New York Times Redefines the Word Journalist

NYT-redefines-01

After years of working for the newspaper of record in the US, you’d think veteran newsman David Carr would know the difference between a journalist and a propagandist.

Apparently not, judging by his impassioned defense of journalists “targeted” in last week’s conflict between Israel and Gaza.

Carr attended an event sponsored by the Committee to Protect Journalists last week, which put out a report claiming that a third of the journalists who were killed on the job last year were killed by government actions.

Carr then added a few more names to the list – Palestinians killed during the week of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

On the same day as the Waldorf event, three employees of news organizations were killed in Gaza by Israeli missiles. Rather than suggesting it was a mistake, or denying responsibility, an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, told The Associated Press, “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.”

So it has come to this: killing members of the news media can be justified by a phrase as amorphous as “relevance to terror activity.”

And who were these “members of the news media” Carr alludes to? “Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama worked as cameramen for Al-Aqsa TV, which is run by Hamas and whose reporting frequently reflects that affiliation,” Carr writes.

To refer to Al-Aqsa TV as a “news organization” that “frequently” reflects the position of Hamas is to dangerously blur the distinction between legitimate news and intentional disinformation.

Al-Aqsa TV is not a source of legitimate news. It belongs to Hamas and serves as its mouthpiece. Those who make up the “news team” are Hamas shills working to advance its terrorist agenda – which included more than a thousand attacks on Israeli civilians over little more than a week.

Of course, Carr wasn’t the only one to raise his voice against Israel’s actions. Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders objected as well.

Those organizations, of course, have a long history of knee-jerk condemnations of Israel. But one would have hoped Carr would know better. After so many years in the news business, you’d think he’d recognize the difference between a journalist and a phony trying to exploit what little credibility the field has left to advance a terrorist aim.

Of course, it’s possible Carr had no idea about the real aims and operations of Al-Aqsa TV. Either way, he’s contributing to turning the words “news media” into a meaningless and amorphous phrase.

Send your considered comments to the New York Times – letters@nytimes.com – Remember that letters for publication should be no longer than 150 words and must include the writer’s address and phone numbers.

UPDATE

The Jerusalem Post reports that the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a Brussels-based organization, is asking for an international inquiry into what it calls the deliberate targeting of journalists in Gaza.

The IFJ has previous form when it comes to Israel. In 2006, six Israeli reporters renounced their membership in response to the IFJ censuring Israeli strikes on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. According to Haaretz:

IFJ members in Israel demanded that the censure be lifted immediately and asked why the IFJ did not condemn Hezbollah for firing rockets at Israeli journalists.

If the IFJ considered Hezbollah’s propaganda organ to be a credible member of the community of journalists, it is hardly surprising that Hamas’s terror television is also treated with the same reverence.

Members of the IFJ should hang their heads in shame at the stance of their organization.


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