Sunday, October 30, 2011

Journalistic Relativism ad Nauseum: The New York Times Strike Again

So I'm sitting in my home office this past Wednesday night, and we hear a faint siren. (The window was open). Rena gives me a puzzled, slighly worried look, and I respond, "I'm sure it's nothing. It sounds like they're running drills at Tel Nof." (The air force base close by). Then, a couple minutes later, we heard a faint "BOOM!". It wasn't nothing after all. We shrugged and went back to work.
The next morning, our cleaning lady (who came from Ashdod) told us about the rockets having fallen in and around Ashdod. Thank God, no one was hurt. Getting the news first-hand from your cleaning lady is a rather different experience than getting it from the internet.
Last night, we read about yet more rockets fired at Ashdod (and the Israeli response), and this morning, a siren in Yad Binyamin brought the family into the Mamad (protected room) for some early-morning togetherness. Moriyah quite enjoyed the sudden company. She never gets visitors like that so early.
I mention all of this as a preface to rail against the New York Times. In a "balanced" and "even-handed" piece entitled, "Israeli Drone Strike Kills Militants in Southern Gaza", the Grey Lady tells us,
GAZA — Israeli airstrikes killed seven Palestinian members of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing in southern Gaza on Saturday, according to the militant group, and Gaza militants fired salvos of rockets at cities in southern Israel, killing one Israeli man and wounding at least two others in a sudden escalation of cross-border violence.
Really? That's how it went down? It sounds like Israel, in an unprovoked attack, killed some "members of an armed wing" (read here: terrorists) for no apparent reason...."And" - that's a great word, isn't it - Gaza militants fired rockets at cities, killing Ami Moshe, 56. But that's not what really happened, is it? In fact, if you read the next sentence, you'd see that.
The Israeli military said that it had first hit a terrorist squad that was preparing to fire long-range rockets into Israel early Saturday, and that the same squad had been responsible for firing a rocket that struck late Wednesday near the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
What happened, is what always happens.
1. Terrorists fire rockets at civilians Wednesday night. Sometimes they hit something, often they don't.
2. More terrorists planned to fire additional rockets on Shabbat morning. Isreal killed them before they could fire.
3. In response to this outrageous provocation and escalation, terrorists fire even more rockets at innocent civilians, and this time killed a man who was guilty of the terrible crime of driving in his car in the Jewish State of Israel. (הי"ד)
4. Israel, outraged that someone actually got hurt (why does it always come to that?), finally gets serious and takes out one of a long list of terrorist safehouses, factories, hideouts, etc. that it's known about for ages.
5. Terrorists get even angrier, vow vengeance, and try and fire more rockets.
6. The New York Times posts an even-handed piece, careful to present the facts as seen by both sides, without bias. To wit,
Witnesses to the first raid said that an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a training site situated on sandy dunes in a former Jewish settlement near the city of Rafah, killing five. Islamic Jihad pledged that it would respond forcefully to the Israeli drone strike. Hours later, several rockets fired from Gaza slammed into the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, damaging buildings and setting fire to parked cars.

What exactly was the "training site"? Were they training for the Olympics? Was it the Gaza bobsled team? (What's the bit about "in a former Jewish settlement"? Not sure what the point of that is.) The whole article is bound by the "cycle of violence" dogma - that violence simply begets more violence; one side is no more to blame than the other; oh - and it doesn't really matter who started it.
Sorry Mrs. Times. It does matter. And these ongoing attempts at even-handed, balanced reporting to show a bias, as they obscure the true fact.
Fact 1: Terrorists in Gaza fired rockets at innocent civilians.
Fact 2: They want to provoke an incident, and want to kill civilians - men, women, children - the more the better.
Fact 3: Israel can, must, and will respond to these attacks, and doing so doesn't make us culpable in any "cycle of violence." It's called self-defense.
And, your sad attempts to simpy fit these very tragic events into your preconceived perception of the Middle East conflict only hides the true facts of life here near the Gaza border. So much for journalistic integrity. If you can't report the truth, it would be better if you didn't say anything at all.