Quick Alerts: Dec. 9

The (UK) Independent, citing a policy of editorial neutrality, eschews the term ‘terrorist’ and instead refers to Islamic ‘extremists’ (Al Qaeda), ‘assailants’ (US consulate perpetrators), or ‘militants’ (Hamas and Hizbollah).This week, The Independent editors finally found some Mideast terrorists worthy of the name ? the Israeli ‘Bat Ayin group’, one of whom was recently convicted by an Israeli court. Here’s the Dec. 7 headline from The Independent:

Israeli jailed for role in terror group
that attacked Arab schools

This Jewish group’s acts were reprehensible and certainly fit the definition of terrorism. But The Independent’s bias becomes quite clear when calling this tiny gang’s acts ‘terror,’ while continuing to euphemize away the far more systematic murder of civilians by Hamas and Al Qaeda.

It seems The Independent never objected to the term ‘terrorism’ per se ? just the use of it when the victims are American or Israeli.

Comments to The Independent: newseditor@independent.co.uk


On Nov. 30, BBC TV’s NewsNight program finally put some tough questions to the PLO representative in London, Afif Safieh. Safieh was caught off-guard by challenges regarding Palestinian terror and Hamas’ popularity, and was noticeably embarrassed on-air.

So Safieh wrote a letter to the BBC’s Mideast ombudsman, Malcolm Balen, complaining about the BBC ‘ambush’, and concluding with a slam of HonestReporting:

The fact that the BBC receives complaints form “the other side” too is no proof of balance, fairness, objectivity etc. Most of the “other” complaints emanate from an orchestrated campaign by “honest reporting” which has nothing honest or innocent about it.

It seems the PLO has become irritated by HonestReporting subscribers’ diligent work.

We invite Mr. Safieh to dispense with the insults via third parties, and express his concerns directly to HR editors and subscribers. Mr. Safieh, our email is: action@honestreporting.com.

We have full confidence in the outcome of a debate between the PLO and HonestReporting on the topic of media bias.


You may remember Neil MacDonald of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who suggested in May that the Israeli Mossad was behind the Abu Ghraib tortures.

Now Macdonald is at it again. Reporting on the deadly Al Qaeda attack on a US consulate in Saudi Arabia, Macdonald gratuitously dragged Israel into the story, putting a pundit on the air who said

I think the principal reason [for such attacks] is our policies on the Arab-Israeli issues. This is extremely important. We’re now regarded as being very much in the pockets of Sharon. And the second reason of course is Iraq.

See a full communique on the website of HonestReporting-Canada, and see the video of MacDonald’s report here: RealVideo or QuickTime


The San Francisco Chronicle is sponsoring a spelling bee, and encouraging kids to prepare by taking its practice tests. Practice test #1 (printed on page 2 of the Business section) is on ‘Chemistry Words’ like kinetic, catalytic, aerosol, and hydrated. Then for the word ‘disproportionate’, the Chronicle offers this example:

Israel came under heavy international criticism for the Gaza offensive. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other questioned whether it had been a disproportionate response to the use of crude Qassam rockets by Palestinian militants.

Of all the applications of the term ‘disproportionate’ ? and in a science section, no less! ? why did the editors choose this example?

BlueStarPR picked up on this, and note that the Spelling Bee feature was developed by www.kidscoop.com, whose work appears in more than 200 newspapers, and is being distributed to classrooms free of charge. (See the full practice test/poster.)

Send comments to: feedback@kidscoop.com

UPDATE 12/10/04: Those responsible for the spelling bee have apologized – see text of apology here.

Happy Chanukah to our Jewish readers, and thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.



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