Rules and Guidelines for Westerners reporting on the Middle East
What do we do when someone writes something brilliant and insightful on their blog?
We gleefully cut and paste it.
From the blog: The Jihad threat against the West and Israel: Musings on Islamic fundamentalism and Israel from a UK perspective
I am pleased to reveal the following rule book issued to all members of the Western media corps:
Rule 1 (Incidents involving possible loss of Arab lives)
If there is any incident either in Israel or near its borders in which there are claims of Arab losses you should write a report with the following headline:
“Israeli troops kill X Arab civilians including Y children”
For the numbers X and Y simply choose the highest figures from the following sources:
* Syrian State Television
* The Palestinian Authority
* Al Jazeera
* Any person within 20 miles of the incident who is wearing a kaffiya or a Burka.
You do not need to state the source of your claim. In the unlikely event that an Israeli spokesman claims either a different figure or that the incident simply did not happen you may end your report with the following:
“An Israeli spokesman claimed, without evidence, that they ‘acted in self-defence’.
Note that there are certain circumstances where Arab deaths from violence should not be reported at all. This is when Arabs themselves openly claim to be the killers. This applies, for example, in the following cases:
* Mass slaughter in fighting between different rival groups (Hamas vs PA, Hamas vs Al Qaeda, PA vs Islamic Jihad etc)
* Where the victims are accused of being Israeli collaborators
If news of these killings does leak out into the Western media then simply write a brief statement including the words:
“The underlying cause of the violence was the oppressive Israeli occupation”
Any claims of deaths of Israelis during such incidents can be assumed to be false and hence ignored.
Rule 2: Incidents involving loss of Israeli lives
If Israelis are killed in a terrorist attack, then treat this as an opportunity to take a vacation from reporting.
However, you should immediately return from your vacation if it is discovered that an Israeli family in Jerusalem is planning to build an extra bedroom to accommodate their new baby. In that case you should write a story with the headline
Israelis destroy chance of peace by announcing new West Bank settlement plans.
At the end of the article you can use the following statement:
An Israeli government spokesman claimed that the settlement plans were in response to what they claimed was a ‘terrorist attack’.
The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
* In the event of a suicide bombing you may interview the suicide bomber’s family and write a sympathetic piece stating how the bomber was a loving family person driven to his/her actions by the Israeli occupation. Be careful to refer to the actual suicide bombing only in vague abstract terms, never mentioning the victims or their families.
* In the event of a particularly brutal terrorist attack, such as the slaughter of an entire family in their home in which a baby is decapitated, you can, if news of the attack reaches outside Israel, write a brief report with the following words:
“Although the Israelis claim that a terrorist attack occurred at X, it is more likely to have been the result of a disgruntled Thai worker, Jewish militants intent on sparking anti-Arab violence, or simply a family dispute. ”
Make sure you never mention the widepsread celebrations that take place throughout the Palestinian territories. Instead you should quote a Palestinian Authority spokesman, who having just led the celebrations with proclamations such as "This will be the fate of all Jews" in Arabic tells you in English that the Palestinian Authority do not approve of the attack as it damages their cause, and that in any case such actions are the natural response to the Israeli occupation.
There are thirteen rules. Visit the blog. Check 'em out.