Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New York Times biases

I have always very steadfastly defended the New York Times against charges that it is biased against Israel, but the current New York Times bureau chief in Israel, Steven Erlanger, has just confirmed his own partial point of view in a panel recently organized in Israel about the international media's coverage of this summer's war: Journalists blame Israel for war coverage. I'm really quite astonished at the things that Erlanger admitted in public:
The New York Time's Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Steven Erlanger, expressed surprise that Israel's view of the war was different to that of its critics, and said that Israelis didn't "quite grasp how the war was perceived outside of Israel." He lamented the lack of "proportionality" in the war, adding: "This is a charge that came against Israel from the United Nations… the French, the Italians." The New York Times bureau chief also said that Israelis "were not interested in whether 1,000 Lebanese civilians needed to die," adding that the question of "whether Israel fought a proportional war is not much of interest here (in Israel)."
It sounds to me like Erlanger is complaining that Israelis don't have the same view of the war that he does - rather than trying to report both what happened and what Israelis thought about it. Is it his job to express his own editorial opinion? I don't think so!

Another thing that Erlanger said also astonished me, and in my opinion really confirms his own biases:
"While other panelists said Hizbullah placed dictatorial control over colleagues reporting from Lebanon, Ernlanger maintained that the only threat faced by his own colleague in Lebanon was posed by "Israeli missiles."
Isn't Erlanger aware of the Hizbollah-led guided tours of south Beirut, reported on by Anderson Cooper of CNN as well as others? Why is he deliberately ignoring evidence that other mainstream journalists have uncovered? It's not as if this point has only been made by the right-wing blogs like LGF. If the New York Times wishes to be seen as an impartial news source, the editors should really be questioning Erlanger quite harshly right now!

UPDATE, Tuesday, 10:53 PM: LGF also posted on this article - and I totally agree with Charles Johnson in this case. Whatever else one might say about LGF, he has done yeoman work exposing faked photographs and biased journalism during the war this summer.

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