Friday, December 09, 2005

The AP's 'Truth' Problem

A story that moved on the AP wire this morning exemplifies a problem that this wire service, which is supposed to be "objective" and stuff like that, has with a concept called "the truth."

The headline: "Israel Continues Crackdown on Palestinians." So what happened? Mass arrests and detentions? In fact, the story says, "Israel rounded up 19 Islamic militants in the West Bank on Friday and pounded the Gaza Strip with artillery fire, pressing forward with a crackdown in the wake of a suicide bombing at a shopping mall this week."

As you can see, this is a "crackdown" not on amorphous "Palestinians" but on "terrorists." After all, Islamic Jihad is a terrorist group by any definition, and has been officially branded as such by the U.S. government. The artillery fire was aimed at launching sites used by terrorists to fire inaccurate missiles into civilian areas. So why not say "terrorists"? It's more accurate and precise than "Palestinians," which implies a massive crackdown on the whole population.

The story goes on to say that the Palestinian Authority has ordered "arrests" -- and that "the action [sic] by the Palestinian security forces fall far short of Israeli demands that Islamic Jihad be dismantled altogether."

Yet the story itself says that the arrests are a charade -- "low-level operatives, university leaders and even high school students" -- and even the dumbest AP intern knows that the "arrested" never stay "arrested" for very long. Also, sustained and effective action against Islamic Jihad and other terror groups is not just an Israeli "demand" -- it is a Palestinian obligation under the first phase of the Road Map for Peace. Why not say so?

Then we have this odd wording: "In other violence, Israeli troops Friday caught a Palestinian teenager who had strapped explosives to his body." No, there was no "violence." What you had here was a thwarted suicide bombing. Why not say so?

What we have here is very simple -- the AP is not telling the truth, because doing so would offend the Palestinians. The problem with this approach is that telling the truth is the AP's job.

Trackposted to: Bloggin' Out Loud, Is It Just Me?, Right Wing Nation, Stuck on Stupid, The Business of America is Business, Liberal Common Sense,, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, TMH Bacon and Southern Yankee