During one of the episodes of rioting at the Gaza border fence, which have occurred every Friday since last March, a Palestinian medic was killed. Last Sunday, the New York Times featured a lengthy front-page story on the subject, with elaborate graphics, produced by ten journalists and one photographer. The article concludes, with certainty, that the medic, Rouzan al-Najjar, was killed by a ricocheting bullet fragment. Ira Stoll comments:
The problems with the article begin with the front-page subtitle: “Israel Killed a Medic. Was It an Accident?” . . . Usually [a question mark in a] headline is a veil for journalism that falls short of reaching a conclusion. In this case, the Times wants to accuse Israel of murdering this woman, but it can’t prove its case. . . .
The Times poses as evenhanded. “Each side is locked into an unending and insolvable cycle of violence,” the Times claims, using a cliché of moral equivalence. It adopts an above-the-fray pose, like the umpire at a tennis match: “To the Palestinians, [Najjar] was an innocent martyr killed in cold blood. . . . To the Israelis, she was part of a violent protest aimed at destroying their country.”
But a closer examination shows the Times isn’t really evenhanded at all. [For instance, it] describes the conflict as “insolvable,” but it also complains that Israel “continues to focus on containment rather than finding a solution.” It seems unfair to criticize Israel for failing to solve a problem that the Times itself concedes is “insolvable.” [Likewise], the Times reports that “rocket attacks and bombings after the second intifada erupted in 2000 prompted Israel to cordon off the strip and eventually abandon its settlements there.” . . . The rocket attacks and bombings just “erupted” on their own, to hear the Times tell it, rather than being launched or perpetrated by Palestinians with violent, murderous intent. The Times doesn’t tell us about the victims of those rocket attacks and bombings. . . .
For whatever reason, [however], the Times has decided that this Gaza death is worth the time of ten journalists and three pages of the Sunday newspaper, while it didn’t deem the death of an Israeli American, Ari Fuld, [murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in September], fit to print at all.