NY Times mollycoddles terrorists firing rockets at Israel

In its Sunday, June 24 edition, the New York Times reports the following:

"Israeli military officials said 24 rockets from Gaza hit southern Israel on Saturday, part of a weeklong barrage of more than 150; 10 were intercepted.

"A school and factory were among the sites hit, and officials urged residents to stay indoors."

Sums it up pretty well, don't you think?  Well, not exactly when you read the actual article by Jodi Rudoren and Fares Akram.  It turns out that this two-paragraph summation comprises the 11th and 12th paragraphs of their 12-paragraph piece.  In other words, the real news -- the continued rocket barrage fired by Hamas and other terror groups continues unabated -- is buried.

What the Time,s Rudoren and Arkram choose to highlight is iquite different.  Their main focus is on Gaza casualties resulting from Israeli counter-terror strikes on rocket-firing cells.

Thus, the headline:  "4 Die in Gaza As Violence Escalates."  The Times' priority is on Palestinian casualties and on camouflaging Hamas's rocket offensive by putting at least as much blame on Israel.  Thus, the lead paragraph:  "Despite a pledged cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel, attacks escalated on both sides of the Gaza border on Saturday, killing at least three Palestinian men and a 6-year-old boy in Gaza, and wounding an Israeli man in Sderot, officials said."

Here we have a lead designed to give readers the nub of the story, yet one that is seriously misleading on two counts:

  • 1. There has been no "pledged cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel." What really happened was a unilateral cease-fire announced by Hamas, and then promptly broken by a new volley of rockets fired from Gaza. Israel never signed on to such an agreement, taking instead a position that if there were an end to attacks from Gaza, it would end its counter-attacks.
  • 2. The 6-year-old boy was not killed by fighting along the border. He was killed in an explosion of Palestinian ordnance, a not so rare "accident" in terror weapons arsenals dotting the Gaza Strip. Rudoren and Akram, after twice putting the blame on Israel, finally get around -- near the bottom in the 10th paragraph -- conveying to readers an IDF report that the boy died in an ammunition explosion.

As far as the rest of the article is concerned, its main thrust is to spotlight collateral casualties from Israeli counter-strikes, not the fact that the rain of rockets from Gaza has paralyzed 1 million Israelis within rocket range who have been told to remain in or close to air raid shelters.  Nor does the article pay any attention whatsoever to psychological wounds inflicted on thousands of Israeli children who develop post-traumatic stress symptoms from fear and anxiety as rockets explode in their vicinity.

What mainly -- almost entirely -- commands the Times' attention is any harm inflicted on Palestinians from Israeli counter-strikes.  The pain, horror and terror suffered by Israelis from more than 150 rockets in a single week gets soft-pedaled, buried at the very end of the Rudoren-Akram piece -- journalism's back-of-the-bus treatment - where editors and reporters well know that most readers never get that far.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

In its Sunday, June 24 edition, the New York Times reports the following:

"Israeli military officials said 24 rockets from Gaza hit southern Israel on Saturday, part of a weeklong barrage of more than 150; 10 were intercepted.

"A school and factory were among the sites hit, and officials urged residents to stay indoors."

Sums it up pretty well, don't you think?  Well, not exactly when you read the actual article by Jodi Rudoren and Fares Akram.  It turns out that this two-paragraph summation comprises the 11th and 12th paragraphs of their 12-paragraph piece.  In other words, the real news -- the continued rocket barrage fired by Hamas and other terror groups continues unabated -- is buried.

What the Time,s Rudoren and Arkram choose to highlight is iquite different.  Their main focus is on Gaza casualties resulting from Israeli counter-terror strikes on rocket-firing cells.

Thus, the headline:  "4 Die in Gaza As Violence Escalates."  The Times' priority is on Palestinian casualties and on camouflaging Hamas's rocket offensive by putting at least as much blame on Israel.  Thus, the lead paragraph:  "Despite a pledged cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel, attacks escalated on both sides of the Gaza border on Saturday, killing at least three Palestinian men and a 6-year-old boy in Gaza, and wounding an Israeli man in Sderot, officials said."

Here we have a lead designed to give readers the nub of the story, yet one that is seriously misleading on two counts:

  • 1. There has been no "pledged cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel." What really happened was a unilateral cease-fire announced by Hamas, and then promptly broken by a new volley of rockets fired from Gaza. Israel never signed on to such an agreement, taking instead a position that if there were an end to attacks from Gaza, it would end its counter-attacks.
  • 2. The 6-year-old boy was not killed by fighting along the border. He was killed in an explosion of Palestinian ordnance, a not so rare "accident" in terror weapons arsenals dotting the Gaza Strip. Rudoren and Akram, after twice putting the blame on Israel, finally get around -- near the bottom in the 10th paragraph -- conveying to readers an IDF report that the boy died in an ammunition explosion.

As far as the rest of the article is concerned, its main thrust is to spotlight collateral casualties from Israeli counter-strikes, not the fact that the rain of rockets from Gaza has paralyzed 1 million Israelis within rocket range who have been told to remain in or close to air raid shelters.  Nor does the article pay any attention whatsoever to psychological wounds inflicted on thousands of Israeli children who develop post-traumatic stress symptoms from fear and anxiety as rockets explode in their vicinity.

What mainly -- almost entirely -- commands the Times' attention is any harm inflicted on Palestinians from Israeli counter-strikes.  The pain, horror and terror suffered by Israelis from more than 150 rockets in a single week gets soft-pedaled, buried at the very end of the Rudoren-Akram piece -- journalism's back-of-the-bus treatment - where editors and reporters well know that most readers never get that far.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

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