Skip to comments.'Newsweek' Creates An Agenda To Support Its Fantasy World
Posted on 01/14/2009 1:20:52 PM PST by jazusamo
Newsweek, also known as the Barack Obama weekly, finally got Barack and Michelle Obama off the front cover. But one of its latest issues demonstrates that bias is only one of Newsweeks problems. The news magazine generously mixes strong bias with weak journalism laced with ignorance, incompetence, and substitution of fiction for fact. It should change its name to the News-weakly.
Ive spent many columns documenting biased journalism in the mainstream media. But Ive noticed that the bias is just one sign of the rapidly deteriorating and melting down of journalism. Journalism, as we know it, died during the last presidential campaign.
So Ive often said, half in jest and half in earnest, that maybe many of these media outlets arent so much biased as they are incompetent. Unfortunately, Newsweek and the others have a rich mixture of bias and incompetence.
But there are two critically important elements in addition to bias found in Newsweek, one of the worst of the mainstream media, and the rest of the mainstream media. First , there is the fictionalization of the news. Newsweek, out of bias and ignorance, actually creates fantasy worlds to justify its agenda. Second, there is also a strong element of ignorance and incompetence, which is woven into the fabric of the media product, along with the bias and substitution fiction for fact.
These issues came into focus when I took a look at a recent Newsweek (Jan. 12) with a cover story titled Will It Ever End? It Could Heres How (referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) with the byline of Daniel Klaidman. As this was such a prominently displayed front-cover story, with four reporters being credited for the work, I assumed it would be carefully and thoroughly researched, despite the usual Newsweek bias.
I also made that assumption, as Newsweek was announcing it had a solution to a problem that has eluded others for a century or more. But I found so much substandard journalism mixed with the bias that it was hard to identify the source of the reporting problems.
As I read the article, I found it was strewn with sloppy journalism, and displayed more ignorance than insight into what is going on in the Middle East and more misconceptions than useful insights. I offer the following analysis.
The article starts out with the most obvious and fundamental mistake, by this observation:
Much of the outside world, not without justification, views the Gaza campaign as yet another atavistic explosion of Arab Israeli violence that will, once again, set back the efforts.
This suggests Israels attack against the terrorist, rocket-firing Hamas was just a reflex action, as though determined genetically by inherited hatred. Perhaps to politically correct loony leftists this explanation would make sense. But any fair-minded and intelligent observer would know that if a terrorist organization is indiscriminately firing deadly rockets into civilian population centers, you have to react and do so decisively.
How long would you want the U.S. to wait if the government of Canada or Mexico was firing thousands of rockets into American cities? The answer is so obvious that it is shocking that a large group of Newsweek reporters and editors would come up with such pure stupidity and irrationality. You have to conclude they would object to such random killings and attacks for anyone else, with an apparent exception only for Jews and Israelis.
This kind of reasoning is related to two commonly employed fallacies of the mainstream media the fallacy of moral equivalence and the fallacy of cycle of violence. The fallacy of moral equivalence holds that the two sides are both wrapped in justified and unjustified reasons for the violence and so neither side can be blamed.
They just fire back and forth, automatically and irrationally. The facts do not bear this out. Hamas, by its charter and all the declarations of its leaders, is committed to the genocide on Israel and has said it is not interested in peace conferences or settlements. Its sole objective is to kill the Jews and destroy Israel.
In contrast, Israel has been seeking peace with the Arabs since the U.N. action calling for a two-state solution. The cycle of violence fallacy sees every attack as just part of an endless tit-for-tat sequence without any blame, responsibility or accountability for any single event.
Then Newsweek goes on to another false proposition, what it calls a maddening fact about the Israeli-Palestinian relationship: there is only one path to peace, and both sides know what it is and yet neither side has been willing to take it.
Thus Newsweek proclaims its total ignorance of what has been going on for the past 60 years and even before that. There was the U.N. partition plan of Nov. 29, 1947. Israel accepted the creation of a Jewish and a Palestinian state to exist side by side. The Arabs could have had their state since that day in 1947. But instead of accepting peace and statehood, they prepared for war and genocide. Arab mobs and paramilitary units started attacking Jewish settlements.
Britain was still in charge so Arab governments held back on their planned aggression. But as soon as British control ended on May 14, 1948, seven Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Syria. That set a pattern that has been continued ever since: Israel accepting peace plans and Palestinians rejecting them. So how does Newsweek say that Israel has been unwilling to take the path to peace?
During the first Camp David Accord that created the peace agreement with Egypt in 1979, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin invited Yasser Arafat to the conference table for peace. As usual, Arafat rejected the invitation and stepped up violence against Israel. So how does Newsweek say that Israel has been unwilling to take the path to peace?
An Arab summit conference in 1981 called for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. The PLO and every other participant promptly rejected the proposal, even before Israel had a chance to respond. So how does Newsweek say Israel has been unwilling to take the path to peace?
There were talks in Madrid during October 1991 involving leading families of Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and delegates from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The people of Israel were ready to make a deal. But the Arabs at the talks followed the Arafat approach and rejected even the initiation of peace talks. So how can Newsweek say Israel has been unwilling to take the path to peace?
Then came the Oslo Accords. Arafat was brought out of exile to run the Palestinian Authority. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza and the West Bank. What did Arafat do in response to this peace plan? Arafat, in collusion with Hamas and a dozen other terrorist groups launched a terror campaign against Israel. So how can Newsweek say Israel has refused to take the path to peace?
One of the most publicized in this sequence of peace plans accepted by Israel and rejected by the Arabs was called Camp David II. With Bill Clinton overseeing the process. Israels Ehud Barak offered the Palestinian Authority Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank. In return, Israel wanted only an end to the conflict. Again the peace plan was rejected by Arafat and the Palestinians. Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for the failure of this peace process. So how can Newsweek say Israel has refused to take the path to peace?
Then came the so-called Road Map, at first developed by the Quartet representatives from the UN, the European Union, Russia and the U.S. A month later, in October of 2002, President George Bush developed a more detailed approach to peace.
That included a two-state solution, preceded by the Palestinians ending terrorism and incitement of Jew-hatred in the mosques, the media, and the schools in the Palestinian authority and Israel at the same time would stop new settlements and gradually evacuate old ones. The Palestinians rejected the Road Map altogether and Arafats successor, Mahmoud Abbas, declared terrorism would continue. Israel agreed. So how can Newsweek say Israel has refused to take the path to peace?
This sequence has been catalogued in an excellent book by David Meir-Levi titled History Upside Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression, and in many other places. All those peace overtures were accepted by the Israelis but rejected by the Pa lestinians. The Israelis want peace and economic development; the Palestinians want murder, death, terrorism, genocide and the destruction of the state of Israel. But the experts at Newsweek conclude neither side is ready to take the path to peace.
Even without that long history of Israels acceptance of peace terms and Palestinian rejectionism, a reasonable mind would know that Israel wants and needs peace. It is a tiny sliver of a country in a great ocean of hostile Arab and Muslim countries, many dedicated to its extinction. It would take a flight of logic into the wild realm of psychosis to assume Israel doesnt want and need peace.
Newsweek gets the history of peace attempts wrong in part and ignores the rest altogether. For example, it says the Camp David accord in 2000 collapsed partly because time ran out on Clintons term and partly because neither side had the political clout to sell the deal back home. As indicated, there was no peace because Arafat rejected a good deal from the Israelis and returned to terrorism and genocide instead. Mr. Clinton blamed the collapse of the deal on Arafat.
Thomas Friedman of The New York Times wrote that Israel extended the olive branch and Arafat torched it. Newsweek apparently thinks it was writing fiction and could tell the story to fit its agenda. This is why I say the combination of bias and incompetence somehow leads to the fictionalization of the Newsweek news.
Newsweek, in an attempt to explain the Palestinian position, writes, As many of them see it, the land of Israel is land that the world stole from them in 1948, leaving them without a home. Newsweek is willing to print any claim or assertion, without feeling the necessity of indicating authoritative countervailing opinion or even the falsity of the claim. The land was not stolen from the Arabs leaving them without a home. The Jews had been there for over three thousand years, and, unlike the Arabs they actually established a sovereign state in that land. As experts agree, there was never any such country as Palestinians and until the U.N. partition, the Palestinians did not even view themselves as a separate nation.
Whats more, there were a series of international acts culminating in the U.N. partition that recognized the state of Israel and at the same time tried to create a state for the Palestinians, which they rejected. Finally, the Arabs were not left without a home. The Arabs were welcome to stay in their home and it was pressure of Arab leaders that caused most of them to leave. Those leaders wanted to make room for conquering armies, with a promise that after Israel was conquered they could return to their home. Those Arabs that stayed have full rights as Israeli citizens and enjoy more rights and prosperity than they would in any of Israels neighboring Arab and Muslim countries.
The next of the endless blunders of Newsweek involves options available in the peace process: There are no options other than a comprehensive agreement that creates two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, warily existing side by side. That is total nonsense. For example, John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN (2005-06), made this suggestion in the New York Post (Jan. 11):
The only real chance the Palestinian people have is if they have an authority that isnt run by corrupt politicians or terrorists, which are the only two current options. The Palestinian Authority isnt something you can really turn into a viable state, so the best option for the Palestinian people is to be hooked up to real countries Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan.
These are both viable ongoing economies that can improve the lives of the average Palestinian citizen better than the mythical Palestinian state. If there are Palestinians who are neither Hamas nor Fatah, they have to speak up and say, Were at these peoples mercy. Its a very hard point to get to, but thats why continually pushing the rock of the two-state solution up the hill is a waste of time. Thats a dead end and counterproductive.
Then Newsweek makes another pitch, under which is hidden its bankrupt policy suggestions: The next president must be willing to pressure the next Israeli prime minister to make difficult concessions for peace. This is code language for pressuring Israel into indefensible borders and an unsustainable peace treaty. Israel has made all kinds of difficult concessions for peace on its own. They have not brought about peace. Israel has demonstrated it wants peace, and the Palestinians would have it if they would make a few easy concessions for peace, such as stopping terrorism and incitement of Jew hatred.
Yes, Newsweek has constructed a world not based on fact, but sitting on its apparent bias, incompetence and a left-wing, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agenda.
Then Newsweek gets to its predictions as to what provisions will be needed to achieve a lasting agreement for peace. The recommendations arent likely to make much sense, as they are based on ignorance and misunderstanding of the situation in the Middle East. For example, one of their fundamental Articles of the proposed Newsweek settlement relates to refugees. Newsweek says the Palestinian refugees fled or were forced from their territory in 1948. This is a partial and misleading explanation. Mitchell Bard in his book Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict has a more accurate explanation: Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, thousands more responded to Arab leaders calls to get out of the way of advancing armies, a handful were expelled, but most simply fled to avoid getting caught in the cross fire of a battle.
So the blame for the creation of the problem lies largely with the Arab invaders and their leaders, not the Israelis. Newsweek recommends a token number of refugees be allowed to return to Israel. The others would be allowed into the newly created state of Palestine and some would be settled in other willing Arab countries. In addition, the refugees would be allowed to petition an international court for compensation for what they lost.
Notice that no mention is made of the Jewish refugees. During the U.N. debate on partition, Arab leaders threatened the Jews living in Arab countries. For example, Egypts delegate told the General Assembly, The lives of one million Jews would be jeopardized by partition. And they were, consequently precipitating a flood of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries fleeing to Israel. They fled from such countries as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Libya and Lebanon. Most of them were resettled in Israel. In contrast, the Arab refugees were kept in refugee camps to be used as political leverage against Israel. There is no reason they were not settled in Arab countries.
If they are to get compensation, it should come from the Arab nations that urged them to flee Israel and from the Arab nations that refused to resettle them. Furthermore, if the Arab refugees are to get special consideration and compensation, by like token, the same should be extended to Jewish refugees.
This little exercise suggests that the reports on many subjects coming out of the mainstream media, such as those on the Arab-Israeli conflict, have to be read with great ca ution as they are often seriously infected with the virus of bias as well as that of ignorance producing a final product best described as fiction.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And Newsweak is down to what, four pages now?
“Journalism” actually died long before 2008.
I don’t think you missed it by much. :)
Newsweek - not worth the paper it’s printed on.
See the listing for Newsweek. They’re not long for this world.
January - December 2008 vs 2007
Certainly that is so, but the fellatio which masqueraded as 2008 presidential campaign coverage was the eulogy.
I agree with everything stated here. Newsweek is really Newsweak. The magazine is really a joke. I never read it very often but I don’t read it at all now. It really is a joke.
Bump for Later.
Invest your money with ConPrint now - owners and publishers of these papers are going to get filthy rich over time..
I looked at the ConPrint website (www.conprint.com). It appears they manufacture airline ticket printers. Is there another ConPrint?
I agree. Unfortunately they likely will be among the first in line to get a new bailout from the Obamunists.
Mister Isakoff's reply was typical of the media's delusional attitude...
"...it's important to remember there was absolutely no lapse in journalistic standards here..."
What a fungus is Newsweek's Mister Isakoff.
Newsweek (and the Post) obediently continue their anti-American fables to ingratiate themselves with the fellow-traveling Obama/Ayers administration.
What they do not understand is that the First Amendment is now kaput in the national media, and it's their fault.
They have rallied to eliminate their own freedom of the press.
The members of the dominant media are now either for Marxist Obama, or they are an enemy of the people.
Agreed! Hopefully when Newsweek tanks it'll take Isikoff down for good.
Oh. Thanks. Never heard the term before. ConPrint it is.
Yes, as I recall, among those murdered was a nun in the Middle East. That liar Isakoff was directly responsible for her death, and that of other innocent people.
Not that he cares.
I was at my dentistrecently. there were 8 magazines in the waiting room. 6 of the 8 had at least one of the Obama’s on the cover. one of them may have been a surfing magazine.
My diarrhea prone parrot will greatly miss Newsweek’s immanent demise.
Seriously, who on earth actually reads Newsweek?
If it happens and you need to conserve paper you might want to put chamomile tea in her water dish or bottle so she won't be so messy. It usually cures avian diarrhea.
Good point, it can't be many!