The Wall Street Journal Goes Liberal on the Middle East

December 30th, 2005 2:23 PM

A UCLA political scientist conducted a recent study on media bias and came to the conclusion that many of us reached a long time ago. The media tilts left. But the study did produce some unexpected results.

It turns out that PBS’ NewsHour With Jim Lehrer is the most "centrist outlet," while the Drudge Report "leans left." Most readers find the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to be conservative (with the exception of their stance on illegal immigration, which mirrors that of the far left), but the UCLA study found that the news pages are "even more liberal than The New York Times."

If the Wall Street Journal’s Middle East news coverage is any indication, UCLA knows what it’s talking about. A front page article in the news section of the December 28th issue demonstrates all the usual biases and blind spots of the liberal media when it comes to the Middle East.

Written by Karby Leggett and titled, "Latest Answer To Mideast Crisis: Fix the Economy,"(subscribers only) the article follows the trials and tribulations of former World Bank Chief James Wolfensohn. It seems that Wolfensohn has been tasked with the unenviable job of trying to help the "beleaguered Palestinian economy." Or in other words, trying to get the Palestinians to be productive instead of destructive for a change.

Wolfensohn was appointed special envoy to the Quartet (United States, Russia, European Union, and United Nations) and has been scrambling to get the Gaza Strip – recently vacated by Israelis via the Disengagement Plan – in order ever since. For according to the entire thrust of the article, if it weren’t for the incalcitrance of those pesky security-minded Israelis, the Palestinians would have created a mini-Manhattan by now.

All throughout Leggett’s article are references to the many barriers to Palestinian mobility and hence an improved economy, but nowhere does he reach the obvious conclusion. If not for Palestinian terrorism, these security measures wouldn’t exist. The "20-foot high digital scanning system to check shipments for weapons and explosives" that Wolfensohn urged the Israelis to install at the Karni border checkpoint between Gaza and Israel might not be necessary if Palestinian "farmers" didn’t insist on trying to sneak bombs in with their vegetables. Leggett simply concedes that, "In many ways, Israel's desire for tight security is in conflict with Gaza's economic requirements." Gee, I wonder why?

Leggett touts another one of Wolfensohn’s brilliant plans – raising money from private donors such as Mortimer B. Zuckerman in order to purchase the vacated Gaza greenhouses for the Palestinians. Of course, we all know how that turned out. The few greenhouses that weren’t destroyed in the orgy of destruction following the disengagement were apparently too complex for the Palestinians to operate properly and now they’re trying to hire back the Jewish farmers they replaced. It would seem that the above information would be pertinent to the article, but alas, Leggett omits any mention whatsoever.

But apparently some of Wolfensohn’s hard work has paid off. As Leggett cheerily tell us, "Palestinians can now travel to Egypt without passing Israeli checkpoints for the first time in nearly four decades." So now Palestinians can smuggle in weapons directly from Egypt rather than having to use those annoying tunnels underneath their homes. This may explain why Gaza is being flooded with weapons as we speak, not to mention the al-Qaeda terrorists that have shown up for the party.

Even European Union "observers" got a glimpse of the growing anarchy when fighting broke out between Fatah gunmen and Palestinian Authority policemen at the Rafiah border crossing today. Needless to say, they went running straight for the nearest Israeli military base.

Instead of promoting the naïve "Wolfensohn Agenda," the Wall Street Journal might want to address the stumbling block of Palestinian terrorism. After all, which came first, the chicken or the egg?