Fox News is really two networks, on one side you have people like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity who are not reporters but commentators, they make no illusions about the fact their shows are opinion oriented not pure news.  Then on the other hand Fox has the reporters who generally play things right down the middle even in cases where the anchors take one side or the other.

Possibly the only exception to Fox’s record of fair reporting is the coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

For example this past July  Jerusalem correspondent Reena Ninan, made a charge that Israel practiced “pretty intense discrimination against Palestinians” who want to buy a home in Jerusalem. Ninan was being lazy, she took her report word for word from “a new study published by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim.” According to Ninan, the study showed:

that 80% of land in Jerusalem is marked for Jewish neighborhoods and cannot be purchased by Palestinians, debunking comments from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat who say the Jerusalem real-estate market is free and open to anyone regardless of national or religious identity.  

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Now, the Ir Amim report, does indeed make that claim Reena reported, but the biased or lazy Ninan didn’t bother to check whether the claim is true, it wasn’t. (for an explanation of why the story is false click here).

Ninan didn’t even bother to check out the source of the claim, Ir Amim to put it in context. NGO Monitor has investigated Ir Amim and reports (among other things):

  • An Ir Amim official said that the group was “seeking to advance a political agenda, and was not an organization geared to promote coexistence.”

Reena Ninan’s July report was not the only example of the Fox misreporting of Mideast news, just one of the latest, until today.  Take a look at this video report by reporter Leland Vittert

You notice how Mr.Vittert makes it seem as if Israel being stubborn, refusing to extend the freeze, just like Ms. Ninan he is either too biased or too lazy to investigate the context and provide the full report. For example Vittert talks about the freeze ending right after face to face negations started, but never mentions the fact that the freeze itself was meant a gesture by the Israeli government, a gesture that was ignored by the Palestinian side for nine months before they agreed to negotiate.  President Abbas was well aware of the time left in the year-long freeze when he entered into the talks. A skeptical person might even wonder if Abbas wasted the first nine months to ensure the talks failed.

There is a much bigger issue that Vittert is ignoring. The Palestinians never made the cession of building Israeli communities in the West Bank a pre-condition to peace talks until the Obama administration made it an issue.  During the government of Prime Minister Comb-over Olmert “peace” talks and construction of communities were happening at the same time.

The entire settlement issue was caused by the Obama administration’s naïveté. What the President and his advisers perceived as a minor concession (a construction freeze) was for Israel a grave sacrifice. This was a major error by the Obama administration. Their insistence on a freeze and their constant public berating of the Jewish State has turned the much of the Israeli population against Obama, especially the Israeli left, whom Obama would look to for support.

The news that Obama was breaking a Bush-era pledge to Israel regarding natural expansion in existing settlements only made things worse. And worse yet, it gave the Palestinians an excuse to avoid talking.

The fact that it was President Obama who made new construction in the disputed territories an issue, was mysteriously missing from Mr. Vittert’s report.

Compounding Obama’s mistake is the fact that the Palestinians have seized upon the American over-reaction as an excuse to avoid talking.  Clearly if Vittert gave an honest accounting of the reason for the breakdown in talks, he would have placed the blame squarely where it belonged, on the head of the American President, instead of inferring that it was the fault of the Jewish State.

What’s most interesting about Fox News and its two networks, is those programs headlined by commentators show both sides of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, they always have advocates on each side of the issue. Strangely, the reporters on the ground in Israel, who are supposed to tell the story “right down the middle” are either too biased or too lazy to do their job the right way.