Los Angeles Times Maneuvers Out of a Correction

In his May 26 article entitled, “Maneuvering Over ‘Road Map’ for the Mideast,” Los Angeles Times columnist Ronald Brownstein erroneously reported:

In the last month, President Bush has displayed more commitment and creativity in advancing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians than at any point in his presidency. And that movement is kicking up swirls of political maneuvering, not only in Tel Aviv and the West Bank, but also in the United States.

All the political maneuvering on Israel’s part has taken place in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as the Los Angeles Times itself has made clear.

* The Los Angeles Times reported on May 18 that Abbas and Sharon met that day in Sharon’s office, which is in Jerusalem (“Suicide Blast on Bus After Summit Kills 7”).

* On May 23, the Los Angeles Times reported that Sharon agreed to take the “road map” to a Cabinet vote. The article’s dateline was Jerusalem, and Sharon made his announcement in Jerusalem.

* The paper’s story May 26 (“Israel OK’s U.S.-Backed Peace Plan”) covered the Israeli Cabinet’s approval of the “road map.” The Cabinet, of course, convenes in Jerusalem.

Moreover, if Brownstein is using “Tel Aviv” as shorthand for Israel’s capital, which is the implication here, this too is wrong. Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Israel’s capital.

The editors refused to print a correction, belatedly responding that the reference “political maneuvering in Tel Aviv” “was not meant to be a reference to the capital. It was meant as a metaphor; the U.S. Embassy is, of course, in Tel Aviv as are other embassies.”

This justification, of course, is nonsense. First, it seems to imply that “swirls of political maneuvering” involved the Americans in their embassy, as opposed to Israeli and Palestinian “maneuvering.” If that is the case, why mention the West Bank? What next? Is the Times going to go out on an even more tenuous limb and claim that the American embassy has established a satellite office in the West Bank?

Furthermore, if the “swirls of political maneuvering” was referring to American diplomacy (in the embassy), then why mention the United States? Clearly, that is redundant.

Regardless, as reported May 18, May 23, and May 26 in the Los Angeles Times, the political maneuvering occurred in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. And, it seems, there is a certain amount of factual maneuvering going down in the editorial offices of the Los Angeles Times.

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