Sunday, February 7, 2010

Objective Journalism

The anti-Israel mob has been baying at the New York Times for some time already - many months, at least - that their bureau chief in Israel, Ethan Bronner, is too pro-Israel. They have now scored a body hit, because Bronner's 20-year-old son recently joined the IDF (as an American, not as an Israeli. There are such programs).

Clark Hoyt, the paper's Public Editor, today published a column in which he stated his full confidence in Bronner as a professional journalist, but said the appearance of partiality was too great and he must be moved elsewhere. His boss, the Executive Editor Bill Keller, explains why he's not willing to move Bronner.

The whole episode is odd. Has the Times ever had such agonizing over, say, American reporters reporting on American wars? That would go either way, of course: How dare you have an American reporter with family in the war; how dare you have a reporter with none? Are there UK papers agonizing over the Britishness of their reporters in Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or Pakistan? Are there any Arabs reporting from anywhere in the Arab world? An Indian reporting on tensions with Pakistan: unacceptable? If not, why not?

It's a well documented fact that during the Holocaust the (Jewish owned) Times downplayed the stories of persecution seeping out of Europe; they were afraid of being marked a "Jewish newspaper". Perhaps they've been publicly agonizing over such issues ever since, and the Bronner story is merely the most recent in a long tradition. If so, feel free to enlighten me.

If not, and if it's only Jews or Israel that get agonized about, what does that tell us?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

One has to admire Clark Hoyt for his round-aboutness - I especially "liked" how in the second paragraph he reported that Mr. Bronner had behaved in accordance with the ethics guidelines of the paper but when much further down he refers again to these ethics guidelines he creates in me the vague and unprovable impression that Bronner is somehow not quite within them.

Hoyt's tactic of insinuating by not really insinuating interests me and so I looked a bit around. Two finds: Erlanger on the Gaza-War opens with some facts which are something to be learnt by heart
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/world/middleeast/11hamas.html
and a day earlier another take by Clark Hoyt - on the one hand, on the other hand, but then also ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/opinion/11pubed.html
Bill Keller reads like the kind of boss one is lucky to have
Silke

This Is Hell said...

I suspect in the US we're maybe 3 years away from some major media outlet openly firing people because they're Jewish. Mavens and liberals will of course pooh pooh this but it's coming.

Barry Meislin said...

This wouldn't happen to be the same Mr. Bonner who reported outright that Israel assassinated Mughaniyeh?

Presumably just another one of his pro-Israel qualifications....

That and all the other trash he's written in the interest of "truth"? "Even handedness"? "What's fit to print"? What have you....

He's certainly able to invent the news with the best of them.

(One of the reasons his son feels he has to enlist?....Keeping in mind that the Rambam's son was a Sufi, etc....)

heplev said...

HonestReporting.com had another idea for Clark Hoyt: I'm not going to comment on whether or not Bronner should be replaced over this. I just want to see the MSM be consistent here. All the western journos in personal relationships with Palestinian stringers and activists -- whether it's marriage, living together, or having an affair -- create conflicts of interest too.

Joshik said...

Peter Jennings dated Hanan Ashwari... no outcry, no conflict of interest there...