NY Times paints Israel, not Iran, as today's global villain

In its April 13 edition, the New York Times publishes an article by Berlin correspondent Nicholas Kulish about German reactions to Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass's poem depicting Israel as a threat to world peace because of its readiness to strike Iranian nuclear facilities if Tehran continues on a path of developing atomic weapons ("Once Taboo, Germans' Anti-Israel Whispers Grow Louder" page A12).

Kulish reports that Germans are divided on this issue in two camps -- political and cultural elites, including newspapers, have been sharply critical of Grass, while many rank-and-file Germans have rushed to applaud him.

So far so good.  But Kulish is not content to leave it at that.  Instead, he loads the dice against Israel in the lead paragraph, which states that the Grass poem criticizes "Israel's aggressive posture toward Iran."

Kulish presents "Israel's aggressive posture toward Iran"  as not something claimed by Gross's poem.  Instead, this bellicose phrase is accepted and presented by the reporter as a given fact.  There is no qualifier, such as "what the poem terms Israel's aggressive posture toward Iran."  Kulish just plops the pejorative phrase into the lead as his own view of reality.  And in that view, Israel is automatically assumed to have an "aggressive posture."

Nowhere in the article, however, is Iran described as have anything even approximating an "aggressive posture."  Never mind that it has been Iran that repeatedly has threatened to wipe out Israel -- a threat never brandished by Israel against Iran.  Never mind that Iran has backed up its genocidal threat against the Jewish state with declarations by one of its highest officials -- former President Ali Rafsanjani, who's till in the top tier of the leadership -- that one nuclear bomb would eliminate Israel while causing only minimal harm to Muslim populations.

And never mind that even the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the UN's nuclear watchdog -- has sounded alarms that Iran's nuclear activities may have a military component.  One would think that Kulish would take cognizance of this and, instead of injecting his poison pill of an "Israeli aggressive posture," report that Israel actually faces a far graver threat -- an existential one -- from Iran.

But not by Kulish and the New York Times.  Nowhere in the article is there any indication that Kulish asked Germans who embrace Grass' poem if they're equally exercised about Iran's nuclear saber-rattling against Israel.

And nowhere in the article does Kulish mention that the "aggressive posture toward Iran" label that he pins on Israel then also logically applies to President Obama, who like Israel also has threatened military action against Iran as a last resort to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

Does Obama thus also qualify as having an  "aggressive posture toward Iran," according to the New York Times?  Is Obama now also in the Times' cross-hairs?

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

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