Edward Q –
I’m not really sure that Israel is so singled out for disparate treatment as your comment seems to suggest.
The issue with reporting on Israel in many ways isn’t too different from American reporters in Washington DC. One doesn’t want a naive rube who rocks into town, has no sources, doesn’t no how anything is done and has nothing to say other than that the Cherry Blossoms look nice in the spring time. On the other hand, many people in DC are involved in partisan politics–in Congress, in think tanks, etc. If you spend enough time in DC, even if you start out not embedded in any one camp, you may soon find that your circle of friends, the people you date and the person you marry might all be looking at things from a particular point of view. How do DC reporters handle it? Well, many are simply open about their perspectives. Lots of talking heads on TV (not quite journalists, but part of MSM generally) are explicitly connected to one party or another. Other journalists do what they can to provide less partisan coverage. And news networks, news web sites, newspapers, etc. are often either explicitly or implicitly known to take particular perspectives.
The problem with reporting from Israel is that in a highly contentious situation, reporters from otherwise progressive outlets are taking a Zionist view without really being explicit about doing so. And further, the very Zionist approach (obvious from both the writing and implied by fellow travelers) is presented as if it is a neutral report.
It’s as if the Daily News or the Wall Street Journal Op Ed were trying to present themselves as distant, neutral and bland, rather than having a particular take on the issues that appear in their pages.
In sum . . . if Isabel Kershener wrote for the WSJ Op Ed page as an open Zionist and someone else wrote for the New York Times from a human rights oriented perspective, that would be fine. Or if Isabel Kershener wrote for the NYT as a Zionist and someone else wrote for the NYT as a Zionist. Or, and this goes back to the Mondoweiss article on the Goodman-Kershner relationship, if the NYT only wanted to hire Zionist reporters and was explicit in doing so, the New York Times wouldn’t feel so creepy and fraudulent, and, really, substandard compared to its coverage of other issues, both domestic and foreign, in its coverage of Israel.