Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Times Editorial Misquotes Road Map

An editorial in the New York Times today focuses on the Middle East for the first time since August 31--a period in which Gaza has been turned into a Hamas State and violence has resumed. Let's see if you can guess the target of the editorial:

1. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorists who have been firing rockets at Israel.

2. Egypt, which stood by and watched as arms flowed into Gaza, in violation of an agreement with Israel.

3. The Palestinian Authority, whose weakness and complicity with terror has been proven yet again.

4. Ariel Sharon.

Well, I don't have to answer this, do I? The Sulzberger Indifference Template requires only one outcome. The missiles can be flying, the buses can be be exploding, the nightclubs can be turned into slaughterhouses. It doesn't matter. Times editorial policy requires only one outcome: ignore or downplay Palestinian aggression.

Today, the Times hammers away at a favorite theme--members of the "right-wing" Likud party who believe -- because of all the stuff the Times isn't reporting -- that withdrawal from Gaza is a reward for terrorism.

Not a word in the editorial about all those arms flowing in from Egypt or all the rockets being fired--but we do have a reference to the usually-ignored Road Map for Peace. A grossly distorted, inaccurate reference. As part of an attack on Benjamin Netanyahu-- who gets the kind of excoriation the Times rarely directs at Palestinian murders, we get the following:

The so-called road map for peace calls for Israel to work with elected Palestinian officials to create a plan for a negotiated Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The responsibility of the Palestinians is to clamp down on terrorist activity against Israelis.

No, that is not what the Road Map says. The Road Map requires, as part of its first phase:

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.

Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins 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.

Calling that "clamp down on terrorism" is like calling an amputation a "manicure." The requirement is to dismantle, confiscate and confront. Absolutely nothing along those lines is happening, or even considered remotely possible at the present time.

The Times also is inaccurate in describing Israel's responsibilities under the Road Map. The Times editorial writers just made it up. Look at the Road Map and see for yourself. Yes, of course such negotiations are required in later phases -- after all that terrorist-dismantling stuff is done. But in the first phase -- I trust that the Times wouldn't contend that we are in the la-la land of the second and third phases -- what the Times is saying is factually inaccurate.

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Times editorial page and corrections email address, and to the New York Times Ombudsman, Barney Calame.

Gail, Barney, the ball is in your court.

UPDATE #1: Maybe a corrective editorial is in order? Corrective articles seem all the rage at the Times nowadays--note this analysis in the American Thinker.

I have a better idea: A refresher course in Journalism 101. The hacks at the Times sure need it. And for some of them -- blog thief Ken Belson and Times factotum Hubert Herring come to mind -- an even better idea might be a refresher course in the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" part of the Ten Commandments.

UPDATE # 2: In an item on his web journal, Barney says that editorial page editor Gail Collins will address the corrections issue in a letter to readers. Goodness. I throb with anticipation!

Meanwhile, let's get cracking with a correction of the Road Map flub, guys.

UPDATE #3: Soccer Dad's take on the editorial is excellent.

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