Long-time observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be surprised to learn that the Palestinian Authority uses intimidation, manipulation and distortion to influence the way Palestinians are covered by the mainstream international media.
Nevertheless, it is instructive to read a recent article by Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh in order to get a feel for exactly why reports from the region are so skewed and biased.
In the article, which deals with grossly erroneous coverage of purported Palestinian Authority improvements in governance, Abu Toameh relates that a foreign reporter was recently told she would be "putting her life at risk" if she conducted an investigative report into a case of possible corruption.
Read the full article here
What Abu Toameh describes is hardly an isolated instance of corruption, by both the Palestinian Authority and the foreign journalists.
His particular report does, however, once again call into question the viability of an independence Palestinian state. Abu Toameh writes that the PA was trying to put on a show for the media because of its tarnished image as a governing force. But the reality is that the PA is as incapable of running a free, safe and productive society today as it was 10 years ago.
On a broader scale, Abu Toameh's report provides further evidence that mainstream media reports out of the region simply cannot be trusted, or at best must be taken "with a grain of salt." If the media is willing to report lies regarding the Palestinian Authority, certainly they are willing to report lies or distortions about Israel if doing so will sell more newspapers.
And the notion that the journalists were simply fooled by the Palestinians doesn't wash. If that truly were the case, then all those reporters are so incompetent and incapable of properly perceiving reality that they have no business acting as the eyes and ears of Western society at large.