Friday, October 14, 2005

The Times' Road Map.... Illiteracy?


Poor Stevie Erlanger Can't Read

In the past, I've said that the New York Times and other media outlets (Reuters, for example) display "amnesia" by continuing to "forget" Palestinian obligations to which both parties have agreed under the Road Map for Peace. After reading a news analysis today by Steven Erlanger, I think what we have here is not amnesia, but illiteracy.

The title of the story was promising enough -- "Mideast Knot: One Map, Many Paths." Aha! The Times would finally recognize Palestinian obligations under the Road Map. Not. Instead we get the usual Times pro-Palestinian spin that confronting Hamas is an Israeli and American "demand" and not something to which the Palestinians have agreed as part of the first phase of the Road Map.

Despite the headline, the Road Map itself is mentioned only toward the end:

Washington, with larger problems in the Arab world, wants to use Gaza to bring both parties back to the "road map," a rough outline for progress toward peace. The Israelis and Palestinians say they are committed to the map, but disagree on the path. Israel first wants terrorist groups dismantled; the Palestinians want parallel negotiations on a final peace, which Israel rejects while groups like Hamas remain an armed challenge to Palestinian governance and Israel's existence.
Note the use of the weasel words "rough outline," which Erlanger uses to excuse Palestinian refusal to implement the Road Map. Here is the Palestinian oblgation in the first phase of the road map, long before final status negotiations:

"Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

What's so "rough" about that? The Road Map is very explicit as to what is required of the parties, and when. Final status negotiations only take place after the terrorist groups are history -- that is why this is called a "peformance-based" road map.

Accurately quoting the Road Map, however, would be contrary to the Times' longstanding policy, in its news and editorial pages, of minimizing Palestinian requirements and promoting the myth of Palestinian "moderation." That includes turning a blind eye to Palestinian flouting of its obligations under every single agreement, from the Oslo accords to the Road Map.

Mind you, Erlanger is one of the "trained observers" that the Times has told us it deploys around the world to impart the truth to its lowly readers.

I like that "training" idea, however. Times hacks definitely need training in remedial reading.

UPDATE: Required reading for poor little Stevie Erlanger, after he has learned the ABCs, is a definitive essay on the evolution of the road map in Transatlantic Intelligencer. But learn to read first, Stevie bubby!
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