Ethan Bronner may be on his way out, but the New York Times’ habitual deference to the Israeli government’s line isn't about to leave with him. The latest example: Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram’s coverage of the recent Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.
The most egregious aspect of the coverage is the downplaying of Palestinian civilian suffering during the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza. Here’s Kershner and Akram in today’s paper:
Islamic Jihad took the lead in retaliating, firing barrages of rockets at Israel, while Israel carried out more than 30 airstrikes against rocket launching sites and other facilities, killing about 25 Palestinians, most of them militants.
It’s true that most of the Palestinians killed in the past five days have been fighters associated with Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). But the NYT’s omission of the deaths of five Palestinian civilians is glaring.
According to Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group, “Israeli airstrikes have resulted in the death of 25 Palestinians, including five civilians, two of whom were children, as well as the wounding of some 80 people, mainly civilians.”
The NYT’s other coverage of the fighting in Gaza was no better. A March 11 article reports that the Israeli airstrike that assassinated the head of the PRC occurred because Israel “holds the group responsible for an attack from Egypt last August.” But as Max Blumenthal pointed out in Al Akhbar:
As is so often the case, the Israeli army is lying. According to the army's own investigation of the Eliat attack last year, the attackers were not from Gaza as Israeli government spokespeople initially claimed -- they were Egyptian. The army's investigative findings were first reported by Alex Fishman, the military correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharanoth, who had treated the earlier attempts to blame Gaza's Popular Resistance Committees for Eilat with extreme skepticism. Bloggers Idan Landau [Hebrew only], Richard Silverstein and Yossi Gurvitz also marshaled evidence shredding the army's case against Gaza.
The Washington Post was also criticized recently for its coverage of Gaza. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s Peter Hart skewers their reporting:
"The fighting has killed 18 Gazans, all but two of them militants, and disrupted the lives of about 1 million Israelis living within range of rocket fire."
Why would 18 people who were killed be compared to the disruption of daily life? If disruption is the standard, then one would have to determine how many Gazans have had their lives disrupted by power outages, drones, air strikes and so on.
A sentence like this would seem to be an attempt to "balance" a wildly imbalanced reality.
(H/T to Max Blumenthal.)