Of Garments and Ideology: The NY Times Reporting of Conflict in the Middle East


by Caren Besner

There is an old adage that states that a good name is more valuable than a velvet garment. The New York Times has long been regarded as the “paper of record” for generations of Americans. Emblazoned on the front page of every edition of the paper is its famous logo, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Countless millions of people from Florida to California and from Brisbane to Barcelona, rely on the Times for a fair and balanced assessment of both national and international events. As such, the paper has a moral responsibility to report on such events in an unbiased impartial manner; free from the constraints imposed by viewing events through the rose-colored glasses of an ideological prism.

The Times has long since been regarded as a liberal left-wing paper, but its reporting on recent events, such as the war in Gaza, has crossed the line when it comes to impartiality. It seems like their writers and editors will not pass up any opportunity to excoriate Israel on its conduct in the Gaza campaign. In this regard, it has placed Israel on a lesser moral plane than Hamas; an acknowledged terrorist organization totally committed to the eradication of the Jewish state.

Hamas has continually broken cease-fire after cease-fire, while parading dead and wounded women and children before the camera; swearing vengeance for the civilian casualties they themselves caused by deliberately placing their own people in harms way. All the while, the rockets continue to fly out of Gaza toward Israel launched from and around population centers, schools, mosques, and hospitals.

Even the United Nations, an organization that can hardly be called pro-Israel has complained about Hamas using their facilities as launching pads for their missiles.

Defenders of Hamas will say that it is the Israeli blockade of Gaza that has caused the Palestinians to descend to a state of hopelessness and despair, but just where did these countless thousands of missiles come from? Just how did they get into Gaza? It must also be remembered that Israel walked out of Gaza on it’s own; without ANY reciprocity or acknowledgement from the Palestinians living there.

Israel’s thanks was the election of Hamas as Gaza’s representative body. The monies that flowed into Gaza and the thousands of tons of concrete that was supposed to be used to build up the infrastructure of Gaza was instead used to promote terrorist operations against Israel. Why is the NY Times largely silent when it comes to reporting the aforementioned facts?

Headlines should be accurate and not mislead readers, some of whom never go beyond the headline. An example of this would be August 19th’s news article titled, “Rockets Said to Be Fired from Gaza Strip Puncture Latest Cease-Fire,” that cast doubt as to whether the rockets said to be fired at Israel really came from Gaza.

Would the Times dare come up with a headline saying that the explosions in Gaza that killed all these Palestinian women and children allegedly came from Israel or do they believe without a shadow of a doubt that Israel IS responsible for all these deaths? The title was subsequently changed, but NOT to something accurate such as, “Gaza Rockets Break Cease-fire,” but instead to: “Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire.” This misleading headline implies that Israel is just as culpable as Hamas for the failure of the cease-fire agreement. Is the Times really so naive to believe this or is there an another agenda here?

This “lack of moral clarity” on the part of the Times regarding Israel, also holds true regarding its recent reporting on events transpiring in Iraq. While other media outlets such as CNN have widely reported on the atrocities being committed against Christians and Yazidi’s, the Times seems content to concentrate the thrust of its reporting on the humanitarian aspect of the crisis.

In both Israel and Iraq, the Times stance reflects the position of the current U.S. administration; a regime it closely identifies with and avidly supports.

The NY Times has become the “unofficial mouthpiece” of the Obama administration; an American version of Pravda, echoing the sentiments of what ever policy the current administration wishes to pursue. Perhaps one day al-Qaeda, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, Ansar al-Sharia or any one of the numerous Islamic terrorist groups dedicated to our total destruction may acquire longer ranged missiles capable of crossing the Atlantic.

It would be interesting to see what the reaction of the NY Times would be if rockets start to rain down on or around the area of 620 Eight Avenue, in the heart of NYC. Don’t expect a brief warning phone call, text, or leaflets notifying victims to evacuate the premises, like Israel does. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to start working on the new velvet garment.

Caren Besner has published articles in Sun-Sentinel, American Thinker, IsraPost, JPost, and Jewish Journal