2 Reader Reps Discuss Israel Coverage, Say Nothing New

When reader representatives talk about their papers’ Mideast coverage, I pay attention. They don’t touch on the Israel file often enough because it’s one of many issues they juggle.

Unfortunately, the public editors of the NY Times and LA Times weighed in on Naksa day reports without saying anything really new.

At the Gray Lady, Arthur Brisbane gives an overview of the complaints, along with a brief response from Foreign Editor Susan Chira. But Brisbane’s own thoughts?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in short, is the third rail of New York Times journalism. Touch it and burn.

Ms. Chira defends The Times’s journalism strenuously but is reconciled to the fact that the subject will be a constant source of protest from readers. “I have just come to the conclusion that we are always going to have really, really angry people,” she said.

And at the LA Times, Deirdre Edgar weighs in on Naksa talkbacks getting out of hand:

But a few hot-button topics seem to bring out the worst in online commenters immigration, LGBT issues, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Monday’s article about the protesters was no exception.

The equivalence Brisbane and Edgar make suggest an attitude among many journalists summed up as If both sides are unhappy, we must be doing something right. It’s the opium of the newsroom, from young writers at the bottom of the totem pole to the powers-that-be with titles like editor or publisher.

But as I’ve argued before, Complaints From Both Sides is No Excuse For Lousy Coverage.


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