New York Times Reporting Regresses Into Comic Book Caricatures

It is well known that the New York Times has been increasingly embracing  advocacy journalism.  Contrary to its vaunted “editorial standards,” the new reporting eschews “impartiality” and  delivery of “unvarnished truth” in favor of pushing a more revolutionary narrative.

Part of this new “woke” narrative is the promotion of the antisemitic BDS movement and its goal of eliminating the Jewish state.  Thus, the Times is repeatedly turning to the cartoonish Peter Beinart (see him go haywire when commentator Rich Lowry criticizes his defense of terrorists) to present his “as a Jew” advocacy for dissolving the Jewish state.  After Beinart penned an uninformed and dishonest essay in Jewish Currents advocating this position, the New York Times lost no time in inviting him to repeat the same deceptive arguments in a column, and then again in a podcast.  After all, he was endorsing what the newspaper’s reporters endeavor to convey on a daily basis, but have hitherto avoided explicitly spelling out — namely, that Jews are undeserving of, and have no right to, self-determination in their ancestral homeland. 

To that end, Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger and his cohorts substitute crude comic book-like portrayals of virtuous Palestinian superheroes vs. sinful Israeli antiheroes, in lieu of old-fashioned news gathering.  It seems to be what Halbfinger does best.  And the fact that the he appears woefully ignorant of both ancient and recent history just emphasizes the cartoonish nature of his depictions.  

Take, for example, the recent article entitled “For Palestinian Police, Much to Lose if Israel Annexes West Bank Land.”  The point of the article is obvious:  Halbfinger et al. are attempting to poison readers against the possibility that Israel would consider annexing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. And while this might have previously been the topic of intense debate on the pages of the Times, the desired conclusion is now heavy-handedly imposed on readers in a simplistic tale of heroes and villains.  Thus, there is no mention of the offers of statehood that have been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinians. Rather than affording readers with a variety of perspectives on the issue, the reporters present a cardboard character portrayal of Palestinian police as noble souls who risk their lives to protect Jews, only to be mocked and “scorned” by their own people as “collaborators” while treated with “highhandedness and disdain” by their Israeli overlords for whom they perform all the “dirty work.” According to the melodramatic account that substitutes for news, the possible annexation of settlements would necessarily spell the total “collapse” of the “incipient [Palestinian] state, and “dash the dreams” of Palestinians.  There is neither examination nor interviews with political experts about whether, why or how extending Jewish sovereignty to settlements in the West Bank would end the notion of a Palestinian state.  It is presented as a given, not up for discussion or debate.

Instead, Palestinian police relay anecdotes about hurriedly complying with Israeli requests for assistance, even while Israeli officers  callously hamper their ability to respond to urgent requests for help by Arabs; of Israeli officers who refuse them entry to areas where they are needed; of Israeli perpetrators who are freed, unprosecuted for crimes against Arabs; and of a Palestinian police officer who risked his own life to protect an Israeli from an angry mob of Palestinians, only to be shot at and wounded by an Israeli afterwards. 

Missing from this tale of good guys vs. bad guys is anything that might detract from the hero and villain roles assigned by the reporters.  Thus, readers are not told that members of the PA police force have been responsible for deadly attacks on Israelis.  Among those who lost their lives at the hands of Palestinian police were Ben-Yosef Livnat (nephew of Israeli politician Limor Livnat) who was killed by a PA police officer shooting at a group of Jewish worshippers near Joseph’s Tomb; Sgt. Ihab Khatib, an Arab-Druze non-commissioned military officer who was stabbed to death by a senior Palestinian police officer; Ayala Levy, Smadar Levy, Yaniv Levy and Lydia Marko who were killed when two Palestinian police officers fired at Israeli pedestrians near a crowded bus stop in Hadera; Yossi Tabaja, an Israeli border police officer was shot and killed by his Palestinian colleague from the PA police force while they were on a joint security patrol; Avraham Balhasan, Rose Boneh, Anya Bonder, Anat Darom, Viorel Octavian Florescu, Natalia Gamril, Yechezkel Isser Goldberg, Baruch Hondiashvili, Dana Itach, Mehbere Kifile, and Eli Zfira, were killed on a Jerusalem bus blown up by a PA police officer.  It doesn’t fit the narrative. 

New York Times reporters apparently have very low regard for their readers’ intellect, perhaps fearing they might not draw the desired conclusions if given the “unvarnished truth” and presented with a more complex picture of the situation. And so, the newspaper has done away with inconvenient editorial standards that allow readers the opportunity to deliberate, weigh different perspectives and draw their own conclusions.  Instead, the New York Times offers their readers nothing more intellectually taxing than a comic book tale.