We get letters. . . .
You noted that PBS was reluctant to broadcast Jo Franklin Trout's documentary, "Days of Rage," without a panel discussion to balance the presentation with an Israeli perspective. However, CBS apparently did not feel any compunction about its "West 57th" segment titled "The Palestinians: Dirty Business."
The message the media send with this behavior is that the Palestinian perspective cannot be presented alone. Whereas it is acceptable to bash Palestinians, Israel cannot be criticized without the opportunity to reply.
Perhaps executive producer Andrew Lack and reporter Karen Burnes could have balanced their report by acknowledging that American Zionist organizations contributed millions of dollars during the 1930s and 1940s to equip numerous Zionist militias--some would say terrorist organizations.
The specter of the double standard appears to permeate Burnes' report. Palestinians are to be condemned for doing precisely what the Jewish community did: raising money to help their people.
In all probability, some activities abroad--even here--have gone on to help finance Palestinian activities back home. But what I and others saw on "West 57th's" lead segment was all innuendo, without the reporter's ace-in-the-hole: proof. Hearsay gets thrown out of court cases. It's too bad journalism like "West 57th's" story doesn't adhere to the same standards.
Marina del Rey
Noticed your piece on "West 57th" about Palestinian Arabs. I agree with you that unverified stories and distortions should be reserved for items on Israel.
About that shoddy business on "West 57th." It makes one wonder about the rest of the products on the CBS pushcart. For news, the minimum standard is veracity and a desire to enlighten and inform, not to propagandize or foment hate. CBS abuses its franchise with these deceptions.
PATRICK F. FLYNN
You claimed that "Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land" was "meticulously balanced," but this is misleading, as you yourself allude to later on. Interviewing five Israeli victims of terrorism and five Palestinian victims certainly seems balanced, until one reflects that in the past 18 months, 15 Israelis have been killed, whereas 1,300 Palestinians have been killed. Israel admits to 500. So I ask you, is this film really balanced?