« Ha'aretz Photo Time Warp | Main | Ha'aretz, Lost in Translation, XI (Updated) »

March 22, 2012

NYT Skews Coverage of Toulouse Terrorism

funeral jerusalem.JPG

The New York Times is supposed to be the paper of record. Implicitly, it holds itself to a high standard of journalism. Its reporting on the massacre of Jews at a school in Toulouse, however, illustrates how the paper's ideological bent, particularly its advocacy for the Palestinians, subtly interferes with its coverage of events that just tangentially touch upon the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In its first report of the killings on March 20, The Times recalls the recent history of anti-Semitic massacres in France. It establishes

The shooting on Monday was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in France since 1982, when the Chez Jo Goldenberg restaurant in Paris was bombed at lunchtime, killing 6 people and wounding 22. In 1980, a terrorist group attacked a Jewish synagogue on the Rue Copernic in Paris, killing 4 people and wounding about 40.

The Times doesn't say who committed these attacks except to identify the earlier attack as the work of a terrorist group. Both, in fact, were carried out on behalf of Palestinian terrorist groups. Their motives, it turns out, were similar to the one proclaimed by the current murderer.

In fact, in recent years the perpetrators of highly publicized murders of Jews have been criminals and jihadists from the French Muslim community. Along with the terrorist acts mentioned above committed by Palestinian terrorists and their associates, there were the more recent tortures and killings of French Jews, Ilan Halimi and Sebastian Sellam. Based on recent history, speculation should have fallen at least as heavily on a Muslim extremist as it did on a nativist racist. But if the identities and proclaimed motives of other recent anti-Semitic murderers are concealed from readers, then naturally, suspicion will fall elsewhere. As it turned out the perpetrator was a jihadist fanatic.

The Times' focuses instead on the scenario of an indigenous racist. Such speculation is not unwarranted, since that is what French officials suggested and the recent shooting of three Arab and one black soldier lent credence to that speculation. However, by omitting information about recent murders of Jews by Arab terrorists and focusing almost exclusively on racist motives, the Times coverage inevitably diverts to the topic of racial tension in French politics between French nativist sentiment and Muslims.

On March 21, the coverage focused further on the suspected rightwing racist angle. The Times wrote, "But the political debate around the shootings, and whether the deaths of an instructor and three young children were somehow inspired by anti-immigrant political talk, is likely to continue -- both as a weapon in the presidential campaign and as a more general soul-searching about the nature of France."

It turns out the rightwing racist angle and the tensions between nativists and the Muslim community were irrelevant to these murders and only muddied our understanding of what happened.

If The Times had been more forthcoming about the actual nature of recent anti-Semitic violence in France, it could have followed hints that the murders might be connected to Muslim fanatics aroused by a culture of hatred against Jews centered around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first news report includes comments by a local Jewish leader in Toulouse that there has been "regular anti-Semitic violence and vandalism in recent years in this area of southwest France, where there are also many Muslim immigrants." He also recalls that the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada a decade ago also was accompanied by a spike in anti-Jewish violence. But there was no follow through by the paper.

Another article on March 21 discusses comments by Lady Ashton, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, who implicitly drew a parallel between the murders and the plight of Palestinian children in Gaza. After reporting on Ashton's clarification that she ''referred to tragedies taking the lives of children around the world and drew no parallel whatsoever between the circumstances of the Toulouse attack and the situation in Gaza'', The Times concludes with a report that Israeli strikes against Palestinian militants in Gaza killed two children. The inclusion and placement of this item at the end of a piece about the inappropriate linkage between the massacres of the Jewish children in France and Gazan children is curious, as if to suggest that Ashton's officially released comments were appropriate. It is also worth noting that the paper repeated the official published comments, not the actual recorded statement made by Lady Ashton, which included mention of Sderot.

Posted by SS at March 22, 2012 03:10 PM


The NY Times wanted it to be Neo Nazis who murdered the Jewish school children.
When it was an Arab Muslim, the NY times was upset at this news.
If the NY Times cared about Jewish children, they would finally report on the genocidal hatred by the Muslim media and Mufti's against Jews.
Palmediawatch has constantly documented this.

Posted by: Ed Frias at March 23, 2012 08:46 AM

Oh, the NYTimes is simply marching in lockstep with today's mindless endorsement of the disease called Political Correctness. I sub in NY City schools and on the 10th anniversary of 9-11 the students created posters to commemorate this major attack on their own city. Not ONE mentioned that Muslim terrorists committed this heinous act. Then I looked in the textbooks (which no one uses anyway, except to prop open windows or hurl at each other) and they, too, omitted this "Minor" detail.

Posted by: gina at March 23, 2012 09:18 AM

A book by CAMERA documenting The New York Times' deliberate and relentless disinformation about Israel over just the last three decades would serve to alert readers all across the country to the unimaginable breadth and depth of the Times' animus toward the Jewish state.

Posted by: Carl at March 29, 2012 12:01 PM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)