Thursday, July 27, 2006

Definitely Not Impartial

Yesterday on All Things Considered Michele Norris interviewed Linda Gradstein regarding the Israeli strike on a UN observation post that killed 4 UN observers. The story has been making headlines mainly because there is significant evidence that the strike was intentional (hours of artillery shelling, phone calls to Israeli commanders, assurances of safety, and the final, lethal attack being done with a laser guided bomb.) There were two pointed moments in this interview. In the first Michele Norris asks Linda Gradstein what the Israeli military is saying about the attack, and Gradstein answers, "Well, they won’t give details; they say that the issue is still under investigation and they don’t know exactly how the mistake happened, however they completely reject any allegations that Israel deliberately targeted a UN base...." Notice how this subtle this sleight of hand is: Gradstein is not directly quoting a military source, she's summing it up. That she calls it "the mistake" is unacceptable reporting since that is the position of the IDF, not objective fact supported by evidence. Another stunner is later in the interview when Gradstein is describing the UN observers and their mission and says "at the same time Israeli officials have said to me that the United Nations troops were not necessarily impartial and that they were prejudiced against Israel" (the implication, of course, is that they deserved targeting them--even though it was a mistake!)

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