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May 14, 2018 6:13 pm

‘Hatchet Job’ Profile of Iran-Deal Critic Gets His Hair, Suit, Pay Wrong

avatar by Ira Stoll

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The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A New York Times profile of a prominent critic of the Iran nuclear deal is being condemned as a “hit piece.”

The profile describes the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Mark Dubowitz, as someone who “wears tailored French suits and keeps his curly hair just so.”

Mr. Dubowitz tweeted that he doesn’t own such a suit, and that his hair “isn’t curly.”

“Just two of the many factual errors in this piece,” Dubowitz tweeted.

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Another error involves Mr. Dubowitz’s pay. The Times reports, “In 2016, he paid himself $560,221, a sum nearly twice that accepted by counterparts at larger, more established think tanks.”

Actually the Times article elsewhere refers to “the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, more established conservative think tanks.” Yet the heads of AEI and Heritage both earned more than a million dollars a year, making Mr. Dubowitz’s pay not “nearly twice” that of his peers, but “about half.” And that sum wasn’t an amount that Mr. Dubowitz “paid himself” but rather an amount paid to him by the nonprofit organization, which is governed by a board of directors.

The rest of the piece is similarly off-base. It quotes three ardent supporters of the Iran deal, but no critics of the deal other than Mr. Dubowitz himself, making it slanted. As the Institute for Science and International Security observed, all three of the Iran deal proponents, and Dubowitz critics, quoted by the Times are supported by the Ploughshares Fund. The Institute for Science asked the Times reporter responsible for the piece, Gardiner Harris, “were you aware that these individuals are all funded by the same outfit, which notoriously coordinates Iran messaging? Similar experts with similar views who swarm journalists and present themselves as independent experts.”

The National Security Roundtable described the Times article as “a ridiculous piece, exhibiting astounding ignorance.”

Omri Ceren, a former official of the Israel Project who is now an aide to Senator Cruz, described the Times article as a “hit piece.”

A former New York Times reporter and editor, Clifford May, who is now president of FDD, tweeted, “Reporters churn out hatchet jobs from time to time. It’s what they do. But editors should enforce minimal journalistic standards. … it’s riddled with errors. The Times used to be better.”

A larger problem is the gist of the six-column headline over an essentially spurious attack on Mr. Dubowitz, who was in the “fix it” camp about the Iran deal, as somehow disingenuous or insincere for being in that camp rather than being in the “nix it” camp.

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

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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