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March 8, 2017 3:47 pm

Inflammatory, Controversial New York Times Hurls Adjectives at Pro-Israel Americans

avatar by Ira Stoll

Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The New York Times has finally gotten worked up about a threat to national sovereignty in Europe.

What is this supposed threat, according to a front-page “news” article in Wednesday’s Times? Not an influx of radical Muslim immigrants. Not meddlesome Brussels bureaucrats. No, to hear the Times tell it, the real “assault on national sovereignty” — that’s the language the Times uses in the third paragraph — comes from, of all places, politically conservative, pro-Israel Americans and American Jews.

As is its usual practice, the Times makes its case by hurling pejorative adjectives at the people it dislikes.

The Times reports:

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Mr. Wilders’s backing of Israel, where he once lived, has set him apart from other far-right groups, and he has courted American Jews. Daniel Pipes, another conservative American activist and a Harvard-educated historian known for his controversial statements on Islam…said his foundation, the Middle East Forum, provided money in the “six figures” to help pay legal bills in Mr. Wilders’s trial over the film, but specifically to a legal fund, and has not provided political support. Mr. Pipes has called Mr. Wilders “the most important European alive today,” but has differed with him on his view of Islam, though he himself has expressed inflammatory views on the subject.

The Times tells us that Pipes’ views are “controversial” and “inflammatory,” but can’t be bothered to tell readers what they actually are. This is such shabby journalism that the Times’ own style guide actually has a cautionary entry on the point, under the word “controversial”: “This completely acceptable word becomes an unfair shortcut when attached to the name of a person, program or institution without elaboration: it places the subject under a sinister cloud without stating any case. At a minimum the issue should be specified soon after the word appears. Once that is done, the need for the adjective will often — though not always — evaporate.”

Having smeared Pipes — who also might have been identified as a former US government official who served in five presidential administrations, or as the author of 16 books — the Times proceeds to its next target, John Bolton:

Dutch records also show that two American foundations paid for Mr. Wilders’s flights and hotels on trips to the United States last year. One, the Gatestone Institute, lists John R. Bolton, a combative former United Nations ambassador under George W. Bush, as its chairman.

Why is it necessary for the Times to describe Bolton as “combative”? It’s spin, designed by the Times’ own combative editors and reporters to make Times readers dislike Bolton. Some editor should have taken that word out, because the effect of leaving it in is to undermine the Times’ credibility.

Why does the Times prefer to deal with pejorative adjectives rather than concrete facts when accusing Americans of this “assault on national sovereignty”?

The answer may be that because when the Times attempts to find facts to support the pejorative adjectives, they turn out to be phony, or misleading. The online version of the Times article now carries this appendage:

Correction: March 7, 2017

An earlier version of this article misstated the group to which David Horowitz was referring in a speech. He used the phrase “sick death cult” in reference to Hamas, not Islam.

Well, there’s an important distinction. Given the newspaper’s sloppiness when it comes to actual facts, it’s no wonder the Times prefers to stick instead to general, vague, though scary-sounding descriptive words like “inflammatory” or “combative.” As this particular example demonstrates, the labels apply aptly to the Times itself.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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