Newsweek’s ‘Bizarro’ Reporting

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

In the late 1950s, Superman comics introduced a character “Bizarro” from the Bizarro world. It was a planet where everything was upside-down or backwards. Alarm clocks dictated when to go to sleep, ugliness was beautiful, old was young, and wrong was right.

It seems that Newsweek’s Joshua Hammer reported from Bizarro last week. His dispatch “Wanted – A Week of Quiet” (July 9 edition) presents an incredible topsy-turvy distortion of facts.

Hammer does NOT report on the ordeal of Jewish civilians traveling along the roads, risking their lives as armed Palestinian gunmen lurking the region. Hammer does NOT report on the 28-year old Israel woman shot and killed last week as she drove home with her 4-year-old son in the back seat. (Her murder took place at an intersection where the Israeli army took down a roadblock earlier in the week.) Hammer does NOT report on the Palestinians stoning Israeli cars and buses and the Israeli baby killed two weeks ago by a boulder thrown through the windshield.

In his Bizarro world, Hammer writes of the “ordeal” of Palestinians traveling through the West Bank where “armed Jewish settlers prowl the roads, hurling rocks through the windshields of Palestinian buses.”

Hammer claims: “Arafat has had little success enforcing the ceasefire in zones outside Palestinian control… Any outbreak of violence would give Sharon an excuse to delay lifting the siege or making other concessions. Many experts believe that’s precisely what the prime minister is hoping for.”

If you believe the Newsweek story represents biased reporting, send your comments to:

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, cut-and-paste the critique below.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor:

Joshua Hammer’s account, “Wanted: A Week of Quiet” (July 9) is a serious distortion of events in the Middle East.

Hammer accuses “armed Jewish settlers” of “prowling” West Bank roads. In actuality, the opposite is true: Dozens of Israeli motorists have been killed since the Palestinians started their intifada, including several who have been ambushed and killed since Arafat supposedly accepted a ceasefire.

The gunmen who killed 24-year-old Ekaterina Weintraub in her car last week came from Arafat’s own Fatah organization. If Arafat cannot or will not enforce the ceasefire within his own forces, as Hammer suggests, then he he has surrendered his mantle of leadership and ceases to be a negotiating partner.

Hammer writes that most “Palestinians have given up hope of real political progress” as long as Sharon is in power. He questions if the Palestinians have the patience to wait for a “more moderate Israeli leader.” The fact is the Palestinians already rejected the far-reaching compromises offered by “a more moderate leader,” Ehud Barak.

Hammer blames Sharon for “hoping” for violence so that he would have an excuse to avoid making concessions. I believe this is backwards. The blame lies on Arafat’s head for initiating the violence and for sustaining the mortar attacks, car bombs and shootings.

Hammer’s biased reporting over the past few months, including his praise for the delicious meal at the hands of Palestinians who kidnapped him, casts doubt on Newsweek’s ability to present a balanced picture of the Middle East.