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Monday, November 26, 2012

Another NY Times Blood Libel

Dead center at the top of the Home Page in the online edition of Today's NY Times is the following story:

NYT Fail

Let's stop for a moment and ask ourselves what the voracious news perusing, page clicking, online information junkie can take from a glance at the New York Times today:

1. Based on its prominent position/placement on their site, this is the most pressing story of the moment.

2.  Somebody is using war as a convenient cover for the deliberate targeting of journalists.

3.  The photo is of journalists in Israel.

4.  Conclusion:  Israel is targeting journalists.

No matter how much or little of the article has been read - even if it is just the picture and the caption - the Times has ensured that the voracious news perusing, page clicking, online information junkies can now click onward with this new 'fact' stored in their mental database... 'Israel targets journalists'.

It doesn't matter that more than 40,000 people have been slaughtered in the bloody Syrian crackdown right next door (including 435 foreign civilians!!!).  You won't see that on the front page of the Times or hear about Hillary Clinton and other world leaders flying to Damascus to demand an immediate cessation of violence.

No, only Israel gets that treatment.

If one clicks over to the main article from the picture above, the central kernel around which the piece is constructed is following quote about an unfortunate incident during the recent Gaza operation:

... three employees of news organizations were killed in Gaza by Israeli missiles. Rather than suggesting it was a mistake, or denying responsibility, an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, told The Associated Press, “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.”

So it has come to this: killing members of the news media can be justified by a phrase as amorphous as “relevance to terror activity.”

I can think of scores of incidents over the past 50 years were journalists have been killed and wounded in war zones.  But I don't ever recall anyone making the claim that the dead or wounded media personnel were deliberately targeted.  Until now, that is.  Because Israel is the country in the dock.

In recent conflicts, Israel has either attempted to exclude journalists from the war zones altogether (knowing full well that their presence will be exploited by the enemy and make the IDF's job more dangerous / risky), or has resigned itself to having to issue continuous warnings to journalists as to what places are about to be attacked; reports that are instantly transmitted to the enemy.

In last week's operation, journalists were allowed to go into Gaza and were given few restrictions on their movement other than strict warnings to avoid close contact with Hamas operatives since they were obviously being targeted:

Israeli officials have said Hamas was using journalists and their operations as “human shields,” and a press officer for the Israeli Defense Force warned in a Twitter postthat reporters should be wary of the company they keep: “Advice to reporters in #Gaza, just like any person in Gaza: For your own safety, stay away from #Hamas positions and operatives.”

Conducting a military operation of this scale in an area as small and densely populated as Gaza without causing harm to civilians is already a nearly impossible task (although Israel has gone to greater lengths to protect civilians than any other country in any other modern conflict).  But the presence of a large number of journalists flitting around the battlefield, who are not reporting their presence to the officers directing the operation, complicates the task exponentially.

But for the New York Times, none of that is relevant.  All that is important to them is that journalists were injured and killed, so Israel deliberately targeted them.

The active malevolence against Israel on the part of the New York Times is so unabashed and palpable that to deny it is laughable, and to try to defend against it is like responding to questions like, "Are you still beating your wife?". 

The problem with such blood libels as are contained in today's NY Times piece, is that once they are whispered into receptive ears, they take on a life of their own and become accepted 'truths... part of 'the rocord'... 'facts'. 

Posted by David Bogner on November 26, 2012 | Permalink

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Did you have a chance to catch this one on Friday morning? The secondary headline was below the news about the truce on the left side of the screen.

"Police Arrest Suspects in Tel Aviv Bus Blast, Including Israeli Citizen"

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/world/middleeast/police-arrest-suspects-in-tel-aviv-bus-blast-including-israeli-citizen.html

you had to click on the article to read that it was an Arab with Israeli citizenship who placed the bomb, and to find out that the Arab became an Israeli citizen through the family unification program. I am sure that a headline that just read "Police arrest suspects in Tel Aviv blast" would have suffice but in typical NYT fashion the extra info was added.

Posted by: David S | Nov 26, 2012 6:01:10 PM

This is pretty stupid. The "journalists" killed had their credentials issued by a terrorist organization (Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by anyone sane in the world).

Does anyone think that the US should refrain from targeting people with journalism credentials issued by Al Qaeda?

If the world declares that anyone with journalism credentials issued by anyone may not be a target, then all any terror organization needs to do is to issue journalist credentials to all their operatives and they suddenly become untouchable. The whole thing is just plain stupid and the New York Times should realize this. Furthermore, the New York Times does journalists a great disservice by not distinguishing between real journalists with credentials issued by a real and recognized organization versus sham journalists with credentials issued by anyone else.

Should bloggers (also part of the media today) have the same protection? What if "Treppenwitz" issues credentials to a guest blogger in Gaza? There has to be a line drawn somewhere as to who may credential valid journalists and who may not.

Posted by: Mark | Nov 26, 2012 10:12:58 PM

There seems to be an astonishing number of people at the NYTimes who still don't know whether it's the blue pill or the red pill.

Posted by: a. | Nov 27, 2012 1:09:27 AM

I must say that the New York Times is quite superior to any other newspaper in one important aspect: No other paper can be used quite as efficiently as the Times to wrap fish in. It's true. It's that long paper format - and it's pretty heavy paper, too. Keeps the fish nice and fresh.

About all it's good for, too. Now that Bill Safire is gone.

Posted by: psachya | Nov 27, 2012 5:03:23 AM

The warning speaks for itself and in the future should be applied to everyone in Gaza. If you are in close contact with people or areas involved in any way with missile attacks on Israeli civilians,you do so at your own risk.

Posted by: ED | Nov 27, 2012 6:46:42 AM

you know, Trep; one thing I have learned in my 50-odd years on this planet, is, you can't ever have enough blood libel.

Especially from the most famous newspaper in arguably the city with the highest concentration of Jews in the world, the vast majority of which *agree with the views of the paper doing the blood-libeling.*

50-odd years, indeed.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Nov 27, 2012 6:47:08 AM

For greater detail, see http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/117567/times-columnist-says-gaza-terrorists-are-journalists

Posted by: Shalom | Nov 27, 2012 9:20:46 AM

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