Why the TV news is garbage

Today WCYB reported that “Obama Calls For Israel’s Return to Pre-1967 Borders,” and added commentary about the negative response. Their report is not true. In cable news, you hear the headline over and over. In local news, you hear it once. If the headline is not true, you don’t hear the truth.

Of course the excuse if you raise the issue is that they are pressed for time and do not have time to include the details.

For those who can get to the Internet to check up on what people say, WCYB.com posted a longer article titled Obama Calls For Israel’s Return To Pre-1967 Borders
by Tom Cohen of CNN. If you go that far to check, you still have to read a bit to know that someone misled you because the headline is still a half-truth, which is a politically significant lie:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama on Thursday made official the long-held but rarely stated U.S. support for a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.

In the past, the United States has unofficially backed a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict based on the borders in place prior to the war 44 years ago in which Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula.

In a major speech Thursday, Obama became the first president to formally endorse the policy, but he also acknowledged the need for modifications through the negotiating process due to conditions on the ground. [italics mine]

The words in italics do not correct the lie in the headline. They confuse the issue with the idea that this information is an aside or a nod or a concession added to the recommendation. I heard the original speech. What President Obama said was that Israel should return to the pre-1967 borders with mutually-agreed swaps to form secure borders that can be defended. There was never a suggestion at all that Israel should return to the pre-1967 borders. Unfortunately, the lie is as much as the TV news reported, and the truth in the article is well hidden because over 90% won’t follow up the TV news story, and of those who do, most won’t read past the headline and the first two paragraphs.

President Obama’s actual statement is quoted in paragraph 5:

“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states,” Obama continued.

Farther into the story on the website, the article reports President Obama’s strong support for Israel:

At the same time, Obama reiterated unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security, and he endorsed major negotiating positions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, including an incremental handover of security responsibilities by Israel when conditions on the ground allow it.

Obama declared the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security “unshakable,” and said “every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself — by itself — against any threat.”

“Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security,” Obama continued, touching on the major concerns of Israel in facing a new Palestinian neighbor. “The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.”

So the long and the short of it is that if you want to know what really happened, you will have to search for it. The TV news is not going to tell you.

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