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November 12, 2012

Sam Bahour, Palestinian Businessman-cum-'Analyst' in the LA Times

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Sam Bahour, director of the Arab Islamic Bank

"Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability," states the Code of Ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists. Indeed, accurate and useful descriptions of a source's background or affiliation give news consumers insight as to their objectivity and perspective.

Writing recently in the Los Angeles Times about Palestinian views concerning President Obama's second term, Maher Abukhater throws that rule of thumb out the window. He writes:

Analyst Sam Bahour said he expects Obama will have more leverage and face less pressure from lobbying groups in dealing with issues such as conflicts in the Middle East.

"On the one hand, he is more knowledgeable of the issues, and on the other he has to deal with the changing politics in the region, particularly with the emergence of two new powers in the Middle East — Iran and Turkey — which means the U.S. cannot afford to leave a political vacuum that could be filled by either of these two powers," Bahour said.

Bahour's views may be newsworthy. They may even be right. But they doesn't make him an "analyst" who necessarily has political insight into U.S. mideast policy. Sam Bahour is a Ramallah-based businessman, consultant and entrepreneur who currently serves as director of the Arab Islamic Bank. Thus, his expertise as an "analyst" lies in the business world, and the Times should have made that clear instead of passing him off as an expert on U.S. foreign policy.

This wouldn't be the first time that the LA Times had trouble properly identifying a prominent Palestinian.

(Hat tip: Joel C.)

Posted by TS at November 12, 2012 06:54 AM


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