Saturday, December 17, 2011

"No Thank You" to the New York Times, Twice.

By oldschooltwentysix

The Jerusalem Post had a story yesterday that Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited by the New York Times to write an opinion piece, but respectfully declined. His senior adviser, Ron Dermer, wrote a letter explaining the decision to pass up the opportunity from the "paper of record."

The letter referred initially to an op-ed from Mahmoud Abbas published by the paper in May in which he stated:
"Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened."

According to Dermer, not to mention others, this was demonstrably false.

Then, after providing some other examples, Dermer gets to the heart of the matter:
Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, “positive” and “negative,” with “negative” meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”
The only "positive" piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone's previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position. According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.

Your refusal to publish “positive” pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply. It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions. In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.

Good for Netanyahu for showing that, in this regard, with regard to bias, the NY Times acts much like The Manchester Guardian, winner of the 2011 Dishonest Reporting Award from Honest Reporting.

The second "No thank you" referred to in the title? That was from me! After it started to make most people pay for content, the Times curiously gave me a complimentary subscription. It ends on December 31. Rather than continue, and give this one sided enterprise money to print editorials about Israel at a 95% negative rate, like Netanyahu, I respectfully declined.

(cross posted at oldschooltwentysix)



  1. I gave up on the Times not long after the start of the Second Gulf War.

    Does the name Judith Miller ring a bell?

  2. The reality is that there are few news sources that can be relied on, but I think Netanyahu's response made the point quite well.

  3. What do you mean? They can be relied upon to demonize Israel and lionize Palestinians.