Monday, November 28, 2005

Myre Fries the Facts on the Gaza Greenhouses

The New York Times today, in a story by the ever-unreliable Greg Myre, describes how the Palestinians are finally squeezing a harvest out of the greenhouses left to them in Gaza by their former Jewish inhabitants. Only problem is that the greenhouses were damaged by the Palestinians, in an orgy of self-destructive violence that received widespread publicity, such as this.

That's what happened, and Myre does briefly mention the Palestinian looting. But -- totally disregarding the historical record -- his story lays the blame for the greenhouses' destruction at the feet of the Jewish Gaza farmers, and not the Palestinians.

It's not as if this happened a zillion years ago, for heaven's sake. It was only this past September, and the media was filled with articles on the Palestinian rampage through the greenhouses. The MSNBC piece, linked above, reported at the time that "Palestinians looted dozens of greenhouses. . ., walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting in a blow to fledgling efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip."

Myre ignores this widely publicized lootingfest, saying instead that "when the Israeli farmers started leaving, they took their most valuable equipment with them, and some greenhouses were damaged or destroyed."

Note the deliberately fuzzy syntax. "Were destroyed"? Why not say, "Palestinian mobs damaged or destroyed them"? Nope, that would be contrary to Times policy of downplaying Palestinian violence. It also provides, deliberately I think, the mistaken impression that the Jewish farners "damaged or destroyed them."

He then says:
James D. Wolfensohn, the envoy for countries involved in Middle East peacemaking, cobbled together a group of wealthy Jewish Americans who pledged $14 million in compensation for the Israeli farmers provided that they left the greenhouses intact. The deal was reached just days before the settlers were evacuated, and it is not clear that it prevented much additional damage to the greenhouses.

Myre presumably had passing grade in high school English. If not, his editors did. Their sloppy syntax had a clear intent -- to unfairly, and inaccurately, blame Israelis for the destruction of the greenhouses, instead of the Palestinians who ripped them to shreds.

As has been my practice with the last few Times items, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Something else for you to ignore, Barney, while you shill for management and focus on trivia.

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