When Bill Keller announced that he would soon be stepping down as the New York Times’ top editor, he was hailed as the man “who rebuilt the confidence of the New York Times newsroom after the Jayson Blair scandal” (Forbes, 6/2/11). Rem Rieder of American Journalism Review (3-4/11) wrote that Keller “righted the ship” and “deserves major credit for steering our most important news organization in an immensely challenging time, for the most part avoiding the icebergs.” Hendrik Hertzberg (New Yorker, 6/3/11) commended his tenure: “The quality and quantity of Times journalism remain unsurpassed on Planet Earth.” Despite all the […]
NYT chief did not challenge state power—he served it
Paper discovers reasons for skepticism
Certain editions of the New York Times (12/3/10) published today an update to its reporting on Iranian weapons with a much more skeptical tone than its original article. The first article (11/29/10), headlined "Iran Fortifies Its Missilies With the Aid of North Korea," presented the case in definitive terms: Iran now possesses powerful missiles with "the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe." As a FAIR Action Alert noted (12/1/10), the evidence to back this up was thin. And the paper decided, "at the request of the Obama administration," not to publish the WikiLeaks cable that was the basis […]
Paper cites WikiLeaks cable, but omits doubts
A November 29 New York Times article alleging that Iran possesses powerful missiles with "the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe" appears to rest on incredibly shaky evidence--amounting to a German newspaper article that did not fully corroborate the U.S. claims the Times was touting. The piece relied on one of the cables published by the website WikiLeaks. The Times did not publish the cable on its website "at the request of the Obama administration." But the paper was willing to selectively use information from that cable to bolster the U.S. claims against Iran. Doubts about the piece […]
Bogus evidence showing Arab apathy towards Palestinians
On August 2, the New York Times published an op-ed arguing that Arabs do not care much about Palestinians--and that this is a good thing, especially for Palestinians. But the argument relied on a "poll" of the Arab world that does not exist. The piece, by historian Efraim Karsh, intended to show that the "conventional wisdom" about the Israel-Palestine conflict--that Arabs "are so passionate about the Palestine problem"--is wrong. His main evidence is this: "What, then, are we to make of a recent survey for the Al Arabiya television network finding that a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents […]
Blaming Hamas rockets bolsters Israeli PR
In the aftermath of Israel's May 31 raid on the Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla that killed nine activists, the Washington Post and New York Times have propagated an inaccurate historical context that serves to bolster Israeli claims. The conventional rendition is that Israel invaded Gaza at the end of 2008 in order to stop a near-constant stream of rockets fired by Hamas. This history signals to readers that Israel was merely reacting to intolerable and persistent acts of violence. But that is wildly misleading. For much of the second half of that year, a truce between Hamas and Israel largely […]
Tasini campaign not 'fit to print'?
Over the course of the past year, the New York Times has provided ample coverage to a series of potential U.S. Senate candidates from New York--none of whom are actually running for office. Meanwhile, a candidate who is in fact challenging incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in the September 2010 primary has been all but erased from the picture. That progressive activist Jonathan Tasini is running against Gillibrand, who was appointed to the seat in 2009, is known to Times readers who happened to catch a single January 27, 2010, story by N.R. Kleinfeld, headlined "An Underdog Who Isn't Daunted by […]
In a response to a FAIR action alert (3/11/10), New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (3/21/10) acknowledged that the paper got key facts wrong in reporting on the undercover videos attacking the community organizing group ACORN. The main issue was the fact that James O'Keefe, the activist who produced the videos, did not actually dress up like a "pimp" when he visited the offices. This was a major theme in stories that appeared in the Times and elsewhere: As FAIR pointed out, O'Keefe's supposed get-up was one of "the key contentions of the ACORN smear--that the group is so […]
Why can't paper admit its mistakes?
Ignoring calls from numerous critics, the New York Times refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage of the now-famous right-wing videotapes attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Instead, the paper's public editor, Clark Hoyt, is relying on an absurd semantic justification in order to claim the paper does not need to print any corrections. As conventionally reported in the Times and elsewhere, right-wing activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute and visited several local ACORN offices, where office workers gave the duo advice on setting up a brothel, concealing a […]