New York Times Bites Israel by Lying about the "Flytilla" / Prof.Barry Rubin

July 10, 2011
Saying that the New York Times misreported on the Middle East in a way deliberately intended to be biased against Israel is like writing an article with the headline, “Dog Bites Man!” Still, since this behavior is so often unintentionally humorous, I can’t resist quoting the lead of the newspaper’s main story on the “flytilla” attempt to disrupt Israel’s airport and air travel:

“Israel prevented a gathering of foreigners here on Friday by blocking, deterring or deporting hundreds of air travelers who had been invited by Palestinian activists to fly into Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport and then travel to the West Bank for a week of “fellowship and actions.”

Now if this was true, those foreigners–unless they had engaged in some violent or directly subversive action (abetting terrorists, smuggling in money)–would have arrived in the airport, walked thorugh the terminal, and boarded buses to go to the West Bank without difficulty. Hundreds of anti-Israel activists have done so in the past.

Remember, too, that this action arose directly out of the failed flotilla a few days previously, an operation backed by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In fact, as was repeatedly stated by the organizers and participants both publicly and on every sort of social media, they planned to hold a demonstration at the airport that would in effect close it down. The author of the article must know this as should any editor at the newspaper who has been following the story.

While a lot of the mass media has been transformed over the last 10 or 20 years from reasonably objective (albeit far from perfect) to slanted, in the last five years it has been further fundamentally transformed to outright conscious lies and shameless propaganda.

Where are the journalism professors, journalism reviews, and editors who will condemn this kind of behavior rather than condone and even advocate it? Does anyone ever get fired for systematically producing propaganda rather than proper journlaism? I haven’t heard of a single case in either category.

An honest lead would have read:

Israel blocked, deterred or deported hundreds of anti-Israel activists who planned a demonstration at Ben-Gurion International airport and then to travel to the West Bank for a week of demonstrations and support activities for the Palestinians there.

That’s a perfectly reasonable, balanced, and fair lead. Instead, the paragraph was intended to make Israel seem like a police state persecuting nice people who just wanted to go make friends with Palestinians.

Perhaps 30-40 percent of the American people think that nothing has changed in the American mass media and that it presents the news in a reasonable way. (For example, conservatives really are really bloodthirsty, racist, monsters while anyone who criticizes the Obama Administration is right-wing and should be ignored–only kidding.) Another 30-40 percent perhaps think things have always been like this.

If you don’t understand how an organ like the New York Times has gone from being a liberal-oriented but professional and responsible newspaper into a disgraceful propaganda sheet, it is impossible to comprehend what has gone wrong in America.

Note: My usual disclaimer applies.There are many good journalists who work in the mainstream media and do their job properly and many good reporters even on the New York Times.

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