Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What are Newspapers For?

Us bloggers, we can write whatever we wish, whenever we wish, about whatever we wish, with or without regarding truth or accuracy as we wish. The rest of you, our readers, either continue or discontinue your subscriptions according to whatever whim takes you. (I assure you I don't fork out all that money to read Mondoweiss or Juan Cole because I like them).

Alas, it's exactly the same with real newspapers except their business model is dependant on enough people forking out enough real money for them to remain viable. Other than that, we're all the same. Indeed, far too many newspaper folks even behave as if they were bloggers. See Isabel Kershner in yesterday's New York Times, the most venerable of newspapers. Ask yourself if she isn't simply talking through her hat. She doesn't have any facts beyond what she heard on the radio, I assure you, to which she has added a few sprigs of opinion:
It is not clear when construction of the additional 455 units will start, but settler representatives said it was their understanding that these units would not be subject to a freeze.
The seemingly paradoxical moves — a raft of approvals and then a formal freeze — represent Mr. Netanyahu’s attempt to balance competing political and diplomatic pressures. His own Likud Party supports settlement building, but the Israeli left and much of the international community denounce it.

And see the previous post for hard facts.

Still, indavertantly and unintentionally, one might even say against their own better judgement and political inclination, the staff at the NYT has added some valuable information to the discussion. Look at the picture at the top of the report, and you'll notice two interesting things. The first is that there are no Palestinians - not towns and villages, not farmers - losing space because of this construction. The picture is of a town in the desert, and as is often the case with deserts, no one lives there before the developers arrive.

The second is the identity of the construction worker. He's an Arab. A Palestinian Arab.


annie said...

Please don't confuse the NYT with facts, Or any of the other mainstream media for that matter. You'll only give them a brain-ache.

Alex Stein said...

Why is it so fascinating that the construction worker is a Palestinian?

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

To Alex,

Perhaps Ya'acov's point is that not only is no one being harmed by the construction, but many Arabs are actually helped because of the many jobs that are generated.

Avigdor said...

Yaacov, I ran across an article in Jpost or Ynet a day or two ago, can't find it now, and it got me thinking about the original intent of Oslo, and the mindset of its framers, at least from the Israeli side.

The article was basically about Rabin; how Rabin is considered a great man of peace, but in reality, Rabin's final status position (we keep Jerusalem, we keep settlement blocks, we keep Jordan River Valley) are nearly identical to Netanyahu. Yet, Rabin is the epitome of peace, and Netanyahu is a slave to war.

You write often about how you come from the left's "peace camp", but with the recent demise of language, that doesn't say much to those of us who spent the 90's popping zits.

Where did you start off on the Palestinian issue? Did you support Rabin? Did your friends? How has your position evolved? What did you think when that first explosive belt packed with metal nails and washers went off in the mid-90s... was it in Tel Aviv?

What did people think of in '93 when they spoke of Oslo - Palestinian autonomy or independence?

It's a tall order to ask you to sum up the last 20 years of your life as we sit back and enjoy the ride... However, it would be informative for me, and I'm sure many of your readers, to step out of the current situation and examine where we came from.