Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Hume Hits a Higher Standard than Usual

Reported by Nancy - December 14, 2004 -

Last night (12/13), for the first time in weeks, Brit Hume had a segment on "Special Report" that I found both interesting & informative. The topic was recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- a subject usually handled by major US-based news orgs as a brisk list of bombings or "targeted assassinations", together with body counts, but no real analysis. Hume & his guest, Dennis Ross, provided some real food for thought.

At 6:17pm (ET), Jennifer Griffin reported from Jerusalem about recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [comment: Griffin is one of Fox's more effective & least annoying reporters from the field & deserves much wider exposure]. Griffin reported on the tunnel bomb set off by Hamas & a splinter faction of Fatah (clips from masked Palestinians & from Israeli General Ya'alon, as well as video from Hamas of the bombing itself), & a car bomb in Damascus thought to have been set off by Israeli intelligence. She further noted that an Israeli missile hit a Palestinian schoolyard, wounding 7 children. She also reported that Barghouti has dropped out as a candidate for President of the PA, leaving Mahmoud Abbas as the likely winner.

Immediately following Griffin's report, at 6:20pm (ET), Hume interviewed Dennis Ross (former US Special Envoy to the Middle East) about recent developments there. Ross has been a guest on "Special Report" before, & as usual he was articulate & well-informed. Hume asked straightforward questions, didn't interrupt & asked for clarification when he thought it was needed. Ross observed that the Palestinians now have a chance for real leadership, which he contrasted to Arafat's "symbolic" leadership. Hume asked about Barghouti's withdrawal of his candidacy, & Ross said it was due to pressure from the "young guard" within Fatah, who see that they have the opportunity to move from the politics of symbolism to the politics of substance. He cautioned that both Israelis & Palestinians need to work out the specific details of what each will do & won't do as the election process moves forward. Hume asked him what he meant by "young guard" & Ross said the "old guard" were people (like Abbas) who had been with Arafat since he founded Fatah in exile in 1962, while the "young guard" were Palestinians born & brought up in the occupied territories. Hume then asked what impact the Israeli security wall (or "barrier" or "perimeter" -- Hume used all 3 words, because each word carries a lot of political, emotional & cultural baggage) might have on the situation. Ross pointed out that the wall is 1/4 complete (of the total planned) & where it has been completed has been very successful in preventing attacks upon Israelis, so the wall "will be the future" if there are no real negotiations. Hume asked whether Arafat's death had removed an obstacle to a solution, & Ross agreed that Arafat's death "freed the sentiments" of the Palestinians. Ross brought up an interesting fact to support this. He said that while Arafat was alive, Palestinians said they preferred Hamas, but since Arafat's death they say they prefer Fatah. Ross interpreted this as meaning that under Arafat there was no hope, so Palestinians embraced the hopelessness of Hamas; but now that they see some hope, they are more interested in a political solution via Fatah.

The Ross interview was alloted 8 minutes. Together with Griffin's report, these 2 segments took up 11 minutes of the 1-hour program [comment: slightly longer than usual, but required for a subject this complex].

Comment: Other than the fact that neither Hume nor Ross mentioned any role for the US in facilitating any of the process (or mentioned US interests at all, for that matter), this whole segment was, in my opinion, what "Special Report" could & should be on a regular basis: telling you what you need to know, not what you want to hear.