Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Reuters' Roadmap Amnesia

In a piece that moved on the Reuters "news" wire this morning, its chief Palestinian propagandist, Wafa Amr, finally uses a phrase that is generally absent from the Reuters lexicon--the "Roadmap"!

Amr begins by rewriting history.....

Abbas' visit is the first by a Palestinian president since 2000, when Middle East peace negotiations collapsed into violence for which U.S. officials often blamed Abbas' late predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

No, the negotiations didn't "collapse into violence." That's not just lousy syntax--it's wrong. The "late predecessor" used violence, preplanned violence, to seek what he could not obtain after negotiations failed because of his intransigence.

Having rewritten history, Amr loyally rewrites the present:
Washington, eager to end the deadlock in the peace process, has welcomed Abbas' ability to extract a cease fire from Palestinian militant groups and his efforts to achieve statehood through democratic and peaceful means.

...excluding the fact that in fact the "ceasefire" was just dramatically violated in Gaza, as well as the fact that the Road Map for Peace requires Palestinians to not just have a "cease fire" but to permanently renounce violence. The Palestinian Authority must also "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere." Which hasn't been done, of course.

What follows further down in the story is the real whopper:
Officials said Abbas will show Bush on Thursday maps that detail the expansion of settlement activity in the West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem -- a violation of the road map -- and that show how a barrier snaking through the West Bank - jeopardizes Bush's two-state vision.

That's the only reference to the Road Map in the story. And the reference to "Arab East Jerusalem" as a subject of "settlement activity" is as much a reflection of Wafa Amr's open bias as it is to the Road Map, which clearly leaves the status of Jerusalem for the very end of the negotiating process.

That Reuters for you--and much of the rest of the media too. To Reuters, thanks to its loyal Palestinian apparatchik Wafa Amr, the Road Map applies to only one side--Israel.

If this was an old TV series, Reuters would undergo some kind of magical transformation and its amnesia would come to an end. Don't count on that happening to Reuters. Its bias is firmly entrenched, and the people to blame are not just hacks such as Amr but the editors at its headquarters in London. The only solution is for US newspapers, at the behest of their readers and advertisers, to dump Reuters.