Monday, May 09, 2005

A Double Header in the Times

Our Daily Bias today consists of two items in the New York Times, which can always be counted on to provide at least one example of bias with each day's edition.

First we have the Times's usual slanted piece on the Israel-Palestinian dispute: "Israel Curtails Agreement on Prisoners." The real corker is the deck, which you can't see in the Internet version: "Cease-Fire in Peril, Palestinians Say." The cause of this dreadful state of affairs is that Ariel Sharon called off a portion of the prisoner release.

In keeping with Times policy (it must be a policy as it is so consistent), nowhere is it mentioned that the Palestinians have already agreed in the Roadmap to Peace to an unconditional cessation of violence.

Note the word "unconditional." It doesn't say "conditional on release of prisoners" or "conditional on Israel being nice enough to satisfy the New York Times." So is fighting terrorism. (I.e., "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere" and begin "sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.")

This slanted piece was illustrated by a photograph that is so off-point as to be downright goofy. It shows the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, distributing toys to kids in Thailand. The caption, and a brief reference in the article, describe a statement the rabbi issued about his son being under investigation for kidnapping his daughter's boyfriend. Apparently Times editors couldn't find a photo that cast Israel in a sufficiently negative light, so they found this one, even though it is on a totally irrelevant side issue.

The second part of our double header is the obligatory Times pro-Palestinian editorial, criticizing Congress for allocating aid to Palestinians but not directly to the Palestinian Authority. What the editorials leaves out is why Congress acted as it did--which is that the PA has a tendency to either steal money that comes into its coffers or give it to terrorists. Pretty damn good reasons, in other words.

So there we have it--in one day, two excellent examples of bias in the New York Times. A double header! Nice going.

Today the Times released a study by a committee of its editors that, according to an article, is aimed at "improving the Times's credibility." Among the steps under consideration are a more forceful Times response to criticisms (with the aid of public relations people) and that "senior editors write more regularly about the workings of the paper."

Naah. P.R. isn't the answer. The solution is for the Times to be fair, accurate, and stop the kind of blatant bias we see just about every day.

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