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Media Analyses





NY Times Double Standard Strikes Again


The New York Times has done it again. While it jumps to issue blanket, front page condemnations and even indictments of Israeli society as "racist" and "Arab hating" whenever the opportunity arises, such sweeping moral conclusions seem to be absent when the shoe is on the other foot.

So when Israelis killed a Palestinian teen, Times reporter Steven Erlanger sought out Israeli "experts" who would dutifully (and falsely) agree that Israeli youth "hate Arabs" and that Israeli society is responsible for the disgraceful actions of a few: "moral blindness has afflicted Israelis in general, we are all partners in this, accomplices in complacency, if not in deed."

The murder of the Palestinian teen was apparently retaliation of sorts for the murder days before of three Israeli teens by Palestinian terrorists. There was no hint in the Times coverage of the murdered Israeli teens that perhaps pervasive Palestinian hate-speech and genocidal incitement against Jews might have played some part. Unlike with Israel, there was no indictment of Palestinian society, and no broader conclusions about its moral corruption were reached.

And it's not just Palestinians who get a pass in this regard. For example, the Times has been reporting about corrections officers at Rikers Island prison in New York subjecting inmates to brutal mistreatment, including savage beatings, often requiring hospitalization.

But the articles feature no deeper conclusions about how this brutality might reflect on American society as a whole. There were absolutely no suggestions that the conduct of the Rikers officials signaled the moral decay of American society. There were no "experts" quoted as saying that we are all responsible. Had the Times desired, would it really have been that hard to corral "experts" at City College, or Columbia or the New School, who would be eager to offer up such sweeping moral indictments?

Such inappropriate moral finger wagging seems reserved for Israel and Israelis.

As previously noted, the Times covered this story on July 9 (not on the front page, but on page 21), and now the Times has published an even more extensive story, this time on the front page of the New York edition.

And the details are once again horrifying:

Brutal attacks by correction officers on inmates — particularly those with mental health issues — are common occurrences inside Rikers, the country's second-largest jail, a four-month investigation by The New York Times found...

[A secret report] helps lay bare the culture of brutality on the island and makes clear that it is inmates with mental illnesses who absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence.

The study, which the health department refused to release under the state's Freedom of Information Law, found that over an 11-month period last year, 129 inmates suffered "serious injuries" — ones beyond the capacity of doctors at the jail's clinics to treat — in altercations with correction department staff members.

The report cataloged in exacting detail the severity of injuries suffered by inmates: fractures, wounds requiring stitches, head injuries and the like...

What emerges is a damning portrait of guards on Rikers Island, who are poorly equipped to deal with mental illness and instead repeatedly respond with overwhelming force to even minor provocations.

Of course, one shudders to imagine how this story would be reported were Rikers Island in Israel, the guards Israelis and the prisoners Arabs.

Once again at the New York Times the anti-Israel double standard determines all.


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