NY Times: No Self-defense for Israelis
In its Feb. 26 edition, the New York Times splashes the following headline across four columns: "2 Palestinian Teenagers Hurt Amid Israeli Gunfire at Protest." The immediate impression left by the headline is that Israeli forces used live fire against Palestinian demonstrators who were merely protesting. An obvious case of disproportionate use of Israeli firepower, it would seem.
The first paragraph of the article, written by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, reinforces the basic message of the headline: "Two Palestinian teenagers were seriously injured Monday when Israeli soldiers used live ammunition to disperse a demonstration at a holy site outside Bethlehem." Again, readers are advised that Israeli troops used their firepower to disperse a mere demonstration. Again, a picture of Israel flexing its military muscles against Palestinians who are simply demonstrating.
Except that the headline and the first paragraph do not tell the real story -- not by a long shot. To get a full, accurate picture, Times readers have to plow through Rudoren's article until they finally reach Paragraph No. 11 -- in a 13-paragraph article -- to discover that the reason Israeli forces used live fire is that they were confronted by Palestinians "who were throwing improvised grenades at worshipers near the tomb."
So, it wasn't a case of Israeli use of disproportionate firepower after all. Rather, Palestinians were hurling Molotov cocktails at Jewish worshipers near Rachel's Tomb, one of Judaism's holiest sites. These were life-threatening provocations and, under these circumstances, the defensive response of Israeli soldiers was entirely proper and necessary.
The headline and Rudoren's lead paragraph, however, give Times readers a totally false impression that is not corrected until close to the end of her article when probably most readers already have moved on to other parts of the paper. Thus, the poisonous and misleading start of the article remains from eradicated.
So, why wait until Paragraph No. 11, if not to blacken Israeli forces with false inferences? Here's another example of Rudoren's pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda agenda.
Bottom line: Don't expect to find fair, responsible, objective, even-handed journalism in the New York Times or in Rudoren's dispatches.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers