Jan 22, 2013

NY Times Watch: Unfit to Print

Readers of this blog know I spend a good deal of time focused on NY Times coverage. Today we inaugurate a new, sure to be regular feature; NY Times Watch.

Our objective will be to highlight, in news coverage of Israel and Palestine, explicit or not so explicit biases or inaccuracies that are regular feature of NY Times coverage. We will need your help with this too so please send in items you catch an we will highlight it here. As I've mentioned previously, I don't mean to pick on the NYT but they are a paper that sets the discourse and, well, they know that. So I doubt they mind, it comes with the territory.

We'll start with this piece today by Isabell Kershner on the Israeli Elections. Here's a paragraph on Jerusalem, for example:
Noting the lack of enthusiasm Zelig Segal, 79, an artist and another Meretz supporter from the neighborhood, which straddles the predominantly Jewish western side of the city and the contested, Israeli-annexed eastern side where the Palestinian leadership wants to establish the capital of an independent state, said it was still important to vote.
 In reality, the entirety of Jerusalem (and all the territory from the river to the sea) is contested, on both sides of the "green line". (More on the geography here and here) Yet, you never hear the NY Times referring to Yaffa or Haifa as "contested". The municipality on the eastern side of the "green line" is internationally recognized as occupied territory. The only party that refutes this is Israel.

Here is a different description from, uh, the New York Times reporting on the issue in 1976:
The security council today unanimously deplored the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories, and declared "invalid" the absorption of eastern Jerusalem into Israel. A consensus statement, in which the United States joined, was read to the council...
Why would the NY Times chose to adopt an Israeli narrative instead of the narrative adopted by, well, pretty much every other official party in the world and reported previously by the NY Times? Why does the NY Times omit the word "occupied" to describe occupied territory? It is obviously intentionally omitted, just as it was scrubbed recently from a NY Times headline.

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