(August 7, 2019 / JNS) The New York Times has failed to heed the urging of one of its own former editors to improve its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a media monitoring organization charged last week.’‘
According to a video released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), the newspaper’s inaccurate coverage of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas proves reporters still fall short when it comes to the Palestinians and Israel.
The video quotes Margaret Sullivan, the Times public editor from 2012 to 2016, who urged reporters to “strengthen the coverage of Palestinians,” in particular by conveying that they “are more than just victims.”
“We produced the video because New York Times reporters continue to forget Palestinians are multi-dimensional, and not only suffer from but also greatly contribute to their conflict with Israel,” said Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst with CAMERA. “To downplay Hamas extremism is to misinform readers about the causes of the ongoing conflict.”
According to the video, Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger twice in May described anti-Israel violence as an expression of Palestinian “impatience,” using that phrase to describe a sniper attack from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as well as a deadly barrage of rockets. After Hamas rockets killed four Israeli civilians, Halbfinger told readers that the group “can express its impatience with weapons.”
Halbfinger also referred to the possibility of a “stray rocket” killing civilians, wrongly suggesting that Hamas unintentionally hits Israeli towns and cities.
“Hamas itself openly admits that it targets Jewish homes,” said Ini. “That means its rockets are war crimes—something the Times neglects to report.”
The video juxtaposes images of Hamas fighters with footage of 1960s’ anti-war marches when it criticizes Halbfinger for claiming that Hamas gunmen killed while shooting at Israelis were shot down while merely “demonstrating.”
Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director, described the video as part of the organization’s broader efforts to shine the light on “bias” at the Times.
“Our giant billboard in front of The New York Times building is there to remind the public of the newspaper’s bias,” said Levin. “CAMERA staff communicate directly with journalists and publish in-depth research to fact-check reporting, and that’s essential. But as long as the paper fails to meet its professional standards, we’ll also turn directly to readers, whether with a billboard or the new video, to warn them that the newspaper can’t be relied on to objectively tell the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”