlets like AP and Reuters dispense biassed reporting, from the headline down. But when Ha’Aretz joins this unholy alliance, one cannot but wonder. A case of such “wondering” was precipitated by the following Ha’Aretz report, dated January 28, 2003 (03:50). The headline reads, IDF missile falls on Gaza building killing four, which, I believe, is quite explicit, straightforward and unequivocal.

And then comes the hedging. First, we learn that the information source is “according to witnesses and Palestinian medics”, i.e., a group known for accuracy and impartiality. Then we learn that “there were also suggestions that the explosion was caused by a 'work accident' - the term used for accidental explosions during the making of a bomb.” Three paragraphs later we discover that “No one actually saw a missile, leading to some conjecture that the explosion resulted from premature explosion of a bomb being assembled inside the building.” And finally we are informed that “while the IDF admitted that helicopters had operated in the area, it said that missiles had only been fired into an open area in order to prevent terrorists from firing Kassam rockets into Israeli territory, and not onto any building.”

Would it not have been more professional, let alone less incendiary, to have provided such a headline as “Gaza building explodes killing four, reason unclear”?

Shame on you, Ha’Aretz: on whose side are you, anyway?

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.