Wednesday, October 03, 2007

1. Freedom in the press

The NY Sun produces a lot of bad reporting on the Middle East. And of the countless lousy stories that come out on Iran, the NY Sun's Eli Lake consistently puts out the lousiest material.

But it turns that ideological fervor and lazy reporting on the part of individual journalists may not be the only explanation for the poor quality of NY Sun's journalism.

The New York Observer got their hands on the In-House Style Guide of the NY Sun, revealing that the book provides Sun journalists with much more than the standard instructions on quotes, datelines, headlines, etc.

For example, NY Sun reporters must employ the following:

West Bank and Gaza Strip. Territories under Israeli control from 1967 onward. 'The territories' is acceptable on second reference, as are Judea or Samaria for the Southern and Northern regions of the West Bank. Avoid the phrase 'occupied territories.'

Ethnic. Means not Jewish or Christian.

Jerusalem. Avoid the phrase 'Arab East Jerusalem.'

communist, socialist. See AP stylebook. Any favorable reference to a communist must be shown to either the editor or the managing editor of the Sun before publication.

How embarrassing for the NY Sun and its reporters.

2. Freedom on Campus

The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, was slated to host civil rights activist and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu in the Spring of 2008.

But university officials banned the Nobel Laureate because he had made comments critical of Israel. His biggest crime was apparently committed at a 2002 speech.

During that speech, titled "Occupation Is Oppression," Tutu lambasted the Israeli government for its treatment of Palestinians in occupied territories. While a transcription clearly suggests his criticism was aimed at the Israeli government ("We don't criticize the Jewish people," he said during the speech. "We criticize, we will criticize when they need to be criticized, the government of Israel"), pro-Israeli organizations such as the Zionist Organization of America went on the offensive and protested campus appearances by Tutu, accusing him of anti-Semitism.

Maybe Desmond Tutu should pick up a copy of the NY Sun In-House Style book and shift his speech accordingly. Surely then he will be allowed to speak on whatever US campus he wishes.