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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Giuliani Still Being Slighted by Media Elites

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The last time we gathered here the topic of discussion was the hypocrisy of the late Ed Koch on racial matters, particularly in his constant berating of Rudy Giuliani for treating the city’s race hustlers with the skepticism they deserved – an approach actually pioneered by Koch himself during his own mayoralty.

But Giuliani never did get much love from the city’s permanent political establishment and its prestige media, as evidenced most recently by New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who in the wake of Koch’s passing called Koch, Fiorella La Guardia and Michael Bloomberg the city’s “three greatest mayors.”

La Guardia certainly belongs in the top three, and a strong case can be made for Koch, but Bloomberg? The only reason Bloomberg was elected mayor in the first place was the endorsement he received from Giuliani shortly after 9/11, when Giuliani had seized the nation’s imagination with his courageous leadership and Bloomberg was essentially running in political drag, having donned Republican vestments after a lifetime of dressing in liberal Democratic garb.

That’s not to say Bloomberg has been a bad mayor, just that listing him at the top of the heap with La Guardia and Koch ignores the unprecedented challenges Giuliani faced on assuming office and the way he went about transforming the city.

Put it this way: imagine that Michael Bloomberg rather than Rudy Giuliani had succeeded David Dinkins in January 1994. Would political reporter Andrew Kirtzman have been able to describe Bloomberg’s tenure the way he wrote of Giuliani in Emperor of the City, his gripping account of the Giuliani years:

“This is the story of a defiant man whose strength, resolve, and vision helped bring a city back from a state of bedlam. It’s an account of how a person with no experience in municipal government outsmarted its political leaders, union chiefs, and media lords and ended up changing the face of New York…. It’s about a leader whose accomplishments rank among the most dramatic in urban history.”

Giuliani succeeded the inept David Dinkins at a time most observers had given up on New York as a governable city. Bloomberg, on the other hand, succeeded Giuliani at a time when, to quote Kirtzman, “crime had plunged so low that that the FBI was calling New York the safest large city in America. Unemployment was down, and 400,000 fewer people were on the welfare rolls.”

Getting back to The New York Times, though it endorsed Giuliani for reelection in 1997 (he faced an uninspiring Democratic challenger and even Manhattan liberals found it hard not to give him his due), over the years the mouthpiece of New York liberalism generally treated him with varying degrees of skepticism, condescension and moral outrage.

Even as he left office in January 2002 on a note of unprecedented triumph and popularity, the tone of the paper’s editorials and most of its news coverage was startlingly jaundiced (a notable exception was an analysis piece by reporter Sam Roberts who mused that Giuliani would go down in history as a greater mayor than even La Guardia).

An editorial that appeared the Sunday before Giuliani’s departure was particularly churlish, claiming that “Even his staunchest supporters know that much of his success was due in part to good timing. His greatest achievements – the drop in crime, the reduction in welfare cases, the economic boom – were mirrored in other cities that had milder-mannered chief executives.”

Nonsense, responded historian Fred Siegel. “No other city has made comparable gains…. In the closing years of the Dinkins administration, tourists stayed away in droves, while businesses and residents were racing for the exits in what seemed like an evacuation. Had Mr. Dinkins been reelected, the flight from fear would have become a flood.”

As to the assertion that crime had dropped everywhere and Giuliani merely happened to have been in the right place at the right time, it just wasn’t true.

“None of these critics,” Siegel pointed out, “supplies specifics – with good reason. Crime didn’t fall everywhere, as anyone from Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit or a host of other big cities could have explained.”

The City of ‘East Jerusalem’

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

There is a certain amount of ridiculousness in the refusal to recognize that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. There is still another amount of ridiculousness in a country’s refusal to move its embassy to Israel’s capital or in refusing to call what is in fact its embassy in Jerusalem as such, because of disagreement with where Israel has made its capital. And all the more so if all this is being done by an ally.

But perhaps even more ridiculous is the invention of the city or geographic unit of “East Jerusalem.” Among thousands of years of Jerusalem’s history the city was officially divided into West and East Jerusalem for a total of 18 years.  No one believes that “East Jerusalem” represents, historically, geographically, administratively or otherwise its own unique city or geographic unit apart from the rest of Jerusalem.

Yet anytime anything occurring east (or South or North) of the 1949 armistice line occurs in Jerusalem, it is labeled as happening in “East Jerusalem” as if it is some kind of separate geographical unit.

Take for example the New York Times‘ story today about the Israeli strike in Syria. The article featured a picture of gas mask distribution, which as the caption informs us, took place not in Jerusalem, or a certain neighborhood of Jerusalem, but in “East Jerusalem.”

nytimes - east jerusalem

The caption of the photo: “In East Jerusalem, Israelis distributed gas masks on Wednesday as worries about security spread.”

(Nevermind for the moment the fact that gas mask distribution has been going on for some time, and was not some response to dangers emanating from Syria, as the caption suggests.)

Thus, when Israel allows Jews to build or live in areas east of the Green Line that are within Jerusalem’s municipal borders it is very controversially building in “East Jerusalem.” As for example is described in this headline in Ha’aretz: “Israel to market disputed East Jerusalem housing project before election.” If it wasn’t in “East Jerusalem,” there wouldn’t even be a story here at all. Jews build in Jerusalem. What’s the problem.

True, there are some Arab neighborhoods in the city which have a quite distinct character from the Jewish/ more open and modern parts of the city (e.g., in Jewish neighborhoods you won’t find children asking you if you want to pay them for protection for your car after your park it and go about your business).  And if I were a tourist, I may want to know about that before I go to those areas. But that doesn’t include all these controversial areas where Israel has created wholly new neighborhoods.

And it is also claimed that Jerusalem’s municipal borders were inflated in order to include certain Arab villages which are now part of the city.  But anyone who walks from the Jewish areas to the Arab neighborhoods realizes that they are not separate villages, but parts of a large, bustling city. And again that claim would only relate to Arab neighborhoods, not completely new Jewish neighborhoods, like Har Homa, East Talpiyot,  Gilo or Rama Shlomo.

“East Jerusalem” thus exists merely to inform the reader or listener of one thing: that this area is or should be off limits to Jews. Jews should not be there and anything that Israel is doing there is wrong. Otherwise the fact that it is East Jerusalem would simply not be worth mentioning. It is not that exciting to say “gas masks were handed out in Jerusalem” or “gas masks were distributed in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo” (though it would have fulfilled the captions purpose in just describing something). There is nothing controversial about a Jew living in or Israel doing something in a certain neighborhood of Jerusalem. The reader has to be informed that the Jew should not be there. That is achieved with the term “East Jerusalem.”

I am sure that the intention of most editors and reporters is not to say outright,  ”Jews shouldn’t be here” (though many of them subscribe to that belief). In their mind they are just informing the reader as to what is controversial. But in so doing they are affirming that it is controversial, when the thing itself is not. They are thus also conferring legitimacy on a certain moral judgment about where Jews should be permitted to live, which is not moral, but in fact anti-Semitic.

New York Times’ Jerusalem Chief Admits Anti-Israel Bias

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

H/T Yisrael Medad

After New York Times‘ Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren incorrectly reported that building in E-1 would make a “contiguous” Palestinian state impossible, the Times issued this lengthy correction to her article this past Sunday:

An article on Dec. 2 about Israel’s decision to move forward with planning and zoning for settlements in an area east of Jerusalem known as E1 described imprecisely the effect of such development on access to the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and on the West Bank. Development of E1 would limit access to Ramallah and Bethlehem, leaving narrow corridors far from the Old City and downtown Jerusalem; it would not completely cut off those cities from Jerusalem. It would also create a large block of Israeli settlements in the center of the West Bank; it would not divide the West Bank in two. And because of an editing error, the article referred incompletely to the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state. Critics see E1 as a threat to the meaningful contiguity of such a state because it would leave some Palestinian areas connected by roads with few exits or by circuitous routes; the proposed development would not technically make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible. [Emphasis added].

Following the correction, former Bush adviser and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Elliot Abrams accused Rudoren of being completely bias when it comes to Israel, saying there was no other explanation for her failure to know or consult a map:

Here’s my theory: that just about everyone she knows –all her friends– believe these things, indeed know that they are true. Settlements are bad, the right-wing Israeli government is bad, new construction makes peace impossible and cuts the West Bank in half and destroys contiguity and means a Palestinian state is impossible. They just know it, it’s obvious, so why would you have to refer to a map, or talk to people who would tell you it’s all wrong? This was precisely what was feared when Ms. Rudoren was named the Times’s bureau chief: that she would move solely in a certain political and social milieu, the rough Israeli equivalent of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This embarrassing episode–one story, many errors and corrections–may lead her to be more careful. One has to hope so, and to hope that both she and her editors reflect again on the thinking and the pattern of associations that lead a correspondent to misunderstand the issues so badly.

Yesterday, Politico posted part of an e-mail sent by Rudoren defending herself. She argued that she is not bias (of course) and blamed “imprecise language” on the pressures of making a deadline late at night. But that was not all. She went further, arguing that in essence she was and is correct about E-1 cutting Judea and Samaria in two, saying that’s “precisely why this area was chosen at this time” by the Israeli government. While as a writer and an attorney I can sympathize with the burdens of watching every single word while adhering to multiple deadlines for various pieces of work, her non-apology apology gives her bias away.

For years, Israel’s “friendly” critics have argued that Israel could establish a Palestinian state through various technical agreements and security arrangements, such as using bypass roads, which would theoretically enable Israelis to travel safely through certain areas of Judea and Samaria without worrying about road attacks. Even after the correction, Roduren assumes that such an arrangement would be impossible and goes even further by acting as if the territory in between Ma’aleh Adumim and the Dead Sea which would connect the top and bottom portions of Judea and Samaria does not exist.

My hope as a Jew and an Israeli citizen is that the government did choose to build in E-1 both to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state as well as to send a message that one could not be created about our consent. As I have written elsewhere, the timing indicates that this may be the case. But it could also be about other things: building in an area which all Israeli governments have viewed as being part of Israel in any future agreement with the Palestinians; sending a message to the Palestinians and/or the international community that Israel will take unilateral action in response to action taken by the Palestinians to change the status of the territory without Israel’s agreement (violating the Oslo Accords), or just building in a controversial area at what was thought to be strategically opportune time.

If You Talk to Them, What Would You Say?

Monday, December 17th, 2012

It’s an interesting question my mother asked me.

An international media organization has contacted me – one which no one would ever accuse them of being pro-Israel; few would even really consider them balanced when it comes to coverage of the Middle East. They want to ask me about my life, my blog, where I live, and what I think. They want me to talk about E1 – not that that topic would take long… hill, no building, no disruption, next…

I’ve seen media twist words before – I’m not naive. I know the way the game is played. I’ve seen instances where reporters leave out parts of a statement to make it seem so different than what was intended. Should I open myself up to having my words distorted, to allowing them to take the beauty of where I live and turn it into something wrong, ugly, even stolen?

Years ago, I took a reporter around Maale Adumim and then to the Jewish communities in Gaza. She had once worked for this very media organization now asking to interview me. I took her to the home of a woman who has two children who were injured in terror attacks. The reporter didn’t ask about how her children were coping with their injuries and their trauma…she asked how it felt to live in a house that was stolen?

No, this woman didn’t live in a house that was stolen, not even on land that was occupied. She moved here more than 20 years ago and bought an apartment. She made it a home and raised her children here. There was so much she could have spoken about, but that first question was so telling. It was phrased with cruelty and ignorance, with the reporter’s agenda clear to all.

Before we left the city, I was already regretting my decision to take her to Gaza. I wanted to show her the amazing things Israel does. In Maale Adumim, I took her to a beautiful new children’s park nearby – built in sections so that children of varying ages can play, so many safety issues addressed – soft ground under climbing equipment, things that could withstand the sun, railings and fences and benches for the parents to sit and watch. Surrounded by gardens and paths where it is pleasant to walk, it’s a gathering place all week long for so many.

She didn’t compliment the park’s planning  - she asked why Palestinians can’t come there. She asked why the Palestinians don’t have similar parks in THEIR neighborhoods in a tone that made it clear she blamed us, that it was OUR responsibility to build for them the things they didn’t bother building for themselves. I told her she should ask them. The money we pay in taxes goes to building parks here – where does the money go in Palestinian areas, and what happens to the parks and schools we do build in their areas?

In Gaza, I took her to several families – to a man who lost an arm in one war and then several fingers on his remaining hand when he was attacked years later by a terrorist. He told her of the body of a young mother that he found in a car on the side of the road – and how the terrorists had sat in waiting. The dead woman was bait for whatever target came next. They relied on the goodness and caring of the next person to stop and see if she needed help. He was badly wounded, saved more by a malfunctioning grenade than the soldiers who followed and eliminated the terrorist.

I took her to the greenhouses to show her the incredible farms and produce and to meet other people and see other places. And finally, I took her to the home of a family who had lost a son in war and was about to not only lose their home but would be faced with digging up their son’s grave and having it moved rather than leaving it to be desecrated in Gaza. It was the one time I begged her not to ask anything about politics, “please, don’t do that to them – don’t ask them about stolen land and how it feels to lose their home…” She was very good, actually, and I appreciated that she simply asked them to tell her about their son.

The NY Times: Dishonest, Defamatory and Deliberate

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

I have often criticized the New York Times for slanting ‘news’ stories as well as for its consistent anti-Israel bias in editorials, selection of op-eds, columnists, etc.

Now the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has prepared a study of the Times’ content that they argue demonstrates that the newspaper is as bad or worse than I’ve said:

The dominant finding of the study is a disproportionate, continuous, embedded indictment that dominates both news and commentary sections. Israeli views are downplayed while Palestinian perspectives, especially criticism of Israel, are amplified and even promoted. The net effect is an overarching message, woven into the fabric of the coverage, of Israeli fault and responsibility for the conflict.

The summary (the full report, with detailed data will be available soon) lists several newsworthy  topics — the peace process, the Mavi Marmara affair, the ‘siege’ of Gaza, violence and incitement in Israel and the territories. It argues that the Times’ coverage of these has been biased to the extreme. It also notes that editorials and articles chosen for the op-ed pages have been almost entirely anti-Israel — some totally irrational, such as a remarkably ugly piece by an anti-Israel extremist that “characterized Israel’s tolerance toward homosexuals as a devious ploy to conceal abuses of Palestinian human rights.”

There is no doubt in my mind that the data will confirm rigorously what I noticed years ago and continue to notice: that the New York Times has chosen the path of dishonesty and even deliberate defamation, over responsible journalism. They are not disinterested observers of events; they are fighters in an information war.

I think we must draw a distinction here between the normal political ‘slant’ of an editorial policy — all media have them — and a sustained policy to abet the assassination of a nation. I am entirely serious when I say that the difference between the New York Times and Der Stürmeris one of style and degree. The intent is similar.

“Oh, come on,” you say. “Don’t be an extremist yourself. It’s just the usual liberal bias.” No, it isn’t. It is a sustained campaign to establish certain false propositions in the minds of the public — an educated, influential segment of the public. These beliefs are intended to influence policy, in a way which will directly damage Israel’s security. The New York Times is doing its best, in other words, to get people (Jews) killed.

Here are some of the false propositions that are repeated, over and over, in the pages of the Times:

  • The conflict continues because Israel is not prepared to make peace with the Palestinians.
  • Any defensive action in the face of terrorism is collective punishment of Palestinians.
  • Any defensive action that hurts Palestinians is disproportionate.
  • Israel’s government is an extremist right-wing regime.
  • Israelis in general are racially prejudiced against Arabs.
  • The security fence is a land grab.
  • Israeli Jews have no right to live beyond the Green Line.
  • Eastern Jerusalem is “Arab Jerusalem.”
  • ‘Settlers’ are terrorists, Palestinian Arabs are oppressed.

The objective of this propaganda is to make it harder for Israel to defend itself against terrorism and war, and to facilitate diplomatic pressure to reverse the outcome of 1967. Of course, once that is accomplished, it will be the results of 1948 that will be placed under pressure.

I could go on. I could speculate about the motivations of the editors and publishers. But wondering about the motivations of their enemies is a Jewish disease.

What we should do is to stop giving aid and comfort to them. To stop subscribing to this newspaper, even if we like the book reviews or sports articles. You wouldn’t make donations to Hizballah, right? Then don’t buy the Times.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Guardian Newspaper Bans Pro-Israel Watchdog from Site

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The British newspaper The Guardian has banned Adam Levick, the managing editor, of the pro-Israel media watchdog, CiFWatch, from its website, deleting all prior comments on Guardian articles and disabling his ability to contribute opinion pieces to the site and further comments.

CiFWatch monitors the Guardian’s coverage of Israel and is affiliated with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. “CiF” stands for “Comment is Free” the opinion section of the Guardian where anti-Israel articles often appear.

In a posting on the CiFWatch website, Levick said that he had been a contributor to the Comment is Free section of the Guardian’s website for years and that his user account, and all prior comments on Guardian articles – many of which pointed out anti-Israel bias –  was terminated without any explanation.

Levick’s work at CiFWatch has led in the past to corrections of many Guardian articles.

Levick noted that “occasionally I sensed that I may have annoyed the CiF moderators by violating the Guardian Prime Directive: Thou shall not write the name ‘CiF Watch’ or link to it in any way…”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/guardian-newspaper-bans-pro-israel-watchdog-from-site/2012/12/16/

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