The Unkindest Cut -Part II
My peeve with an LA Times editor
I want to share with you an example of the fight we have in the trenches all the time.
The editor of the Letters section of the LA Times sends a regular summary of key topics in the news. His last newsletter was a way of apologizing for the media admittedly believing Hamas’ story about Israel intentionally targeting a hospital and killing 500. But even in explaining that it was a rush to judgement, he had one snide remark, a back-handed compliment of the worst kind.
This was part of his opening:
The subject line on an email from the New York Times on Tuesday morning wasshocking: “Breaking news: Israeli strike on hospital kills hundreds, Palestinianofficials say.”
Horrified as I was at the thought of 500 Palestinians killed while seeking care andrefuge inside a Gaza Strip hospital, I was also skeptical. The source of the Israeliair strike claim was Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. . ..
I’ll reserve judgment as to whether news organizations messed up on this.Reporters and editors covering this war operate under immense pressure, andthis week should remind us to be more circumspect about passing off any government’s statements as fact.
So far so good.
This is his text that ticked me off:
Yes, Israel has despicably lied about past atrocities, but that’s no reason to dismiss credible evidence that it might not have murdered hundreds of civilians this time, especially when something so incendiary can lead to antisemitic violence elsewhere.
The words" despicably lied" were underlined in his email. That underlining is intended to open to his source for the phrase, Al Jezeera! Link to Al Jazeera article being referenced
Here is my reply to him. I am still awaiting a response:
Dear Mr. Thornton,
I appreciate that you are calling on media to reserve judgement until facts are in. I found the blood libel of the claim of Israel’s targeting of the hospital in Gaza such a classic example, of a kind with the blood libel about the massacre in Jenin some 20 years ago, widely reported as truth, even though no massacre took place.
However, I resent what is a snide explanation about the rush to judgment being a consequence of “despicable lies” by Israel. That statement is marked by a link to the source, an opinion piece from nothing less than Al Jazeera, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar, headquarters to Hamas and associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The editorial leads with the phrase “despicable lies” but refers directly only to the tragic death of Al Jazeera reporter, Abu Akleh. Here, Israel did eventually accept responsibility for an accidental, not intentional, killing, an admission, the likes of which was never done by the other side.
If you wish the Times, like the other major media, to retain a smidgeon of journalistic integrity , you must avoid snide insinuations. Your colleagues must also acknowledge that the rush to judgement is has resulted in additional violence, around the world, to the Jewish community and salt on the wound for both sides.