Note: The following is a copy of a letter to the editor sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and to Michael Collier, the paper's National-Foreign Editor. Since a week has passed with no response, I am now sharing this letter with the Daily Planet.
The Chronicle's World section for Sunday, May 12, contained a curious inconsistency. The first three pages featured six stories, five of which were introduced with "sky heads" identifying the location of the story—Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece and Russia. The only exception to this rule was the story about the imminent destruction of farming villages in the West Bank. Instead of a sky head reading "Palestine," "West Bank," or "Occupied Territories," readers were offered a region—"Middle East."
Also curious: While the headline on the original AP story read "In West Bank, barrier threatens Roman terraces," the Chronicle reconfigured the headline to read "Ancient ways threatened in farming village."
By comparison, the Washington Post's headline read "West Bank village fears Israeli barrier will destroy ancient farming landscape" while the New York Daily News went with "Israel's separation barrier threatens ancient Palestinian farming practices."
Only on its Website did the Chron use the headline favored by a majority of the media: "Palestinian village's ancient farming in danger."
Why the seeming reluctance to use the words "Palestine" or "West Bank" in the Chronicle's print edition?
The Associated Press
Washington Post -
New York Daily News
Last headline was the one most often used