This Washington Post story about President Bush’s promise to take new steps to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute demonstrates why the Post’s coverage of the Middle East generates so much criticism. Early in the story, the Post reports on the reaction from “diplomats in the region and beyond,” including “one senior diplomat involved in the Israeli-Palestinian project.” We learn that these diplomats are “cynical” about Bush’s announcement and regard it as “minimal” and otherwise flawed. But we given no information about who these diplomats are, where they are from, or what interests they represent. Instead, the Post tries to convey the impression that the diplomats are disinterested members of a panel of experts on the “Israeli-Palestinian project.” In reality, they are surely partisans in what is actually a conflict, not a “project.” The story does not even adhere to the Post’s usual hatchet job formula of burying contrarian opinions in the last paragraphs of the story. There are three possible points of view about President Bush’s promise —
(1) that they are inadequate and/or not worthy of belief, (2) that Bush has gotten it right, and (3) that he should not be making these types of promises at all. The Post airs only the first view. But, then, only that view is consistent with the Post’s Israeli-Palestinian project.
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