Starved of the Truth: New York Times Fails its Readers

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Referring to hunger striking Palestinian prisoners as the “newest heroes of the Palestinian cause”, recently-arrived Israel correspondent for the New York Times, Jodi Rudoren makes an unpleasant story even worse in the eyes of the reader.

The job of a journalist is to ask questions. Rudoren, however, does not even bother to ask why these “heroes” might be under lock and key.

Instead, in an era where the language of human rights seemingly trumps all other considerations, Rudoren plays to the Palestinian narrative of Israel as a serial abuser of human rights.

Israel is sometimes forced by the abnormal threats it faces, to take measures that clash with the country’s liberal ethos. The use of administrative detention, whereby Palestinians deemed an immediate security threat can be imprisoned without charge, has been acknowledged by Israeli officials as virtually impossible to present in positive terms, particularly to a Western audience that values, like Israelis, the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.

Here’s how Jody Rudoren and the New York Times starved their readers of any balance in the story of the Palestinian hunger strikers  by omitting any Israeli explanation for the use of administrative detention or the potential backgrounds of those detainees.

VIDEO: Click here to see HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl commenting on this story.

Focusing on two prisoners in administrative detention currently on hunger strike, she refers to them as “members of Islamic Jihad, a radical and militant Palestinian faction.”

As far as Rudoren is concerned, membership of Islamic Jihad might as well be criminal in the same way as membership of a scout club or a political party. Islamic Jihad, however, does not support charitable causes or compete for the votes of the Palestinian people. Its entire raison d’etre is to carry out terrorism against Israelis with the backing of its Iranian funders.

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