Once again the Monitor is forced to change course and shelve some already delayed comments on media coverage of Israel’s recent anti-terror military operation. We’ll get back to Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel next week, but right now there can be no topic for discussion other than The New York Times and the travesty it has become.
Travesty? Think that’s too strong a word? Then consider this devastating appraisal of the one-time paper of record by the distinguished author (and long-ago Times film critic) Renata Adler:
“For years readers have looked in the Times for what was once its unsurpassed strength:the uninflected coverage of the news. You can look and look, now, and you will not find it there. Some politically correct series and group therapy reflections on race relations perhaps….But no-thing a reader can trust anymore….Certainly no reliable, uninflected coverage of anything, least of all the news.
“The enterprise, whatever else it is, has almost ceased altogether to be a newspaper. It is still a habit. People glance at it and, on Sundays, complain about its weight. For news they must look elsewhere.”
“Has almost ceased altogether to be a newspaper.” The Monitor couldn’t have said it better. In what can only be described as a deliberate poke in the eye of the Jewish community, the Times on Monday ran an Associated Press photo on the upper half of its front page that was at once terribly misleading and frightfully telling – misleading in terms of the dishonest message the picture conveyed; telling because of all the photos that Times editors could have selected, this was the one they chose to go with.
The subject of the photo, at least according to the caption, was the previous day’s Salute to Israel parade in Manhattan. The picture itself, though, told quite a different story, since it was shot from behind the back of a pro-Palestinian demonstrator who was holding up a sign which demanded an end to Israeli “occupation.”
The photo, reproduced below, accomplishes a number of things – all of which, far from coincidentally, happen to fit the Times’s agenda perfectly.
First, notice how, because of the photographer’s vantage point, a couple of pro-Palestinian protesters become the focus of the picture, taking up the entire foreground and well more than half the entire photo. (And why is the pro-tester’s sign facing the camera rather than the marchers? Could it be the photographer requested that she reposition it for his picture?)
In other words, the impression one gets when scanning the page is that a tremendous anti-Israel rally must have taken place.(Of course, the reality was something else entirely: Hundreds of thousands of pro-Israel marchers and spectators in contrast to a tiny crowd – a couple hundred at most – of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.)
And what of the parade itself, which, at least according to the photo’s caption, was the event we were supposed to be looking at? “As an afterthought,” reader Saul Grossman put it in an e-mail to the Monitor, “the camera shows, in the background, ho hum, what else, the marchers in the parade holding Israeli and American flags.”
The coverage inside the paper was also skewed in typical Times fashion, with at least as much space devoted to the protesters as to the parade. Accompanying the text were two photos – the smaller one portraying a lone pro-Israel marcher flanked by some American and Israeli flags, the other, larger, picture showing several angry pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
Just one more example of the world according to The New York Times.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org