May 16 2012

NYT’s Jerusalem Bureau Has New Conflict of Interest

Reporter's husband's job is to influence her coverage

The New York Times‘ Jerusalem bureau was embroiled in controversy two years ago when news broke that bureau chief Ethan Bronner had a son who enlisted in the Israeli army (Extra!, 4/10). As Bronner wraps up his tenure, a new conflict of interest has arisen: Bureau reporter Isabel Kershner’s spouse works to promote favorable coverage of Israel at an Israeli government-linked think tank that Kershner frequently quotes. As an article by Alex Kane in the May 2012 issue of Extra! reports, Kershner’s husband, Hirsh Goodman, is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), an institution […]

May 01 2012

New Conflict of Interest at NYT Jerusalem Bureau

Isabel Kershner’s family tie to pro-government think tank

Photo Credit: New York Times

After the news broke that New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner had a son who enlisted in the Israeli army (Extra!, 4/10), Times public editor Clark Hoyt noted (2/6/10) that it was problematic for Bronner to continue reporting on “one of the world’s most intense” conflicts while his son took up arms for one side. Hoyt spoke to a former Times Jerusalem bureau chief, David Shipler, who stressed the importance of disclosing this relationship to readers. Bronner is now close to the end of his tenure in Jerusalem. But two years after that controversy, the New York Times […]

Jun 01 2011

The Goldstone Report’s Non-Retraction Retraction

Should a newspaper op-ed cancel a UN investigation of Gaza crimes?

Richard Goldstone--Photo Credit: Fordham University

When it was released in September 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council investigative document known as the Goldstone Report offered a detailed, shocking accounting of Israel’s 2008-09 invasion of the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of civilians were killed, scores of buildings were leveled, and water and sanitation infrastructure was attacked. The meticulous cataloguing received modest coverage in the corporate media. Then on April 3, 2011, the report’s namesake—retired South African judge Richard Goldstone, who headed a four-person investigative commission—took to the pages of the Washington Post op-ed section to announce he’d had a change of heart. (The Post, perhaps sensing […]

May 20 2011

Ali Abunimah on Palestinian protests, Glenn Greenwald from FAIR’s 25th Anniversary


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Israeli defense minister says that major protests like those on Israel’s borders May 15th require new responses; but what if anything is new about US journalists’ approach to Palestinian protests and rights? Journalist Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada will join us to talk about that. Also on the show: We’ll play part of Glenn Greenwald’s address at FAIR’s recent 25th Anniversary celebration at Symphony Space in New York City. The Salon writer shared his thoughts on the media with a standing room only crowd; he shared the stage with Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky […]

Apr 08 2011

Harold Meyerson on Paul Ryan, Lizzy Ratner on Goldstone Report


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin:. Republican Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan unveiled his party’s budget plan this week. Media consumers learned that Ryan is gutsy, that he’s serious as a heart attack, that the plan is bold and sweeping… but what would it mean for peoples’ lives? And what would reporting look like if it stayed focused on that. We’ll talk to Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post and the American Prospect about the ‘vision’ in the Ryan budget, which Meyerson says isn’t really about the deficit at all. Also on CounterSpin today, seemingly out of nowhere media were […]

Apr 01 2011

Anonymous Soldiers as Medical Experts?

Only when the NYT covers Israel killing a Palestinian

Jawaher Abu Rahmah--Photo Credit: Electronic Intifada/Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

U.S. media coverage of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah reflected how the corporate press routinely covers high-profile civilian deaths caused by Israel. The Israeli government, it seems, can count on U.S. media to print its anonymous claims—no matter how baseless. Two days after Abu Rahmah, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank village of Bil’in, died from tear-gas inhalation during a December 31 demonstration against the separation wall, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went into spin mode. Anonymous “senior officers” in the Israeli army pushed a number of theories about her death—Abu Rahmah wasn’t at the demonstration, she had […]

Jan 28 2011

Laila El-Haddad on Palestine Papers, Robert Weissman on Obama and Big Business


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Al Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper are publishing what are being called the Palestine Papers, leaked documents relating to the Israel-Palestine negotiations. The revelations, mostly of significant Palestinian concessions, are mostly being ignored in the U.S. media, dismissed as things we already knew. But are they? And what are Palestinians thinking of all this? We’ll speak with journalist and author Laila El-Haddad. Also on CounterSpin today, pundits scoured Barack Obama’s State of the Union address for many things, but one concern that seems to be abiding is whether Obama makes sufficient overtures to the […]

Dec 01 2010

Unfrozen Settlements in Palestine

Portraying Israeli ‘PR stunt’ as peace offer

Corporate media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict does not suffer from a lack of creative use of language: the “generous” offer the Palestinians rebuffed at Camp David in 2000, for example (Extra!, 7-8/02), or references to illegal West Bank colonies as “neighborhoods” (Extra! Update, 8/02). The current round of U.S.-backed negotiations brought a new kind of misdirection: the Israeli “freeze” or “moratorium” on settlement building, a move ostensibly intended to help lay the foundation for negotiations. But if you thought “freeze” meant “stop,” think again. The settlement “freeze” was announced in December 2009 as a 10-month time frame during which […]