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August 08, 2013

The New York Times Tries to Smooth Over Tom Friedman's Incredible Blunders


On August 7, Times columnist Thomas Friedman argued that Israel needed to get on board with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's initiative to restart the peace process to head off increasing isolation of the Jewish state. To bolster his point he cited the alleged cancellation of a performance in Israel by Eric Burdon, former lead singer of the British rock group, the Animals. Friedman quotes the British newspaper the Independent as writing,

but now Eric Burdon is not even turning up at all having deciding to withdraw from a planned concert in Israel.

Unfortunately for Friedman, a week before his piece appeared, Burdon's performance in Israel took place without a hitch. Worse still, he didn't get the alleged quote from the Independent right.

Friedman also got another fact wrong in his column. In order to further cast aspersions on Jewish settlers in the West Bank, he wrote,

One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel's Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he tried to cede part of the West Bank for peace.

In fact, Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, lived inside the Green Line in the the Israeli city of Herzliya. In November 2005, The New York Times itself had corrected the very same mistake. Here is the correction posted on Nov.9, 2005:

A report in the World Briefing column on Saturday about commemorations of the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel misstated the assassin's background. He was a militant Orthodox opponent of the government, not a settler.

As CAMERA has documented in the past, fact-checking for his column is not Thomas L. Friedman's strong suit. But to make matters worse, The New York Times seems unperturbed by such blatant errors. It could not even fess up and issue a proper correction. Here is the correction it posted on Aug. 8, 2013:

Thomas L. Friedman's column on Wednesday about peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians misattributed a sentence about a singer, Eric Burdon, to The Independent of Britain. The sentence -- ''Burdon was just the latest of a rising number of artists and intellectuals who have started boycotting Israel over the occupation issue'' -- was by Mr. Friedman. (After withdrawing from a planned concert in Israel, Mr. Burdon decided to go ahead with it, despite pressure not to.)

Notice that the correction soft-pedals the fact that Burdon never actually supported the boycott of Israel and performed as planned. The Times didn't even bother to correct its sweeping defamation of Jewish settlers as responsible for Rabin's murder.

The Times should be embarrassed and a forthright correction should have been posted. But that did not happen. Instead it is up to others who monitor the Times errors, like CAMERA and Adam Kredo at the the Washington Free Beacon who wrote an amusing and scathing rejoinder to Friedman's sloppy column. Kredo concludes,

It could not be learned if Friedman obtained this incorrect information from a taxi driver.

Posted by SS at August 8, 2013 11:45 AM


More proof of the rampant incompetence and/or bias ingrained in almost anyone who writes about Israel for the New York Times.

Are these Rudoren, Friedman, Erlanger, Mackey and Harris (NPR) types truly uneducated regarding the history of this region? Or do they try making news themselves by distoring thr truth, consistenly blaming Israel and never reporting on the full story.

Hating Israel is 'in'. These people mentioned above seem to know it, because they encourage Iit on their supposedly moderated comment forums.They're the same ones that would tell you bullying is wrong, or perpetuate the myth of "islamaphobia". But they have no problem being Judeophobic themselves.

Posted by: Craig at August 12, 2013 08:34 AM

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