Monday, April 25, 2005

The Objective New York Times

The New York Times vehemently defended how well it covers Israel and "Palestine" (which, last I checked, is not a real country but the objective NYT says it is, so it must be - they are way too careful to say something accurate like "Palestinian territories".)

After much gnashing of teeth about how the Times gets attacked from both sides (implying that it must be doing something right) the editor concludes that, hey, it does the best it can.

Now, today, we see this:

WEST BANK SOLDIERS SHOOT PALESTINIAN DRIVER A Palestinian motorist ran over and killed an Israeli at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Hebron, the Israeli media reported. Israeli soldiers then shot the Palestinian driver. There were conflicting reports whether the driver was killed or wounded. It was not immediately clear whether the driver intentionally hit the Israeli. The Israeli military said it was investigating but had no immediate comment. Greg Myre (NYT)

The same story in the left wing Ha-aretz (the Times' ideological cousin in the Mideast) adds:
The reservists at the roadblock reported that the taxi was seen approaching, and a soldier stepped out to flag down the driver, who was alone, for inspection. At first the driver slowed, but suddenly put on speed and drove straight at the soldier, running him over and critically injuring him. The other soldiers then opened fire at the driver, who died instantly. An ambulance crew called to the site was unable to save the injured soldier.

So, as of the time that the Times ran its story, it may not have known all the facts, besides two: an Israeli soldier was killed and a Palestinian was shot. But guess which fact it decided to put in the headline?

No, the esteemed NYT can't be bothered to put in a sentence or two of context, because, as the editor protests, it is not a history book. The minor fact that Israeli soldiers do not randomly shoot Palestinian taxi drivers, for example, is more of historic interest and not immediately relevant to this story. No, to the Times, the important fact is that a Palestinian was shot, and anything else is just noise.

Three cheers for "objectivity!"