Starved of the Truth: New York Times Fails its Readers

Indeed, for the NY Times, the inference is that one of these Islamic Jihad members was arrested for political activities.

Unlike Rudoren, CNN was bothered to ask for comment from an Israeli official source:

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, told CNN that both men “were arrested for their direct involvement in promoting terror” and suggested that administrative detention constituted “the only available means to thwart the danger” the men posed to Israel.

  • Jodi Rudoren

    Nowhere does Rudoren’s report include any explanation as to why administrative detention is used or even the Palestinian terrorism or security offenses that might lead to its use.

Even this Al-Jazeera report included the following basic explanation as to why Israel might consider using administrative detention to curtail the freedoms of an Islamic Jihad member:

Israeli officials say they use administrative detention to hold Palestinians who pose an immediate threat to the country’s security. They say they keep the evidence secret from lawyers and the accused, because it would expose their intelligence-gathering networks if it was released.

  • Rudoren’s report simply refers to the Palestinian prisoner population in general, giving the false impression that all of these prisoners have been detained without charge. This is certainly not the case, the vast majority of Palestinians in prison are there having been duly convicted of offenses or are awaiting trial, having been charged.

Reuters, at least distinguishes between the general Palestinian prisoner population and the small proportion held under administrative detention:

Israeli authorities say some 1,550 prisoners are on hunger strike. Palestinian sources give varying figures, all over 1,700.

There are more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, most of them convicted of security-related offences. Some 320 of the prisoners are held in “administrative detention”, a measure imposed by the Israeli military and which it defends as a means to avoid exposing confidential sources in court.

Instead, the NY Times presents the hunger strike issue solely within the one-sided context of human rights with no regard for Israeli security concerns or the backgrounds of those on hunger strike.

If this is the sort of unbalanced reporting we can expect from Jodi Rudoren, then the New York Times can expect to be hearing a lot more from us and you in the future.

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Image: CC BY-SA, flickr/Alan Cleaver.