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Media Critique #7 - CBS News

Media Critique #7 - CBS News

CBS and 60 Minutes gives Yasser Arafat an unchallenged forum for some outrageous allegations.

by Staff,1597,246772-412,00.shtml

1. "For five weeks, both sides have been locked in a vicious circle of death. The Palestinians march to bury their dead. Then, enraged by the funerals, they begin to throw rocks and some fire guns at Israeli soldiers, who fire back, killing more Palestinians which leads to more funerals."

Violation of objectivity: Selective omission

CBS News presents three steps in the cycle of violence: 1) Israeli attack resulting in funerals, 2) Palestinian response, 3) Israeli attack.

Huh? CBS has conveniently omitted the actual first step, which is Palestinian rioters threatening the lives of Israeli soldiers.

CBS sounds like it is mimicking the classic Arafat lie. When asked by a reporter if he was willing to stop the violence in the Mideast, Arafat said, "I am not the one who initiated the violence. I am not the one attacking." (quoted at: )

2. Arafat blames all the recent violence on Ariel Sharon - Israel's hardline opposition leader -- who five weeks ago made a point of visiting a key Muslim holy place in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Arafat said he knew about Sharon's visit three days in advance, and tried to head it off because he knew it would trigger clashes.

"I had asked (Israeli Prime Minister) Ehud Barak and asked others why Sharon is insistent to come in this delicate time," Arafat said. "(Barak) kept silent. I raised this question to President Clinton to try with me to convince Barak not to give him the permission to go to visit," Arafat said. Arafat said he also told the European Union, the Vatican and Arab leaders about the planned visit.

Violation of objectivity: Imbalanced reporting

Arafat makes the outrageous claim that he beseeched world leaders, trying valiantly to stop Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, fearing that it would lead to violence.

Although this statement is made in the context of an interview, "60 Minutes" is an "investigative journalism" program, and should ask Arafat to substantiate such a bold assertion.

Similarly, when Arafat later asserts that "Mr. Clinton remains popular among Palestinians," it is a direct contradiction of fact. Why did "60 Minutes" not question Arafat about anti-American demonstrations by Palestinians in the past month, where American flags are regularly torched, Madeline Albright is burned in effigy, and Presidents Clinton's picture is used for target practice? (See photos at:

3. "...[Shimon Peres] met with Arafat and both sides agreed finally to back off and try to live up to the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement. But that was easier said than done, especially since extremists on both sides seem beyond government control. For example, after the Peres-Arafat deal, the extremist group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed two Israelis in Jerusalem."

Violation of objectivity: Distortion of facts

With the phrase "extremists on both sides seem beyond government control," CBS tries to equate Palestinian violence with some corresponding violence on the Israeli side. But since CBS cannot find any "beyond control" Israeli incidents to report, they cite only the example of the murderous Palestinian car bombing.

Complaints? Fax to: (212) 245-7560, Attn: Foreign Editor Chris Hume

Or feedback online at:,1712,412,00.html

December 31, 1969

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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Anonymous, August 7, 2002 12:00 AM

(Note:I have no ties to ether parties)
I believe that there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as both Palestinians and Israelis believe that they each have sole right to the land in which they both dwell. The fiercest wars in history have been fought over two things power and land. So much violence and pain has been inflicted, that both parties have lost sight of individual victims; victims of violence only increase the resolve of their brethren to gain a sufficient measure of revenge on the assailant.

The damage is so great that if Israel went back to its old boarders, that the Palestinians would feel that they are owed more. And if Israel stays where they are the Palestinians will feel more and more strangled by oppression. Where as an outsider looking in I see that they both strangle each other, locking each other into a destructive grappling match for sole ownership of the land.
The only way that each side will ever move forward is to come to the conclusion that they both have the same rights that cant be given precedent over the others.

(2) larry gutterman, March 12, 2002 12:00 AM

nbc's nightly news b'cast: feb 25

briefly: on 2-28 tom brokaw began his newscast with the words: " the israelis war against the palestinians..."
i wonder if i am the only one who caught that.

(1) andrew salmon, December 11, 2001 12:00 AM

the palestinians are constantly attacking jews

why cant the Palestinian people wake up and realise that the state of Israel does not belong to them.histrory proves that the jews are the original settlers of the land of Israel.It doesn't matter how long the people Israel [jews]had left the land for .They fail to realise that the land itself posesses no real wealth but it's the Jews which have made it prosperous,so if they were to get it[israel]idoubt they would be as properous as the jews.

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