New York Times’ Weak Response to ‘Stone Thrower’ Article

stone-throwing-NYTA column by the Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan briefly addresses the controversy surrounding last week’s article by Jodi Rudoren about Palestinian stone throwers. HonestReporting took issue with the original article, noting that Rudoren failed to convey the fact that throwing rocks is an act of violence.

Sullivan claimed there were many complaints about the article from both sides:

The Times’s associate managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, has responded to the complaints, disagreeing with those who believed the article was biased or that it glamorized the stone-throwers. “We described both the destructive impact on the teenagers themselves and the sometimes deadly consequences for others,” he said, also noting that the article was just one piece of continuing coverage of the region. “It was not meant to address every related issue,” he continued. “But I think it provided a thoughtful, memorable and detailed look that many readers found enlightening.”

In truth, the stone throwers come across as the heroes of the piece, and any “destructive impact” throwing stones has had on their lives is secondary to the high status they enjoy in Palestinian society.

And the “deadly consequences for others” is merely alluded to one time in the context of a quote by an Israeli who lives near the Palestinian area featured in the article.

Corbett’s response fails to address any of the troubling issues in the article. But his reference to the continuing coverage of the issue is a hopeful sign. We look forward to the upcoming New York Times report on the victims of Palestinian stone throwers.