Apr 01 2010

Covering a Son’s War at the NYT

Editor rejects call for Jerusalem chief’s reassignment

Can a journalist neutrally cover a conflict that his child is fighting in? That’s the question posed by the news that the son of New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner joined the Israeli Defense Forces. The Times’ policies acknowledge that family members’ activities might require a journalist to “to withdraw from certain coverage”; their example is a business reporter or editor with “a brother or a daughter in a high-profile job on Wall Street.” If a child’s livelihood might color one’s reporting, wouldn’t that child’s life itself do so even more? When activists asked New York Times public […]

Mar 26 2010

Trudy Lieberman on health care, Phyllis Bennis on Israel-U.S. relations


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The long debate over health care reform might be, at least in some respects, over. Will conservatives still warn of creeping socialism and the end of American freedom? Sure. And many policy analysts are unimpressed with the new law– though those critiques are much harder to find in the corporate press than the views of Tea Party extremists. We’ll talk to Trudy Lieberman from Columbia Journalism Review about what we learned– and didn’t learn– over the past year. Also on Counterspin today: One of the most serious conflicts between the US and Israel in […]

Feb 12 2010

NYT Responds on Family Tie to Israeli Military

Hoyt urges Bronner's reassignment; Keller denounces 'savage partisans'

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (2/6/10) responded to messages from FAIR activists (Action Alert, 1/27/10; FAIR Blog, 1/27/10) by affirming that a reporter covering a conflict in which his child is an armed participant ought to be reassigned. But Times executive editor Bill Keller (2/6/10) rejected Hoyt’s reasoning, saying that Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner would remain at his post despite revelations that his son had joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Calling Bronner a “superb reporter” with “an excellent track record,” Hoyt said the news about his son’s enlistment (Electronic Intifada, 1/25/10) raised “tough questions”: The Times sent […]

Jan 27 2010

Does NYT’s Top Israel Reporter Have a Son in the IDF?

Foreign editor treats potential conflict as none of our business

The New York Times refuses to confirm or deny a report that its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, has a child who is an enlisted member of the Israeli Defense Force–even though such a relationship would pose a serious conflict of interest. The Electronic Intifada website (1/25/10), following a tip, asked Bronner whether it was true that he had a son in the IDF. EI got a reply from Times foreign editor Susan Chira: Ethan Bronner referred your query to me, the foreign editor. Here is my comment: Mr. Bronner’s son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. […]

Oct 01 2009

‘Law-Abiding’ Israelis, ‘Unwelcoming’ Palestinians

U.S. journalists sympathize with Israeli colonists

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Decode Jerusalem

The Obama administration’s push to freeze Israeli construction of illegal colonies in the West Bank has brought the settlement question back to the fore of media coverage. On July 27, Time published a rather long piece by Nina Burleigh on Israeli settlements under the headline “Two Views of the Land.” The first view was Israeli: The Katzes, very normal, gentle people readers can identify with (they’re even from New York!), “consider themselves law-abiding citizens” and do earnest and upstanding things like “publish a small community magazine and take part in civic projects. Sharon raises money for charity by putting on […]

Mar 01 2009

The ‘Right to Exist’ as an Arab Israeli

U.S. papers of record regularly erase Israel’s Palestinian citizens

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/nealunger

On January 11, 2009, a Washington Post article (“The View from Israel: Victors in a Necessary War”) declared that “Israelis have been . . . resolute” in their support of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza. What the piece did not mention was that some 20 percent of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians. While a common criticism of Palestinian political groups is their refusal to recognize Israel’s “right to exist,” U.S. corporate media repeatedly fail to recognize the existence of Palestinian Israelis. During Cast Lead, from December 27, 2008, until the tentative cease-fire unilaterally declared by Israel […]

Jan 01 2008

Get Carter

NY Times punishes an ex-president for criticizing Israel

Though the New York Times ignored Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid when it was first published–it didn’t review the book until it had already been on the Times’ bestseller list for five weeks–that didn’t stop the paper from running an article about a former Carter employee who didn’t like the book. The December 7, 2006 article began by reporting that Kenneth W. Stein, a former executive director of the Carter Center in Atlanta, had resigned, “citing concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Mr. Carter’s latest book.” It quoted Stein charging the book was “replete with factual errors, […]

Sep 11 2007

Whose Human Rights Matter?

NYT on Hezbollah and Israeli attacks on civilians

When Human Rights Watch recently released two investigations of the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war, the New York Times found the group’s documentation of unlawful attacks against Israel to be far more newsworthy than unlawful attacks committed by Israel. It’s rare that a media outlet’s news standards can be tested so directly. The human rights group released separate reports on violations by both Hezbollah and Israel, charging each side with indiscriminate attacks on civilians. When the first report was released, the Times placed an 800-word story (8/31/07) under the headline “Rights Group Accuses Hezbollah of Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians in Israel War,” […]