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February 3, 2014 6:26 pm

An Open Letter to Reuters on SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

Not that I expect anything to be done, but when they know people are watching them, they tend to be a little more careful.

Dear Editor,

In the story “Israeli settlement factory sparks Super Bowl-sized controversy,” writer Noah Browning interviews a worker at the SodaStream plant in Mishor Adumim:

One mid-level Palestinian employee who spoke to Reuters outside the plant, away from the bosses, painted a far less perfect picture, however.

“There’s a lot of racism here,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Most of the managers are Israeli, and West Bank employees feel they can’t ask for pay rises or more benefits because they can be fired and easily replaced.”

I’ve noted on my blog that Browning has shown serious anti-Israel bias in the past, and this story appears to add to that list.

The fact is that there have now been nine articles in the media interviewing workers at the plant, and only two of them exclusively found a worker that was disgruntled. Every single other outlet found that the workers were happy and against any boycott of SodaStream.

For documentation, see my articles herehere, and here.

Given Browning’s record and the anomalous nature of his reporting here – the only media outlet that agrees with him is virulently and openly anti-Israel – this story and his reporting reflects poorly on Reuters, and indicates a serious problem with interview bias done by Browning in order to push an agenda rather than reflect the truth of the situation.

Please review Browning’s Middle East articles in general, especially the ones I noted, as well as this article in particular. How many people did he interview altogether? Did he only choose the one interview that jived with his biases? Did he purposefully seek out the same employee that Electronic Intifada interviewed? It is astonishing that 7 separate, independent media outlets find that virtualy all employees agree with each other that they are happy, and only Browning and EI found the counter-examples.

Thanks,

Elder

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