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Friday, December 05, 2008

Those objective international Gaza reporters

Last week, Israel's Foreign Press Association protested Israel's blocking reporters from entering Gaza. One of the reasons it gave was that "This blackout of the Gaza Strip is hurting Israel's image in the eyes of the world."

And Reporters Sans Frontieres wrote a letter to Olmert claiming that “In fact, a foreign media presence is all the more indispensible as its reporters represent an independent source of information. The mounting threats to Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized power in June 2007 force them to censor themselves. But that is not the case with foreign journalists, who can talk about the Hamas government without fear.”

I pointed out then that the Palestinian Arab reporters from Gaza were truly the only source of unbiased information. As bad as they are, they are brave enough to criticize Hamas, something that those objective foreign reporters shy away from while they have no hesitation bashing Israel.

A case in point is NPR's Lisa Gradstein, who wasted no time going into Gaza to file this audio report. She interviews a woman, a long-time supporter of Hamas, who tried to persuade other women to vote for Hamas as well. But now, Gradstein continues incredulously, she blames Hamas for the current situation, and says she wishes she never voted for them.

So does Gradstein go on to find out why Gazans blame Hamas? Of course not - she goes on to say how "other people" say that life is better under Hamas - better security, and less traffic congestion! Then she says "many people" blame Israel's siege for their predicament, and goes on to find those people - people like the UNRWA's John Ging. The next two minutes is all about Israel's culpability, and not a word critical of Hamas.

In other words, Gradstein already had the narrative she wanted to tell - that Gazans blame Israel exclusively - and she didn't let facts get in her way.

(h/t EBoZ)