Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR’s former bureau chief in Jerusalem, admits she was “sad” to discover that a fake New York Times editorial distributed by anti-Israel activists wasn’t real.
The agitprop, which was handed out to passersby in Manhattan and promoted on social media, purported to be an apology for bias — pro-Israel bias, that is — and an announcement of changes to editorial policy. It included false statistics about recent New York Times coverage.
The hoax editorial did not appear on an authentic New York Times
website, and was published alongside several farcical advertisements
with anti-Israel messages. But despite these clear signs that the material was fake, a number of journalists fell for the hoax.
Matthew Bell, a reporter for PRI’s The World, shared the material on Twitter:
The NYTimes is announcing some editorial changes on the way it covers Israel-Palestine. https://t.co/yCOxSRuG3u
— Matthew Bell (@matthewjbell) February 2, 2016
So did The Forward‘s editor-in-chief Jane Eisner:
Our New Editorial Policy: Rethinking Israel-Palestine https://t.co/DFgIJTqloa More details would be helpful to know what this really means.
— Jane Eisner (@Jane_Eisner) February 2, 2016
Rick Dunham, a former reporter for Hearst and the Houston Chronicle and one-time president of the National Press Club, likewise credulously described the material as coming from the New York Times:
From @NYTimes: “Fairness has been absent in our paper’s coverage of ongoing conditions in Israel and Palestine.” https://t.co/IPFoDN4FJD
— Rick Dunham (@rickdunham) February 2, 2016
(Unlike Bell and Eisner, Dunham quickly updated his full Twitter following upon discovering his mistake.)
In response to the PRI reporter’s tweet, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro told her colleague that the material was “sadly” fake:
@matthewjbell fake, sadly.
— Lulu Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro) February 2, 2016
Garcia-Navarro, who currently covers Brazil for NPR, was for many years responsible for the network’s Israel coverage. From 2009 through 2012, she was NPR’s correspondent and bureau chief in Jerusalem.
She did not elaborate about why she was sad that that the hoax newspaper put together by radical anti-Israel activists was fake, but it appears clear that she would like to see the New York Times
, whose demonstrable anti-Israel
bias has been well documented, turn even further against the Jewish state.
The hoax editorial claims that “during the period of September-October 2015, eighteen headlines depicted Palestinians, while none depicted Israelis, as instigators of violence.” Never mind that this statistic is absolutely fake, and that the newspaper has in fact been criticized for headlines that failed to straightforwardly reference Palestinian violence (see
, e.g., “Jewish Man Dies as Rocks Pelt His Car in West Bank”). Does Garcia-Navarro really want to see New York Times
headlines cast innocent Israeli men, women, and children stabbed by Palestinian terrorists as “instigators” of violence?
According to the Associated Press, an overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed during the recent wave of violence were killed while attacking
Israelis, and the rest were clashing with Israeli soldiers:
The wave of violence has claimed the lives of 26 Israelis and one American student. At least 151 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 106 who were said by Israel to have been attackers. The rest have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.
So does Garcia-Navarro want the New York Times to claim the opposite is true? Would she have the newspaper tell readers that the murdered Israelis, mostly civilians, instigated the Palestinian attacks that took their lives? Did she think it was her role to describe more Israelis as “terrorists” while at NPR, as the hoax editorial suggested the New York Times should be doing?
More importantly, Garcia-Navarro’s tweet, in which she showed an ideological affinity with radical anti-Israel activists and falsifiers, contravenes NPR’s ethics handbook governing behavior on Twitter and similar sites. The network’s social media policy
includes a guideline stating, “Our standards of impartiality also apply to social media.” Journalists should “refrain from advocating for political or other polarizing issues online,” it says.
Will Garcia-Navarro be reprimanded for this violation? Now that her biases have been made explicit, will editors make sure she is no longer involved in any reporting relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict?