April 29, 2010

The nyt's one-sided debate

I did a quick roundup of op-eds appearing at the New York Times website duirng the year 2010. I suppose it may be somewhat arbitrary, but I did a search on the words "Israel" and "Hamas" between January 1, 2010 and April 29, 2010 and limited the resutls to the Opinion section.

I know that doesn't include unsigned editorials. Nor does it include an op-ed by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. But it also doesn't include a vicious article by Robert Wright.

My samplng leaves us with 6 articles from February, and 5 each from March and April. Follow the links as I have excerpted these articles, offered comments on each and summaries.

Of those 16 articles only two could possible be described as pro-Israel and one of those was from an Israeli ambassador! Seven of the articles were contributed by Times columnists, Roger Cohen and Thomas Friedman.

Truly it's incredible. Apparently it's not fashionable at the Times to give supporters of Israel a voice.

The reason I went to this trouble is because of an argument made by the NYT's current ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, titled "The danger of one-sided debate." The issue addressed by Hoyt was a column written by Ahmed Youssef a spokesman for Hamas. Here's Hoyt's argument:

Op-ed pages should be open especially to controversial ideas, because that's the way a free society decides what's right and what's wrong for itself. Good ideas prosper in the sunshine of healthy debate, and the bad ones wither. Left hidden out of sight and unchallenged, the bad ones can grow like poisonous mushrooms.

Rosenthal and Shipley said that, over time, they try to publish a variety of voices on the most important issues. Regular op-ed readers have seen a wide range of views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have a lot of other information to help judge Yousef's statements.


Now the argument about allowing Yousef an op-ed column really wasn't about whether one should be exposed to the views of Hamas as Hoyt misrepresents it. There are plenty of fellow travelers around who would be happy to promote the views of Hamas. The question was whether a newspaper should allow the member of a terrorist organization - and one that doesn't appreciate the finer points of the first amendment - prime journalistic real estate space. Hoyt avoided the real question, but his answer is revealing. It showed that he (and his newspaper) see fit to debase themselves in the name of "healthy debate."

The reality that my little exercise shows that regarding Israel, there is no real debate at the New York Times.

The Times would rather give Israel's enemies the freedom they deny their own people - the freedom of the press. But to Israel, a true democracy, the Times becomes rather stingy in allowing its defenders a voice.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Posted by SoccerDad at April 29, 2010 1:56 AM
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Comments

Searching using Israel Op-Ed site:nytimes.com I got many more than six.

Posted by: Haffield at July 18, 2010 9:47 AM
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