New York Times Tops Watchdog’s 2015 List of ‘MidEast Media Mangles’
A media watchdog on Wednesday awarded first and second place to The New York Times on its list of “Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2015.”
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) headed its list with a New York Times story published in October that “incorrectly and absurdly” described a butterfly knife used by a Palestinian terrorist to commit a stabbing attack against an Israeli. The knife — which is known to be used as a weapon and is in illegal in a number of countries and US states — was described as “the kind Boy Scouts use.”
The October story was written by Judi Rudoren, New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem. It was the third New York Times article mentioning the same stabbing attack, and in all three pieces, the brandishing of a knife was referred to as “an Israeli allegation,” according to CAMERA. In the other two articles, CAMERA said, The New York Times gave “equal weight” to Palestinian claims that the knife had been planted and Israeli descriptions of the attacker holding the knife, in spite of video footage showing the terrorist wielding the weapon. The Times issued a correction that CAMERA described as “peculiarly worded and weak.”
CAMERA gave the second spot to a New York Times infographic listing of Jewish Congressional Democrats who opposed the July nuclear deal with Iran. The chart specified the “Jewishness” of US lawmakers or their constituency by listing anti-deal Democrats in the House and Senate in columns, one of which was headed “Jewish?” Another showed the lawmakers’ “District and estimated Jewish population.”
CAMERA accused the newspaper of crossing a “particularly odious line” by publishing the chart. The media watchdog said the publication’s decision to signal that the Jewish identity of US lawmakers is the “central factor that needs to be scrutinized” when looking at opponents of the nuclear deal evokes “a number of dark and dangerous stereotypes: That Jews in this country should be singled out for examination; that lawmakers may be putting their Jewishness above their party; that they may even be putting their Jewishness above their American identity… and/or that the Jews wield disproportionate influence on foreign policy.”
Following backlash, The New York Times modified the chart by removing the “Jew” column, but did not issue a correction.