Early this month, like every year in the spring, the Celebrate Israel Parade took place along New York’s Fifth Avenue. As usual, it was exciting and colorful, with some 40,000 marchers expressing their support and love for Israel.
It is debatable whether the parade is of high news value. It takes place every year at the same location, and looks pretty much the same. The closure of Fifth Avenue is not unique to the pro-Israel event. A mere picture and a caption would suffice.
Be that as it may, Haaretz’s English edition opted to cover the parade (“Israel Parade: With Counterprotests and Estranged Jewish Organizations, Tens of Thousands ‘Celebrate Israel’ in New York“). But did Haaretz‘s coverage fairly and accurately convey the Big Apple’s show of big support for Israel?
Editors could have chosen from hundreds of photos of the parade, like the ones you get when you Google image search ‘Israel parade nyc 2019‘. But Haaretz‘s picture, showing scattered anti-Israel Neturei Karta group and their cohorts, and headline highlight the handful of counter-demonstrators.
So while 40,000 marched in support of Israel, Haaretz gave top visibility to the two dozen individuals who protested against them, despite the fact that even their presence was not a new development this year.
Haaretz‘s focus on a miniscule minority who showed up that day to express their anathema for the Jewish state may have met the personal needs of certain editors, or it may have reflected an unprofessional effort to garner more clicks. But it did not live up to journalistic responsibilities to deliver accurate news to readers.
Indeed, in 2002, after The New York Times published a front-page photograph featuring a small group of anti-Israel protestors at the same Manhattan parade, editors the next day issued the following Editor’s Note addressing the disproportionate focus on the peripheral demonstrators:
Editors’ Note: May 7, 2002
An article yesterday about a parade in Manhattan marking Israel’s 54th anniversary reported that 100,000 people had registered to march and hundreds of thousands more lined Fifth Avenue in support. The article also said that anti-Israel protesters numbered in the hundreds.
A front-page photograph, however, showed the parade in the background, with anti-Israel protesters prominent in the foreground, holding a placard that read, ”End Israeli Occupation of Palestine.” Inside the newspaper, a photo of a pro-Israel marcher was outweighed by a larger picture of protesters, one waving a sign that likened Zionism to Nazism.
Although the editors’ intent in each case was to note the presence of opposing sides, the effect was disproportionate. In fairness the total picture presentation should have better reflected The Times’s reporting on the scope of the event, including the disparity in the turnouts.
Haaretz’s English edition chose not to comment.
Translated from Hebrew by Shlomi Ben Meir.