From the January 2009 Idaho Observer:
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict: Rules of journalistic engagement
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict:
Rules of journalistic engagement
The following rules, translated from Spanish as they appeared on the alternative news website www.sinperniso.info out of Madrid, Spain, while satirical, pretty well describe the international media’s rules for covering the perpetual Israeli persecution of Palestinians and, by extension, the conversational rules of engagement among people who pretend to have a qualified opinion. You can see how slight variations of these rules also apply to other subjects where vast numbers of people maintain unqualified opinions.
1)In the Middle East, the Arabs always attack first and Israel always defends itself. This defense is called "retaliation."
2) No Arabs, Palestinians or Lebanese have the right to kill civilians. This is "terrorism."
3) Israel has the right to kill civilians. This is called "legitimate defense."
4) When Israelis massively kill civilians, the Western Powers ask them to do it with courtesy or politeness. This is called "reaction of the international community."
5) No Palestinians or Lebanese have the right to capture Israeli soldiers inside military installations with sentry and combat positions. This has to be called "kidnapping of defenseless civilians."
6) Israel has the right to kidnap at any time or place as many Palestinians or Lebanese as they wish. Their present figures are about 10,000 (including 300 children) and 1,000 women. They do not need any evidence to take them into custody. Israel has the right to keep kidnapped prisoners indefinitely, even if they are individuals who have been democratically elected by the Palestinian people. This is called "imprisonment of terrorists."
7) Whenever the word "Hizbullah" is mentioned, it is compulsory to add in the same phrase "supported and financed by Syria and Iran."
8) When "Israel" is mentioned it is absolutely forbidden to add "supported and financed by the United States," This could give the impression that the conflict is uneven and that the existence of Israel is not at risk.
9) Regarding any information about Israel, the following phrases should never be used: "Occupied territories, UN resolutions, human rights violations" or "Geneva Convention."
10) Palestinians, as well as Lebanese, always are "cowards" hiding behind a civil population that dislikes them. If they sleep in their barracks with their families, this has a name: "cowardice." Israel is entitled to annihilate with bombs and missiles the barracks where they sleep. This is called "surgical, high precision action."
11) Israelis speak English, French, Spanish or Portuguese better than the Arabs. That is why they deserve to be interviewed more frequently and have more opportunities to explain to the big audience the present rules, from 1 to 10. This is called "media neutrality."
12) Any person in disagreement with the above rules must be labelled a "highly dangerous anti-Semitic terrorist."