Short Stories are Not News

August 11th, 2005 5:17 AM

I found an interesting article by Laura King of the LA Times a few days ago. Apparently, being a reporter wasn't her first job choice. She'd rather be writing short stories, preferably about Israel's illegal occupation of the Gaza strip.


"Moments later, a young woman, her long skirt grazing the ground, approached the same soldier, speaking in gentle tones. 'You are my brother,' she told him. "How can you even think of tearing us away from our homes? Don't help do this…. Refuse orders. Refuse."

"The soldier, sweat sliding down his face in the noonday heat, stood his ground at the dust-choked, flyblown main checkpoint leading into the Jewish settlements of the Gaza Strip."

King states that "fewer than 100 soldiers have been brought up on disciplinary charges for refusing orders in connection with the Gaza withdrawal" and that they make up "a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands" of Israeli soldiers occupying Gaza. Why, then, are they significant enough to write a story about? Why do we need a short story to help us sympathize with the Palestinians?

This is an article about a fairly insignificant topic; and yet, its reporter found a way to bias it. She would probably say she was helping us to experience it with greater realism. But to a reporter out of California, "realism" means liberalism. I'm sick of having to dig through short stories for my news. I'm also sick of reporters trying to portray trouble where none exists, but where they wish it would.

Oh, and stop calling your articles "To Obey Orders or Obey God." You could possibly frame it as an orders versus faith scenario, but again, your faith is not the equivalent of God. Israel and its military actions are not the antithesis of God. Sticking that insinuation into all of your articles is not good journalism. There's more to this picture than whether to obey God or to follow the orders that come as a part of being in the Israeli military.