18 09 2007

I read the Washington Post for U.S. news. This is not because I think the Post is the best source for news but because of plain old brand loyalty, born out of the fact that D.C. was the first place I ever lived without my parents. Sometimes I like to read the Metro section and say to myself, “Oh, that place! I remember that place!”

But I have got to stop reading the Post. Check out this article – it was the third of the headlines in the daily e-mail today.

Hamas’s New Order Exacts Toll On Gazans
Party Cements Grip with Harsh Tactics

I don’t support Hamas. But the way the U.S. media represents Hamas is often sensationalist and misleading. One thing you should understand before you read anything about Palestine is that politics there are violent in the extreme, and the tactics this article describes Hamas as using are employed on all sides – by Israel, by Hamas, and recently by Fatah. Most effectively by Israel, which is obviously much better funded than anyone else.

So while the article is probably not factually inaccurate it is remarkably misleading – it leaves you with the impression that Hamas is singly responsible for all the misery in Palestine.

Look! This person wears different clothes than you!It starts out with a description of a beach club in Gaza, at which one once could wear a bikini, but which is now populated by people who wear “bushy beards” and burqas. So, you know, they look funny. In fact, the claim in the fifth paragraph, that “Hamas leaders are increasingly imposing harsh interpretations of Islamic law and using brute force to bolster their isolated administration,” is only supported by the fact that there are more beards and burqas floating around Gaza now than there were a couple of years ago.

But the worst thing about the article is that it ends with a description of a strike at a Gaza hospital, which is taking place because of medicine shortages and the prevention of hundreds of patients from continuing their treatment in Israel (due to the wall, you know. That Israel built.), and the writer tries to pin the whole thing on Hamas by using two quotes from Fatah supporters.