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January 08, 2008

Washington Post Gets This One Right

CAMERA regularly criticizes Washington Post news reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict — not from desire but necessity, since Post coverage routinely projects events through a filter of alleged Palestinian victimization by Israel. Washington Post-Watch (www.camera.org) items “Washington Post Stumbles in Gaza” (January 4) and “Washington Post’s News Avoidance Syndrome Continues” (Dec. 21, 2007) highlight the problem.

So when a Post article gets it right, journalistically, treating the news objectively and accurately, in context and with balance, that too should be noted. The dispatch headlined “4 Die as Israelis Raid Refugee Camp; Gaza Rocket Fire Cited by Officials” (January 7) by Post Foreign Service correspondent Jonathan Finer, exemplifies straight-forward news coverage.

The Post points out, among other things, that “gunmen ... walked briskly from building to building on streets teeming with civilians, including dozens of children, throughout the fighting.” That is, that Palestinian terrorists do base themselves, illegally, among Palestinian Arab civilians.

The paper quotes a Palestinian official as stating that three civilians were among the four dead but that “other reports indicated that two civilians were killed.” Meanwhile, it reports as well that “Palestinian fighters have relentlessly fired Qassam rockets from Gaza, which is controlled by the radical Hamas movement, into Israeli towns.”

In its second half, the article covers a report critical of Israeli West Bank military courts by Yesh Din, a self-described human rights group. Also included is the army’s response, which “questioned the report’s accuracy and understanding of legal procedures” and “pointed to protections provided to defendants, including the right to choose a lawyer and oversight by a civilian appellate court.”

Finer’s 16-paragraph story covered three developments — the Israeli raid, circumstances surrounding President Bush’s scheduled visit, and the Yesh Din report. Though “Palestinian fighters” was substituted for Arab terrorists, and more details throughout would have been helpful, in the space available, The Post did a balanced, timely job.

Posted by ER at January 8, 2008 02:58 PM

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