Lamenting The Chicago Tribune

Dear Honest Reporting Member

A storm has been brewing in the Windy City. Frustrated by a consistent pattern of bias in the Chicago Tribune, grassroots activists and Jewish community leaders have organized protests outside the Tribune offices and met with editorial staff.

Specific objections include a recent front-page article chronicling the suicide bomber who was caught by Israeli police outside Haifa, carrying a huge bomb destined to bring terror to an Israeli dance hall. The Tribune headline read:

“No room for mistakes — Radicals lament rash of thwarted suicide bombings.”

 

Read the headline again. It speaks sympathetically of Palestinians “lamenting” the failed attempt to dismember innocent Israelis. The article then quotes the terrorist’s father, who decries: “There is no room for mistakes if someone wants to be a suicide bomber.”

For background on the Jewish gripe against the Chicago Tribune, HonestReporting recommends an excellent article by Michael Miner, media critic for the weekly Chicago Reader. In his article, “The Tribe Takes on the Trib,” Miner explains that the Jewish community’s “case against the Tribune is built on a perception of the paper as naive, ahistorical, and sophomorically attracted to the Palestinians as plucky underdogs.”

Miner also quotes a Chicago rabbi who says:

“My September 11 came a year earlier,” Siegel says, “when Barak made the most far-reaching attempt to create a Middle East settlement, and Arafat’s response was this intifada. What I came away with after the debacle of a year ago August was the idea that what we’re talking about is not this border or that, but the destruction of the state of Israel. I began to read newspapers differently, and I realized the war being fought was not only being fought with bombs and suicide bombers and the rest, but it was being fought in the pages of American newspapers. So when the Tribune continued to lambaste Israel for its policy of quote, assassination, end quote and not allow its readers to fully appreciate that the people being killed were terrorists themselves and not simply political leaders, I found that to be unconscionable.”

Miner also documents the Tribune’s coverage of the Ramallah lynch. Three pictures ran across one page: One showed the infamous bloody Palestinian hands; the second showed a retaliating Israeli helicopter firing rockets; the third a bombed-out Palestinian police headquarters. Final count: two to one against Israel, and the Tribune caption didn’t note that the police headquarters were empty because Israel had warned Palestinians before the attack.

Miner’s column in the Chicago Reader is read religiously by the media and PR community. Read the report, “The Tribe Takes on the Trib” at:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-tribe-takes-on-the-tribnews-bites/Content?oid=907008

HonestReporting encourages other activists to follow the Chicago model and take the initiative against patterns of bias in your local area.

HonestReporting.com

===== UPDATE: ATLANTIC MONTHLY =====

HonestReporting’s award last week to The Atlantic Monthly was noted by the PR industry’s leading publication, O’Dwyers PR Daily, in an article, “Atlantic Covers Normalcy in Israel.”

And if you haven’t already picked up your newsstand copy of The Atlantic to read about Egypt’s cover-up of the crash of EgyptAir flight 990, you can read online P.J. O’Rourke’s upbeat article about life in Israel:
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2001/11/o_rourke.htm

===== UPDATE: INNOCENTS ABROAD =====

Last week we reported on 17 American editorial writers who toured Israel and the Palestinian territories. This week we add to the list the Anchorage Daily News, who sent Associate Editor Steve Lindbeck on the trip, and wrote a column, “Mideast peace so easy yet so hard.”

Lindbeck’s column confirms our suspicion that the visit, sponsored by the National Conference of Editorial Writers, was skewed toward the Palestinian position and fringes of Israel’s political spectrum. To his credit, Lindbeck admits that an Israeli editor told him that one Israel leader the group met with “no longer represents many Israelis, who’ve become ‘incredibly disenchanted’ with the idea of dealing with Arafat. Not only has Arafat failed to stop the violence, he also has failed to prepare for peace by reining in the harsh anti-Israeli rhetoric of the controlled Palestinian press.”

We are still waiting for the National Conference of Editorial Writers to disclose details of the trip, including: Who funded the trip? Who organized it? Who chose the venues and the spokesmen? What was the itinerary? Which journalists participated?

Write to the NCEW requesting these details:
e-mail: ncewhqs@erols.com
fax: (301) 231-0026

===== UPDATE: HARPER’S MAGAZINE =====

Meanwhile, in the words of pro-Palestinian groups, “Harper’s has done it again.” This time it a map of Israel entitled “Losing Ground” (December 2001 issue), where Harper’s shows Palestinian territories at several stages, from 1947 through the 2000 Barak proposal. Said one pro-Palestinian group: “It is a very powerful series of maps, and one that deserves praise.”

===== MEMBER’S SUCCESS ======

Kudos to HonestReporting member Gabriel Patrich, whose background article on the Mideast conflict was published by “Europa” world newspaper.

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