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June 12, 2011

NY Times Public Editor Weighs In on Coverage


New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane's column yesterday on the paper's coverage of Arab-Israeli conflict, and criticism of the paper's coverage, can be summed up: both sides complain, and our coverage is by and large fair. Brisbane asserts: "The complaints I get vary widely. Some are on substantive issues, but often they turn on the use of a phrase or a word, or placement in the paper."

In a sampling of complaints he has received, Brisbane ignores the substantive issues that Times editors have failed to correct. Take, for instance, Ethan Bronner's report that Israelis viewed Netanyahu's trip to the United States as a failure, whereas polling data showed the opposite. Or Mahmoud Abbas' falsehoods about his personal history and events in 1948. Or consider David Kirkpatrick's attribution of Egypt's blockade of Gaza to Israel.

Furthermore, Brisbane is mute about the Times' sustained downplaying of Palestinian genocidal incitement against Israelis and Jews. Perhaps because there is no comparable counter-example of an ongoing failure to report on an Israeli wrongdoing. It's easier to chalk up the criticism of the paper's coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the "third rail" phenomenon -- "touch it and burn" -- than it is to expose, and correct, the paper's systemic shortcomings.

(Hat tip: Stephen S.)

Posted by TS at June 12, 2011 04:16 AM


i commented on Brisbane's article last night - no posting thus far 10:22 AM in Hood River Oregon:
Mr. Brisbane: words do matter. At a symposium that took place at the 92nd Street Y Manhattan (C-Span may still have it in their video library), Arthur Gelb former managing editor of the Times said that during the years leading up to the Holocaust, Arthur Sulzberger decreed that reports of atrocities against Jews were to be downplayed or omitted.

i sent a letter to the Times:

"All the news that's fit to print?" the Times did not cover the Salute to Israel Parade up Fifth Avenue. a google search reveals they had written about previous parades. i know it's a relatively small thing, but in my humble opinion, another sign of the Times' hostility towards Jews.

Posted by: herb glatter at June 12, 2011 01:28 PM

I have written in to the NYTimes about their outright lies and have never gotten any response.
My objections were not about controversial opinions. They were about simple matters of fact. For instance, I complained when they mentioned a Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem. As you well know, there are no refugee camps anywhere in Isreal proper,much less in Jerusalem.

The problem is that the readership who would complain about the Grey Lady's bias are gone. They're reading The Wall Street Journal. I stay on because I'm addicted to the Times' arts section and the crossword puzzle. Though I vow every other day to quit. Occasionally, they will print a pro-Israel letter, but it is always complemented with an anti-Israel letter. The results are a wash. Face it. The attempt to correct them is useless.

Nowadays everyone reads publications that fit with their own prejudices. The ideal of objective reporting is gone.

Posted by: Mitzi Alvin at June 17, 2011 10:55 PM

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