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November 19, 2013 3:13 pm

New York Times Admits to Bad Photo Choice for Story About Murdered Israeli Soldier

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Picture of mother of Palestinian man who killed 19-year-old IDF soldier Eden Atias. Photo: Screen shot.

The New York Times on Tuesday admitted to a “poor choice” after receiving heavy criticism for publishing a photo of a weeping Palestinian woman as the lead photo in an article about a murdered Israeli soldier.

The story on the murder of 19-year-old Israeli soldier Eden Atias was published last week with a photo of the murderer’s weeping mother as the main photo.

In the New York Times opinion pages on Tuesday, Margaret Sullivan, The Times’ public editor, called the decision to run the photo “a poor choice, failing to put the focus where it belonged.”

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“I spoke on Monday afternoon to two senior editors at The Times,” Sullivan wrote. “Both agreed that the photo was a regrettable choice. The dominant image with an article should reflect the overall point of the article and the reason for its newsworthiness.”

Sullivan also quoted two editors more directly involved with the photo being published. Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor in charge of photography, said, “This did not represent the essence of the story, which was clearly the moment of the Israeli soldier being stabbed.”

“The selection of the Palestinian mother’s ‘art’ with the article was an effort to achieve balance, but such an effort was not appropriate in this case.”

Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn also weighed in on the controversy, apologizing and saying, “We don’t always get it right.”

Earlier this week Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Judi Rudoren responded to an angry Facebook post about the photo, saying it “was not the best choice (I did not know about it until the other reader wrote me), and that for sure it should have at least been paired with a picture of the victim.”

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  • Zelda Zadorah

    Before jumping to any conclusions, has any of the commenters here thought about a revolutionary concept of mine, that the weeping person in that photo was crying over the killed soldier?

    wouldn’t that idea put all the negativity on this page to shame and expose a little light of humanity where it belongs? I too would have cried over the loss of someone so young were it not for all the hate shown on this page

  • Alex

    I wonder if the NT can provide the photo they took of the mother of the dead soldier when they interviewed her?
    What do you mean they didn’t interview her? Not an error of judgment then, just more anti-semitism.

  • Steve39

    The Times has been and continues to be biased against Israel. That no one at The Times caught this obscene perversion of this story’s picture shows that no matter how innocent Israel is this formerly great paper lives in the slime of its anti-Israel bias.

  • Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn also weighed in on the controversy, apologizing and saying, “We don’t always get it right.”

    Tell the world when the last was that you got it right. Not this century anyway

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    Muslim States hire another 10 PR agencies since last year.
    Ronn Petrossian Front Page google it

    It is not just the Arab and Muslim states, but Soviet Russia and not Russia are also involved. How many petrodollars have been spent pushing the Russian dezinformatsiya poison?

  • Disappointing!

    Media Studies teachers are going to have a classic story to give out to students. Propaganda and how to recognize it.

    Small comfort to Eden Atias’ family.

  • Jay

    Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn should have said the following:

    We Never Get It Right.

  • Barbara

    Best to boycott those companies who advertise in the NY Times! Inform those who spend their advertising dollars in this rag of the reason you won’t be purchasing their products. The NY Times is not interested in the truth, but maybe hitting them where it hurts…revenue… might make an impression!

  • Barry Newman

    I can’t even read the NY times anymore (from reading it daily for decades to never again). It is total unadulterated garbage. It deserves to go out of business. Either it is unabashedly left wing, or unabashedly anti-Israel. Just disgusting. None of this article is surprising, unfortunately.

  • An error in judgment? Please, I need an air sickness bag. The New York Times is one of the most anti-Israel publications in the world. I have been saying for a long time, The New York Times=Der Sturmer.

    I cannot wait to celebrate its demise.

  • Sophie Osnah

    It is easy to apologize….these are only words…what actions will the New York Times take to rectify the disregard for the life of the murder of 19-year-old Israeli soldier Eden Atias? Will they FRONT PAGE print the apology and place the picture of Eden’s death?

  • I’m not sure how regretful the NYT really is. THis ill considered photo is a continuation of their anti-Israel bias. As for Judi Rudoren’s apologia, “bunk:. Her articles are almost always supportive of the poor Palestinians.

  • Martin Bookspan

    What chutzpah! “We don’t always get it right?” The New York Times is a filthy rag when it comes to coverage of the Middle East, and specifically Israel. The blatant bias against israel that permeates the pages of that paper is an affront to responsible journalism and should be condemned in the harshest terms.

  • Chaim

    Thank you HR for a great job in getting the Times to admit it was wrong. Keep up the good work! That said, it is a losing battle. The Times is hopelessly anti-Israel. I just hope that Jews around the world and non-Jews who support Israel boycott the Times — cancel your subscriptions, stop advertising in it and do not click on internet articles, as that supports NYT advertising revenue. Again, however, it is important for HR to continue to GREAT work you do and keep fighting the good fight!

    • PAK

      Don’t boycott the NYT. It’s important that voices other than Israel bashers are heard in the comment sections that invariably accompany any article dealing with Israel and a boycott only lends credence to the BDS movement (what’s good for the goose is good for the gander).

  • Linda Golden

    Multiple editiors involved and not one had the good sense to realize that the photo was not appropriate…Shame…these poeple at best are inept and should be doing something else. At worst, it is more of the NY Times trying not to show bias by being biased…what a crock!

  • mika.

    Just another jew-baiting troll in a long series of jihadistani jew-baiting by the fascist CIA propaganda outlet. They are so desperate for ratings they will do anything. Best to ignore them, boycott them, and have them disappear into bankruptcy.

  • Arie

    The bogus photo of the “distraught” mother was page 1 for the hezbollah allied slim owned and Episcopal Church published NYT. The “getting it wrong” (no apology or regret) was buried deep in the rag.

    I’m surprised there wasn’t a caveat demanding the immediate release of the “poor oppressed child” and the arrest and move to the ICC of the soldier that captured the terrorist

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