Thursday, June 02, 2005

Now Even the Sports Section Piles on Israel 

We sometimes think that the sports section is the last bastion of objectivity in modern newspapers. And we are sometimes wrong.

LA Times sportswriter Pete Thomas goes offside when he comes across a story of Israeli soldiers' misdeeds that carries even the faintest whiff of a sports connection:

Israeli soldiers reportedly barged into a Palestinian home in the West Bank city of Hebron last week with what they apparently believed was just cause: to check out the Champions League soccer final between AC Milan and Liverpool.

Reuters news agency quotes a Palestinian teenager as saying the soldiers commandeered the TV set -- and broke furniture and windows -- after asking him on the street if his family owned one. Khigaji al Batch said the same thing had happened at his home two weeks earlier.

"They are using our houses like a cinema," Al Batch said.
That sounds awful, and it appears likely that it actually went down for the most part as reported here. I'm not writing to refute the allegation.

What gets me is what is left out of this report. I, the most untrained non-journalist any mainstream reporter could imagine, was able to track down the details -- from an AP report no less.

(AP) - JERUSALEM-The Israeli army on Friday disciplined six soldiers who forced their way into a Palestinian home to watch the European Champions League soccer championship this week.


Nonetheless, the army said it suspended the officer in charge and was taking disciplinary action against the other soldiers.
I'm not really accusing the reporter of being too incompetent to find or read an AP report. I am implying the likelihood that a reporter stuck in the backwaters of the paper's "Grab-Bag of Interesting Sports Stuff" assignment did the Fosbury Flop over the opportunity to bash Israel for its misdeeds, just like the Big Boys, and that he knows the formula perfectly well:

Report any Israeli misdeeds. Do not obsess over the fact that Israel is a democracy in which any misdeeds are punished and corrected, no one cares. This technique also works for the US military. Remember this rule: we report on the rampant abuses in democracies and open societies, because in totalitarian regimes there are no abuses. Now repeat the rule a few times and enjoy your career.
By the way, according to the AP report, Liverpool overcame a 3-0 deficit to win the championship, beating Milan 3-2 on penalties, but our sportswriter wasn't interested in this bit of trivia.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: