Jodi Rudoren: It’s Not Just Tweets

Jodi Rudoren (formerly Wilgoren), a reporter for the New York Times who was recently named as the new Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the paper, was soon thereafter embarrassed by some incautious tweeting (see here and here for the details), which seemed to indicate a partisan leaning towards notorious anti-Israel figures like Ali Abunimah of electronicintifada and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss.

But Rudoren/Wilgoren’s adventures in social media are not a new phenomena – more than ten years ago she was using the social media of the day, a listserv, to make new contacts and find subjects to interview for what were apparently preconceived stories in the New York Times about “Muslims on college campuses,” and after the 9/11 terror attacks, regarding FBI interviews of Muslims in America.

While the use of listservs by reporters was not that unusual, the way Wilgoren did so, and the reactions she got, were telling. Below are excerpts from some of this correspondence. Note that one of the participants, apparently from the radical MSA (Muslim Students Association) in Chicago, assures other readers, based on previous experience, that:

She is good; did an article on Muslims on college campuses a while ago, and a nice person.

And just as with her tweets, Wilgoren’s message on the Muslim listserv is written as if she was desperate to be considered a sympathizer, rather than an objective journalist who might take an adversarial position. Thus, she opens with “Assalam Aleikum,” closes with “In peace,” and includes not just her e-mail address and her office telephone number, but also her cell number.

Apparently reassured by the MSA member’s endorsement of Wilgoren, at least one person replied to her inquiries, one Mazin Qumsiyeh. Not surprisingly, just as with Abunimah and Weiss, Qumisyeh is yet another extreme anti-Israel activist (as his website makes abundantly clear), who calls Israel an apartheid state and denies its right to exist. At the time of his message Qumsiyeh was a Yale professor, but he moved back to the West Bank after failing to receive tenure.

It is therefore clear that Jodi Wilgoren/Rudoren’s recent tweets are no aberration – more than 10 years ago she was already failing to display the kind of journalistic objectivity that even a cub reporter would know was a basic requirement of her profession.

Here are more complete excerpts from the listserv:

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