A Reuters article yesterday on local elections in the Palestinian West Bank demonstrated rather obvious bias in media coverage. One article by one news agency is not all that important obviously, but the image portrayed is rather usual in mainstream commentary. The title of the article is "West Bank vote held to help plug Palestinian democracy gap."
By itself the title is true enough, as there have not been elections in the Occupied Territories for six years, but reading the article puts everything on the shoulders of Palestinians, as if only they could get their act together then they could have democracy. The article points out that Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections, but then goes on to observe that Hamas' victory was "an outcome nullified by the civil war that followed a year later."
This description leaves out three obvious facts. Immediately after Hamas won the election, the US, Israel and Europe threatenedandproceeded to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, and encouraged Arab nations to do so. It is disingenuous to leave out that the election results led to a call by the world's superpower for isolating the party that won. Secondly, there was indeed a civil war between Fatah and Hamas, but the article leaves out that the US was military supporting Fatah, leading to Hamas taking preemptive action to take over Gaza. Third, Israel launcheda massive wardesigned to punish Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza, for which Amnesty International accused Israel (and to a lesser extent Hamas) of war crimes. None of these facts described are controversial, but there is no threat of receiving any flak for putting the onus on Arabs rather than discuss the full context when it makes the US role seem less than magnificent to put it mildly.
Adam Weiss blogs at politicalcreativity.net