Monday, May 10, 2010

Article: Upbeat note in Mideast talks

The Hartford Courant published an Associated Press article entitled "Upbeat note in Mideast talks" with a subtitle "U.S. praises both sides as they pledge modest steps" on Monday, May 10. A variation is available on Google News.

The article was mostly factual, reporting on what State Department spokesman said about the initial round of proximity talks with Mideast envoy George Mitchell shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

There were a few instances of opinion inserted in the article, but the opinions did not seem to reflect any bias.

Opinion: The article included the sentence "Resumption of the peace talks amounts to the first achievement here for the Obama administration."

This includes at least two opinions, that the proximity talks amount to an achievement and that there have been not other achievements for the Obama administration regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Inaccuracy, Misleading: The article indicated State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said "Israel committed to no building in a housing project in disputed east Jerusalem."

This is an interesting statement. (Note: It is a quote of the article, but not a quote of the spokesman.)

The language "a housing project" rather than "housing projects" indicates it refers to a specific housing project. Assuming this is what was intended, it is misleading because a careless reader is likely to incorrectly infer Israel has committed to freezing construction throughout Jerusalem.

Most likely, especially given assertions by Israeli government officials not included in this article, it is meant to refer to no building in Ramat Shlomo during the period of the proximity talks, which themselves are supposed to last no longer than four months. (Since the building in Ramat Shlomo is not scheduled for several years, this is a non-issue.) In this case, the reference to "east Jerusalem" is inaccurate, since Ramat Shlomo is in north-central Jerusalem.

If this inference about the statement referring to Ramat Shlomo is incorrect, then the statement is certainly misleading.

Opinion: The article included the assertion "Indirect talks are a step backward after 16 years of face-to-face negotiations."

This is certainly true, but it does represent an opinion. It also contradicts the earlier opinion that the start of the proximity talks represented an achievement.


Factual Accuracy: 9
Bias-Free: 10
Pro-Israel: 0
Anti-Israel: 0

No comments:

Post a Comment