Payments to Terrorists? What Payments?
The depths of this bias, as well as the downright ignorance at work here, was revealed in a recent exchange of correspondence between a reader and the deputy foreign editor of the Times, Ethan Bronner. In an earlier exchange, Bronner revealed that Hamas is not described as a terror group because it does good stuff. In his more recent email, Bronner displays an abysmal ignorance of elementary facts.
In a query two weeks ago, the reader asked Bronner why the Times, in a story on the "moderate" Palestinian Authority, had failed to note that the PA "is still making martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers."
"Thus," the reader noted, "[PA Chairman] Abbas' complaints about about forces trying to ruin the process could be taken with a grain of salt, since the PA, which he heads, still contributes to the problem of suicide bombing by making payments to families. Why wasn't this in the reporting?"
Bronner's response -- well, I think this needs to be duplicated in full:
"From: Ethan Bronner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: The Latest Suicide Bombing
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 11:40:33 -0500
The PA says it stopped making such payments 18 months ago. Can you tell me the source of your information? "
The source was not some mimeographed newsletter or even a humble blog like this, but rather the Wall Street Journal. According to a Dec. 22 op-ed article by Tom Gross, citing the official Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the payments were continuing under Mohammed Abbas.
I delayed this item at the reader's request to give Bronner a chance to respond further on that point. No further emails came, however.
Obviously it's not reasonable to expect for a newspaper editor to read every single piece in every single newspaper. But the Gross piece, which had direct bearing on the Times's coverage of the PA, was in a direct competitor of the Times. Guess he missed it. Not important. After all, those suicide bombers merely cause "episodes of violence," in which victims and murders are morally equivalent -- in the eyes of the Times.
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