Bias, Racism and the New York Times

by

The New York Times, in its never-ending fawning over Apartheid Israel, published recently what is obviously meant to be a heart-rending story of a Jewish woman whose son was killed during the intifada of 2001. The article talks about Sherri Mandall, an American living in settlements that the world condemns as illegal. She, herself, is also part of a serious violation of international law that states that an occupying power must not move residents onto occupied land.

The article discusses the ‘murder’ of her son, and her ‘noble’ efforts to assist others who have lost loved ones.

This writer searched the New York Times archives in vain to find an article that interviewed a Palestinian mother whose young son had been killed by IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists. Was The Times unable to find such an individual? In the last 14 years, while 129 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians, at least 1,530 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis. Surely, one or two mothers could have been located from among that number. Perhaps the mother of Nadim Nawara, 17, unarmed and shot in the back by IDF soldiers, a crime captured by a video camera and shown around the world, might be interested in telling her story.  Surely The Times could extract some human pathos from such an interview.

Or perhaps The Times is only interested in interviewing U.S. citizens (Mrs. Mandall holds dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship). This writer also searched the archives for an interview with Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, a U.S. citizen who was crushed to death by a bulldozer in Gaza, as she was attempting to stop an illegal home demolition.  Unfortunately, he was not successful in finding such an interview.

Could it be that The New York Times, once undeservedly revered for publishing ‘all the news that’s fit to print’, somewhere along the line decided to print just what it determines is news?

The recent disappearance of three Israeli teenagers, living illegally in the West Bank, has garnered extensive coverage in The Times. However, the kidnapping of hundreds of Palestinian youths each year, some of them pre-teens, by the IDF, usually does not warrant so much as a mention by the paper. The cold-blooded murder of Nadim Nawara, in May of this year, did receive an unprecedented three articles over a period of a week. But there has been no mention of Mr. Nawara since the end of May. This writer would imagine that his mother may be available for comment.

It is difficult to see this happening, this lack of reporting, without the ugly word ‘racism’ coming to mind. Is the grief of an Israeli mother somehow, in the opinion of The New York Times, more poignant or searing than that of a Palestinian mother? If that is not the opinion of The Times, then what would be the reason for highlighting one while ignoring the other?

Information about home-made bottle rockets being shot into Israel from the Gaza Strip also seems to be considered newsworthy by The Times. But what of the carpet bombing of Gaza, with sophisticated weaponry, including chemical weapons, provided by the United States? If the use of chemical weapons in Syria is so serious, shouldn’t the same standard apply to their usage in Palestine? Or is anything acceptable as long as it’s done by Israel?

Journalism is, by nature, expected to be unbiased. News is reported simply because it is newsworthy. The disappearance of hundreds of Palestinian children each year, often violently taken from their beds in the middle of the night by IDF terrorists, is news. Proportionally, it is more newsworthy than the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers, simply because the numbers kidnapped are so much greater.

This racism is reflected in journalistic circles throughout the United States. The ‘Missing  White Woman Syndrome’ describes the disproportionate amount of news coverage given to upper-middle-class white women who disappear, over minority women who disappear.  About half of people, including men, women and children, who are reported missing in the U.S. each year are white, and they receive about 80% of the media coverage of missing persons.

So The New York Times, a rag inexplicably popular with the left, is only following the long-standing national trend:  report in depth on the sufferings of whites, but let minorities fend for themselves.

One might ask how Israel fits into all this. Why are the children of settlers, living in communities that the world has condemned as illegal, so very precious, while the children of the oppressed Palestinians are somehow expendable? Why does this mindset seem also to permeate the hallowed halls of Congress, and the White House?

There seems to be a perverse symbiotic relationship at work: the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) purchases members of Congress, who then toe the Israeli line. The New York Times, wanting nearly unlimited access to the corridors of power in the U.S., report what those power-holders say, and want reported.  And the only thing to get lost in all this is truth.

Since this writer began this article, news that the bodies of the three missing teenagers have been found has been reported. One feels sorrow and compassion for their survivors, but no more so than one feels for the surviving loved ones of Nadim Nawara and the countless other Palestinians murdered in cold-blood by Israel. Palestinian victims are living in their homelands; the three Israeli teenagers were part of an occupying population, living where they were in violation of international law. This does not alter the sorrow of the families, but there is certainly some risk in living in a settlement as part of a brutal occupation.

How will The Times report on this new development, and Israel’s horrifically brutal response? Will the three Israeli victims be honored, while the countless Palestinian victims are ignored and forgotten? Will the anticipated carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip, and the further crack down in the West Bank, be reported as reasonable responses to the deaths? And will any Palestinian resistance to this unspeakable brutality be ascribed as the work of terrorists?

The Israeli public relations machine, so effective with the U.S. press and political establishment, will shift into high gear, to ensure support for whatever oppressive cruelty, and whatever extreme and shocking violation of human rights, Israel decides to perpetrate.  And The New York Times will follow Israel’s game plan to the letter.

Perhaps this will finally motivate that stooge of Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to petition the International Criminal Court for redress. Were he not a puppet of Israel he would have done so long ago, but perhaps even for him there is a tipping point. If the expected brutal barrage that Israel is now expected to unleash on Palestine isn’t enough incentive for him to act, nothing will be. The sooner Palestinian elections are held, and the sooner he can be removed from office, the better it will be for all Palestinians.

But regardless of the actions of the weak, corrupt Mr. Abbas, The New York Times will continue to report on Israel’s ‘victimhood’ and Palestinian ‘terrorism’, once again demonstrating that in the world of U.S. journalism, black is white and white is black. One looks in vain for any real, fact-filled, investigative reporting from The Times.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?