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October 28, 2014

Compare and Contrast: A Further Look at the NYT

Several days ago, CAMERA posted “The ABC’s of Media Spin” about how New York Times coverage of a deadly Palestinian terrorist attack was manipulated to blame Israel. Just two days later, the newspaper covered the shooting death of a Palestinian teenager in clashes with Israeli security forces – providing an even clearer demonstration of the newspaper’s double standards in reporting.

Compare and contrast:

The Headline

"Driver Plows Into Group at Jerusalem Train Station, Killing Baby, Police Say"

vs.

“Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Teenager in the West Bank, the 2nd in 8 Days”

The headline about the Palestinian attack that killed two Israeli residents conceals the nationalities of the perpetrator and victims and portrays the entire incident as a claim by police, while the headline about Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces spells out the nationalities of both the perpetrators and victims and presents it as fact.

The Article

What does the newspaper present as disputable claim? And what does the newspaper present as reliable claim? According to the Times, the reliability of any claim is correlated with the party that is being implicated. In other words, sources that incriminate Palestinians are routinely portrayed as unreliable, if not omitted entirely, while sources that implicate Israelis or that exonerate Palestinians are presented as reliable. Take for example the presentation of facts, reliable and unreliable claims in the article “Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Teenager in the West Bank, the 2nd in 8 Days”:

Assertion:

Israeli troops on Friday shot and killed a Palestinian teenager who also held American citizenship.

Israeli source implicating the Palestinian, presented as unreliable:

The Israeli military said its forces opened fire as the teenager threw a firebomb onto a main road in the West Bank that is often used by Israeli settlers, an account that could not be verified. [emphasis added]

Assertion:

It was the second fatal shooting of a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank in eight days. Soldiers shot Bahaa Sameer Mousa Bader, 13, in the chest during a confrontation on Oct. 16 near Israel’s separation barrier in Beit Liqya, another village near Ramallah.

Israeli source and information implicating Palestinian omitted entirely:

Israeli news sources have reported that an initial investigation by the IDF's Judea and Samaria Division revealed that local Palestinians began throwing firebombs at army jeeps that were leaving the area, and the boy was shot after he threw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers from close range, during clashes.

This information was concealed from readers. Yet, even thought the army investigation is absent in the article, the article makes sure to brand army investigations unreliable in general, just in case someone might have heard about it.

Israeli source presented as unreliable:

Palestinian and Israeli critics have expressed skepticism about internal army investigations saying they rarely yield results.[emphasis added]

Of course, when a reporter omits mention of an investigation that does yield results and instead cites critics who allege that army investigation don't yield results, a reader might legitimately suspect that the reporter is taking pains to conceal, dismiss and delegitimize any result from an army investigation that does not concur with his or her own pre-existing notion of guilt.

Palestinian source implicating Israelis presented as reliable:

Local residents said that Palestinians throwing stones clashed with Israeli soldiers in the village after Friday Prayer, but that Orwa was apparently killed hours later.

Nothing about this claim being “unverified” and nothing about anyone “expressing skepticism” about it.

Palestinian source implicating Israelis presented as reliable:

Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, said it had documented the killing of 34 Palestinians in the West Bank or East Jerusalem by Israeli forces or settlers since mid-June, six of them minors.

Nothing about this claim being “unverified” and nothing about anyone “expressing skepticism” about it.

Assertion:

On Wednesday a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem plowed his car into an Israeli light rail station in the city, killing a 3-month-old girl, Chaya Zissel Braun, who also held American citizenship.

Presented as disputable claim:

The Israeli authorities treated it as a terrorist attack, and a police officer shot and killed the driver as he tried to flee, the police said. Relatives of the driver said they believed he had simply lost control of the car

Does anyone discern a pattern here?

Posted by RH at October 28, 2014 12:41 PM

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