Fox Fraud – Flabby Response

Fox’s release of a two minute clip of Shirley Sherrod speech at an NAACP meeting was fraud.  Fox producers and on air personalities abdicated all responsibility to verify the content and context of Sherrod’s presentation. They knew Breitbart’s reputation for slicing and dicing video clips and quotes to serve his own agenda. But Fox wanted the tapes and accepted the tapes as they were handed over, no questions asked.

That is the real news and central issue of the Shirley Sherrod case.  Without Fox enabling, Breitbart would not have had such a large distribution for his lie, the Secretary of Agriculture would not have jumped the gun in firing Sherrod, and the Obama Administration would not have egg on its face over another ‘race’ issue. Fox commentators can no longer hide behind the ‘opinion journalism’ shield they’ve used to ward off critics in the past.  They’ve been caught red-handed by the 24-hour news cycle they so proudly try to control.  The network’s rank amateurishness in releasing tapes before verifying their newsworthiness would be laughable if Fox hadn’t lent its ‘fair and balanced’ hand to creating the news, rather than reporting it.

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Those Pesky Palestinians

Print, blogs and cable sizzle with news of rifts between the Israeli Netanyahu and Obama administrations. They cover differences within the American Jewish community on how best to support Israel and protect its security with the enthusiasm (and detachment) of spectator sport. U.S. coverage of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict exists in an odd reality of its own.  It is rare to find an article, much less in-depth examination, of the Palestinians or the changes that have tanken place in the West Bank since Arafat’s death and Hamas take-over of Gaza.

The media reports endlessly on Israeli settlement controversies, but say nothing about the reformist Palestinian government of PM Amir Fayyad in the West Bank. The Canadian International Council puts it succinctly:

The essence of the Fayyad plan involves establishing an internationally recognized demilitarized Palestinian state that embraces both the West Bank and Gaza, and that is based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Since August 2009, Fayyad, with the help of the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government, has been quietly building national institutions and physical infrastructure, strengthening governance, increasing personal security, and creating a robust economic base in the West Bank in order to create facts on the ground that will lead the international community to recognize a Palestinian state and pressure Israel to end the occupation.

When Yassir Arafat headed the PLO, Israeli governments complained they had no authentic ‘partner in peace’ with whom to negotiate. Well, now they do. Not only that, but the new Palestinian regime has taken cues from Israel’s own preparation for independence. Key to building a claim to statehood was the massive relocation of diaspora Jews to British-controlled Palestine, the ‘facts on the ground’ Israel used to demonstrate its legitimacy.

Fayyad is building his own facts. The Palestinians are creating the institutions necessary for independent rule, including contracting with the U.S. military to train a professional Palestinian security force that is slowly replacing Israeli forces in the West Bank. Fayyad has made it clear to the international community: the burden is squarely on the Palestinians to prepare for statehood. He intends to deliver.

What would happen if Palestinians declare an independent state outside a formal negotiation with Israel? Obviously this is a pivotal question overhanging current steps each party is taking towards direct negotiations. The PLA is certainly not keeping it a secret. Yet does anyone doubt that no more than 1-2% of the American public has even heard the name Salam Fayyad? Once again, the mass media has failed its followers by not reporting developments in the most strategic area of the world for the U.S., – an area in which thousands of US soldiers perished in wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, on an issue at the heart of Arab and Islamic attitudes against America.

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