Sept 2, 2004

IHT and the Terror Strategy

On Aug 31, 2004 HonestReporting published a communique that criticizes journalist Jonathan Cook for, among other things, complaining of insufficient news coverage of the current Palestinian hunger strike. HonestReporting's communique contains the following:

Cook's case in point - the Palestinian hunger strike currently underway in Israeli prisons. But in fact, the press has been covering this strike on almost a daily basis - see full Reuters reports for example, on Aug. 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, and 30.

First, it's worth noting that HonestReporting describes the Reuters articles as "full Reuters reports". These are all simply articles, just like any other article published by Reuters or the AP. Calling them "full Reuters reports" is a weak attempt by HonestReporting at giving these articles an importance that they just don't have.

Secondly, for HonestReporting to state that "the press has been covering this strike on almost a daily basis" is an exaggeration. HonestReporting inflates the number of Reuters articles by including one that they shouldn't have and including another that didn't even exist.

HonestReporting bogusly includes a Reuters article published the same day as Cook's article (August 30). By doing so, HonestReporting is attempting to discredit Cook's article by using a source that didn't even exist when his article was written.

HonestReporting also includes a Reuters article from August 17 in this list. The link provided by HonestReporting does not point to a Reuters article, but only to a title of an article. Furthermore, Reuter's archives don't even contain an article about the hunger strike on August 17.

After throwing out the two bogus days that HonestReporting counted, Reuters published articles on six out of the first 15 days of the hunger strike (August 15 until August 29). Hardly "on almost a daily basis".

To be fair, I also decided to check how many articles the other large wire service, the Associated Press, printed about the hunger strike.

It's no wonder that HonestReport doesn't use the AP as an example because their coverage has been just short of pathetic.

During the same 15 day period, the AP has published a grand total of two articles ( #1 and #2, both from August 16) and very minor mentions of the hunger strike in four other articles since then. Using the phrase "very minor mentions" is entirely accurate, because all four of the articles (August 18, 20, 22, 23) combined for a total of only eight sentences about the hunger strike. In addition, seven of the eight sentences were simply added at the end of an article on another topic, as if they were a complete afterthought.

It is now the beginning of September, and the AP hasn't even bothered writing an article about the hunger strike for over two weeks.

HonestReporting's claim that coverage of this hunger strike occurred on an "almost a daily basis" is clearly an exaggeration, considering the fact that the combined articles of the two most widely used wire services don't even cover half of the days.