As of Saturday, Fares Akram, the New York Times correspondent in Gaza usually relegated to second billing or "contributed additional reporting" on stories, is being credited with lead bylines. The timing for Akram's higher profile is inauspicious, given a recent Forbes investigation by Richard Behar on the media's slanted coverage of Israel, especially the Times, which he called "the most important media outlet in the world...widely regarded the most authoritative media outlet in the world for international coverage."
Behar dug up a photo on Akram's Facebook page of Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist leader Yassir Arafat that Akram previously used as his profile photo. Arafat was responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and has been lionized by the Times for his "heroic history" as a "father figure of Palestinian nationalism."
As a ceasefire takes hold in Israel, a review of the most recent New York Times coverage of the conflict shows old anti-Israel patterns die hard, with the paper's Jerusalem bureau chief bizarrely suggesting that "in Israel, open discourse and dissent appear to be among the casualties of the monthlong war in Gaza." No mention was made of the violent threats made by the Hamas dictatorship against both journalists and critical Palestinians.
On the front of Thursday's National edition of the Times, Jodi Rudoren and Fares Akram dwelled on the economic miseries inflicted on Palestinians by Israel in "Conflict Leaves Industry in Ashes and Gaza Reeling From Economic Toll." (Hmm...how much did all those rockets fired at Israel cost?)
As the fighting rages on in Israel, the New York Times again showed its anti-Israel slant in two days of stories that went beyond dispassionate journalism and into emotional manipulation.
Times readers on Monday were greeted with a large front-page photo of a Palestinian man carrying an injured child. Also on Monday's front: Ben Hubbard and Jodi Rudoren's "Questions of Weapons and Warnings in Past Barrage on a Shelter." The front-page text box placed Israel in the paper's favorite spot -- on the defensive: "After a 'Safe Zone' Becomes Deadly, Fire from Israelis Comes Under Scrutiny." And the Times even asked an Israeli military spokesman "to point out where Israeli forces were operating." You know, the way you always do during battle.
Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12 while hitchhiking home in the West Bank. They were found dead on June 30, murdered by Hamas militants. Palestinians attacked the ambulance carrying their bodies. Later Hamas launched rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, while Israel countered with air strikes on specific terrorist targets.
The paper's coverage of the ongoing situation has been marked by intense anti-Israel bias in tone and labeling, and a false moral equivalence between the behavior of "extremist" Israelis and merely "militant" Palestinian terrorists.
Despite evidence reported elsewhere, a Monday story in the New York Times by Fares Akram, Jodi Rudoren and Alan Cowell described the bombing of "two buildings housing local broadcasters and production companies used by foreign outlets" as a possible example of Israel "targeting journalists" -- while ignoring one "little" thing. As the Washington Free Beacon noted (HT Instapundit), "Four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists were using the media building as a hideout. They were killed in the Israeli strike." Additionally, the Times reporters downplayed the high-percentage effectiveness of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system in blowing up Hamas rockets before they could cause any damage.
What follows are the two "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story" paragraphs from the Times, as well as those relating to Iron Dome's results thus far:
Thursday's New York Times led with Israel pinpointing targets in Gaza, including a direct hit on a Hamas commander, after years of rockets fired into Israel. The report from Jerusalem by Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram blamed the victim of scores of rocket attacks for an effective retaliation (a "ferocious assault"): "Israeli Assault Into Gaza Kills A Hamas Leader – Wider Conflict Feared – Twenty Targets Are Hit After Rocket Strikes by Palestinians."
After relegating to page A16 the stabbing slaughter of five members of a family of Israeli settlers on March 12 at the hands of Palestinians, the New York Times mustered front-page sympathy for Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist murdered in Gaza by a fringe Islamic group. Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner reported from Gaza for Saturday’s front page, “Killing of Pro-Palestinian Activist In Gaza Deals a Blow to Hamas.”
For Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist who friends said fought peacefully for justice, the end was as violent as it was incongruous.