New York Times Photo Outrage

UPDATESUCCESS – Photo Outrage: New York Times Admits It Got It Wrong

The New York Times‘ story supposedly on the fatal stabbing of Israeli soldier Eden Atias is a graphic illustration of all that is wrong with the newspaper’s Israel coverage.

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For starters, it is ten paragraphs down before we even learn the details of the horrific attack on Atias while he slept on a bus in Afula. The majority of the article is devoted, despite the headline “Attack on Israeli Worsens Tensions With Palestinians,” to issues surrounding settlements. But just to ensure against any notion that an Israeli could be the victim, the NY Times chose this photo to illustrate the story:

Not a photo of Eden Atias. Not a photo of his mother mourning the loss of a son.

We are treated instead to an image of the mother of the terrorist responsible for murdering Eden Atias, presumably mourning the fact that her son is now in Israeli custody.

In the eyes of the New York Times, Israeli victims of terror are mere footnotes to a one-sided narrative of Palestinian suffering and Israeli responsibility for that suffering.

While it was a Palestinian terrorist who carried out this knife attack, trust the New York Times to take its own knife and twist it in the back of the Jewish state.


After posting this HonestReporting article on her Facebook page, one reader received the following response from the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren:

Saw your post re the photo that ran with yesterday’s piece on the killing of the IDF soldier in Afula, and wanted to let you know that based on another reader’s comment, I spoke to the international photo editor about it. He and I agree it was not the best choice (I did not know about it until the other reader wrote me), and that for sure it should have at least been paired with a picture of the victim. Photo selection is among the trickiest parts of balancing coverage, and we have had many discussions about it related to this beat — clearly, still a work in progress.

While we appreciate Rudoren’s acknowledgement that the photo was problematic, it is disturbing to note that her solution would have been to pair the original photo with one of the Israeli victim of the attack. This represents a disgraceful and false moral equivalence. Why should the murderer of Eden Atias be given equal moral value to Atias himself? Is this what Jodi Rudoren means by “balancing coverage?”

If it is, then this is truly a sign that the New York Times has very little in the way of a moral compass.

Please write to Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor – – making it clear that the NY Times should publicly acknowledge that its choice of photo was wholly inappropriate and that drawing a moral equivalence between a terrorist and the victim is unacceptable.  

For more on Photo Bias, see our slide show below:

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