Point Austin: Oppel vs. Chomsky

Abstract

The exchange actually began with a letter from local Palestinian-American and activist Sylvia Shihadeh, who wrote to Oppel with the complaint that reporting from the Middle East in the U.S. press in general and the Statesman in particular tends unfairly to favor Israel. Oppel reduced the charge to a claim of "censorship" of reporting and stoutly denied the charge: "We don't put a pro-Israeli slant on things." ("Tracking down claims of bias in Middle East reporting," July 23, Austin American-Statesman) In his heart of hearts, I'm sure Oppel believes that, because he conceives of "slant" as something carefully slathered on copy during the production process, like oil-based paint. Yet anyone looking for evidence that mainstream editors (and too many reporters) see the Middle East exclusively through U.S./Israeli foreign-policy spectacles will be able to cite these two Oppel columns as undeniable evidence.

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