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Andy Thayer

Andy Thayer

Posted: June 21, 2010 05:08 PM

Fair and Balanced ... on Public Radio?

What's Your Reaction:

I just listened to Chicago Public Radio -- not Fox News -- run its top of the hour news capsule, followed by its syndicated BBC Newshour.

The top story on both? Israel announcing a partial lifting of its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Both Chicago Public Radio news capsule and the capsule that BBC ran at the beginning of its program began with quotes from Israeli representatives explaining how their new policy differed from the old one. Then there were a quotes from former British Prime Minister and current Middle East envoy Tony Blair.

No quotes from the Free Gaza Flotilla, the organization which lost 9 lives while bringing us to this turn of events.

No quotes from Palestinians. Presumably the latter might have something to say about getting the food, medicine and building materials they desperately need. Presumably they might want to comment on whether they believe Israel's and Blair's latest statements, given the patent untruths Israel has made about what was and wasn't allowed in under the previous policy.

Surely the BBC would balance these comments once they got to the detail portion of their Newshour program. But no. Once we got to the detail story, we got yet more quotes from Israel, more quotes from Blair, and because they ran out of relevant people to talk to, the announcer conducted an in-depth interview -- with his own Middle East correspondent.

A significant part of the interview? How Israeli citizens might feel about the announced policy change. Again Palestinians, the objects of the action and "the little people" using BP's inimitable phrase, don't warrant any reporting about their opinions.

So Chicago Public Radio and BBC assist in the dehumanization of a whole people.

Last week the International Red Cross described Israel's and Egypt's blockade as "collective punishment," which is defined in international law as a war crime. Too bad that Chicago Public Radio and the BBC chose its own form of collective punishment.

PS -- Just listened to the start of this evening's All Things Considered, National Public Radio's nationwide news feed. The top story? White House reaction to Israel's announcement., with no reporting on anyone else's views.

Still waiting to hear from anyone on the receiving end of U.S./Israeli policies.

 

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