By: Joe Strupp and Jamie Santo
Newspaper Says It Strives For ‘Impartial Coverage’
Claiming The New York Times has published pro-Israeli coverage of the recent Middle East situation and ignored violence against Palestinians, a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups protested outside the Times’ Manhattan headquarters Friday evening to draw attention to what they claim is unfair reporting.
“We’ve been finding a lot of bias, misstatement of things out of context, and shaping of stories to suit the Israelis,” said Nisrine Shehadeh, a spokeswoman for the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, which co-sponsored the protest. “There has not been a lot of explanation of context in terms of giving the Palestinian side.”
Times editors declined to comment on the protest, with the newspaper’s only response coming in a statement from spokeswoman Kathy Park. “We strive for thorough and impartial coverage,” the statement read in part. “And we recognize that in an inflamed situation it is not always possible to please partisans of all sides. Our best response to any criticism is that we will continue covering the situation, day in and day out, and making sure that all viewpoints are impartially represented.”
Shehadeh cited as an example of alleged bias the Times’ coverage of two Israeli soldiers who were shot to death in recent weeks. She said their killings received more coverage than attacks on Palestinians.
“The day before that happened, there were numerous similar attacks by Israelis that were not covered,” she said. “We have had more than 100 Palestinians killed in the past three weeks, and they haven’t gotten the same treatment.”
Amira Solh, co-chair of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition cited additional problems with the Times coverage, including the use of “symbolic words” and what she called misleading identifications, such as “‘Arab Muslims vs. Israeli Jews,’ which incorrectly portrays [the situation] as a religious conflict.”
Carrying signs such as “NY Times: All the lies fit to print,” and occasionally engaging in chants such as “New York Times, New York Times, always blaming Palestine,” a crowd of approximately 200 people marched counterclockwise in an area cordoned off by the New York Police Department while listening to a collection of speakers.
“New York media is very cautious,” Solh added. “We are trying to push them.”
Joe Strupp ([email protected]) is an associate editor for E&P. Jamie Santo ([email protected]) is a reporter for the magazine.
Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.