New York Times Skews Sharon’s Temple Mount Visit

In an October 24, 2000 article, the Associated Press (in contrast to most other news organizations) described Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in a balanced way:

Many Palestinians say Sharon’s Sept. 28 visit to a disputed holy shrine in Jerusalem was the spark for the violence, though Israeli authorities say the Palestinians used the controversy as a pretext for launching an uprising.

Contrast this careful, balanced approach to the consistently one-sided presentation of the NY Times, whose recent articles contain misleading references such as, “Muslim compound,” “Muslim shrines” or “sacred plaza around Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City” to describe where Sharon visited. Omitted is any mention of the Temple Mount or its Jewish connection, thereby misleading readers to assume that Sharon had intruded upon a site holy solely to Muslims.

The October 23, 2000 NY Times article, “Barak Seeks To Heal Rift With Inquiry and New Aid” by Joel Greenberg, includes:

Although the Israeli Arab protests were touched off, like the Palestinian protests, by a visit to Muslim shrines in Jerusalem by the rightist opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, the unrest was widely seen as…

The October 23, 2000 NY Times article, “Barak Formally Declares Timeout in the Peace Effort” by Deborah Sontag, contains the following one-sided, misleading sentence:

Mr. Sharon is reviled in the Arab world, which holds him responsible for provoking the present violence by a heavily guarded, politicized visit to the Muslim compound in the heart of the Old City.

Greenberg again uses one-sided language in an October 24 article, “Barak and Sharon Open Talks on Forming a Coalition”:

Palestinians assert that Mr. Sharon’s visit to the sacred plaza around Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City last month, with a thousand armed policemen, set off the current wave of protests.

It is the Israeli perspective that Sharon’s visit was not the cause of the violence, but was merely a pretext used by the Palestinians to launch violent riots. By presenting only the Arab perspective, the Times journalists are obviously taking sides.

Editors should ensure that fair language is used, such as:  “Palestinians say Sharon’s visit to what the Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Haram al Sharif has sparked violence, while Israel says Palestinians have siezed a pretext to launch an uprising.”

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