Friday, June 30, 2006

The Times Whitewashes Kidnappers

The New York Times's ever-reliable foreign desk, confronted with terrorism by Palestinians and a restrained reaction by Israel, has a problem. Just how do you slant your coverage in the face of such black-and-white facts? The simple solution is an old one -- moral equivalency.

Thus the Palestinians did not kidnap an Israeli soldier-- a term used by pretty much everyone other than the terrorists themselves -- they "captured" him. The Israelis did not arrest Hamas legislators, they "seized" them.

This amoral use of language was employed in a front-page story today by the notoriously pro-Palestinian Steven Erlanger, "Seizures Show New Israeli Line Against Hamas."

"Seize," however, is just flat-out inaccurate. The arrested Hamas thugs will be subjected to a trial in Israeli courts, in which defendants have much the same protections as in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the even milder term "capture" is used to describe the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. To the Times, a government arresting a terrorist is the same as, if not a bit nastier than, a gang of murderers kidnapping a young, unarmed soldier.

To drive home the point, the Times publishes a dispatch from Saudi Arabia by house terrorism apologist Hassan Fattah -- amazingly still employed by the paper despite the Abu Gharib wrong-man fiasco -- to describe how the righteously indignant, morally superior Arab world is "shocked" by Israeli's perfidy.

In an article that, as usual for Fattah, reads almost like a self-parody, "Wrong Man Fattah" waxes indignant: "Many deplored Israeli attacks on civilian targets in response to what they characterized as a legitimate military campaign that resulted in the capture on Sunday of Cpl. Gilad Shalit of the Israeli Army."

But even while serving as a reliable, unquestioning funnel for Arab propaganda, Fattah let someting slip through. He quoted the "pan-Arab daily Al Hayat" referring to the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier for what it was -- a kidnapping.

That's the Times for you: More Arab than a "pan-Arab daily."

UPDATE: While I'm sure everyone knows it by now, I'll state the obvious: The devastating Wall Street Journal editorial today, which focuses on the Times's notorious anti-Bush bias, is must-reading and equally applies to its coverage of the Israel-Palestinian dispute.


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