Journalists’ panel at HR mission

Today the HR mission visited the new and impressive building of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. No cameras were allowed in, so unfortunately, no pictures on this post.

The highlight of the session was a panel with three journalists — Greg Myre of the NY Times, David Gilbert of CBS News, and Jamil Hamad of Time — who fielded questions on the difficulties and challenges of reporting on the Mideast conflict. Daniel Pipes moderated the session.

Regarding the (non-)use of the term ‘terrorist’, Myre said that in principle his paper is open to using the term, but with no official policy, there are alot of grey areas. For example, Myre said, a Hamas suicide bombing on an Israeli bus is certainly ‘terrorism,’ but when the IDF raid Gaza City and claim to kill 5 terrorists, without further verification Myre is not prepared to use that term.

Jamil Hamad spoke of the intimidation that some Arab journalists feel from the PA, and in response to a question about journalists’ supposed impartiality, said: “Impartiality is a dream, but honesty is a responsibility.” Daniel Pipes responded that Hamad’s insight applies equally to non-journalist writers like him.

David Gilbert emphasized the distinction between journalism and the news business: “I would like to be practicing more pure journalism, but we are in the news business, and that means advertisers come into play.” Gilbert indicated that his reports must be compelling, to keep viewers tuned in, and that this necessarily informs his news coverage.