The six golden rules when writing a New York Times editorial

July 19, 2005

The six golden points that must be included in a New York Times editorial on the Mideast:

1. Whatever The Problem, Blame Israel
2. Ignore Palestinian Flouting of the Road Map
3. Promote the Myth of Palestinian “Moderation”
4. White-Wash Terror Groups
5. Palestinian Failures Are Caused By Israel
6. The U.S. Must Pressure Israel

[Full details below in the “Full Articles” section]

 

CONTENTS

1. “The Sulzberger Indifference Template” (Mediacrity weblog, July 15, 2005)
2. “Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists” (Dallas News, Editorial, July 15, 2005)
3. “Weak Brits, Tough French” (The New York Sun, July 12, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS: “THE SULZBERGER PROBLEM”

In response to the latest New York Times editorial on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza (which is very similar to almost all their other editorials on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in that whatever the situation, the Times says Israel is to blame), Mediacrity, a weblog written anonymously by a senior American journalist, has produced a “Sulzberger Indifference Template.” I attach it below.

The New York Times’ editorial page is the most influential in the world and their consistent failure to mention the corruption and encouragement to violence and anti-Semitism by the Palestinian Authority, or the many positive humanitarian and economic policies by Israel, is a major problem for the future resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. Opinion-makers the world over continue to be misinformed of the actualities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict thanks in part to often manipulative reporting and editorials by the New York Times.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN’S “JEWISH FASCISM”

It is no coincidence, for example, that New York Times columns, such as the one from Gaza last week by Thomas Friedman conjuring up the notion that “Jewish Fascism” exists in Israel, are widely and favorably circulated in the Arab world. For example, Friedman’s piece is presently displayed prominently and favorably on the official media website of the PLO.

I have criticized the publishers of the New York Times, the Sulzberger family, before on this list. Some view the Sulzbergers’ disdain for the state of Israel as a result of the fact that even after their conversion from Judaism to Christianity, many in New York and Washington WASP society continued to regard them as Jews. The Sulzbergers have therefore continued to bend over backwards to distance themselves from Jewish concerns now, as they did during the Holocaust.

For more of my writings on the New York Times, see for example,
www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp.

CALLING THEM WHAT THEY ARE: TERRORISTS

The Dallas News in their editorial of July 15, 2005 (attached below) says terrorists must be called terrorists, whether in New York, London, Israel or Iraq. Those who murder children or murder Shia Moslems at prayer in mosques in bomb attacks in Iraq are terrorists. The paper says “words have meanings” and too many media organizations such as Reuters and the BBC are “too timid, sensitive or ‘open-minded’” to call them terrorists.

THE BBC GIVES A RARE VOICE TO ISRAELI CIVILIANS

Following articles by myself and others at the beginning of last week criticizing the BBC, the BBC while still generally broadcasting reports unfair to Israel has also done one or two more positive things. See, for example, “How Israelis live with bombers” -- news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4679373.stm

“AS THE BRITISH BAN FOX HUNTING, THE FRENCH BAN HIJABS”

Daniel Pipes, in the final article attached below, says that in the war against terrorism, contrary to the perception of many, it is the British who are weak and the French who are tough. Whilst Britain may be heavily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan they have failed much closer to home in shutting down the support mechanisms that make terrorism possible.

As journalist Mathew Kalman wrote in yesterday’s (London) Daily Mail in an article titled “Declare war on Economic Jihad”: “There are many bogus charities with links to terrorist groups still operating in Britain.” For example, Interpal, a front for funding Hamas has been banned in the US, Australia and Canada but continues to operate in Britain.

I attach three articles with summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

THE SULZBERGER INDIFFERENCE TEMPLATE

“The Sulzberger Indifference Template” (Mediacrity (weblog), July 15, 2005)

The New York Times editorial today on the Gaza disengagement, “Aimless in Gaza,” follows what I would describe as the “Sulzberger Indifference Template” for editorials on Israel. The godfather of this Template was Arthur Hayes Sulzberger, publisher of the Times from 1935 to 1961 and co-founder of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. He is grandfather of the current publisher.

When you read Times Middle East editorials, remember that the newspaper is an ancestral property of the Sulzberger family, whose historic indifference to Israel and Jewish concerns has been well documented. The Times’ disgraceful indifference to the Holocaust was recently recounted in a book, and Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s indifference to Israel has resonated through generations of Times editorial writers...

... Over all, a typical Times editorial - condescending, detached from reality, one-sided. The same mentality that kept Auschwitz off the front pages is continuing to burn bright on 43rd Street.

(The full six points of the template, which are worth reading for those who have the time, are attached below in the “Full Articles” section.)

 

CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE: THOSE WHO MURDER IRAQI CIVILIANS ARE TERRORISTS

“Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists” (Dallas News, Editorial, July 15, 2005)

... Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word “insurgent” on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as “insurgents.”

... People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists. Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists. Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists. IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all... To call them “insurgents” insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

 

WEAK BRITS, TOUGH FRENCH

“Weak Brits, Tough French” (By Daniel Pipes, The New York Sun, July 12, 2005)

Thanks to the war in Iraq, much of the world sees the British government as resolute and tough and the French one as appeasing and weak. But in another war, the one against terrorism and radical Islam, the reverse is true: France is the most stalwart nation in the West, even more so than America, while Britain is the most hapless.

British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London’s refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for “protecting killers.” One American security group has called for Britain to be listed as a terrorism-sponsoring state.

... More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts “as if they were your own service.” The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie “one of the best in the world.” The British may have a “special relationship” with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he “would least like to be held under” the French system.

... The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their historic culture. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.

 



FULL ARTICLES

THE SULZBERGER INDIFFERENCE TEMPLATE

The Sulzberger Indifference Template
Mediacrity weblog
July 15, 2005

The New York Times editorial today on the Gaza disengagement, “Aimless in Gaza,” follows what I would describe as the “Sulzberger Indifference Template” for editorials on Israel. The godfather of this Template was Arthur Hayes Sulzberger, publisher of the Times from 1935 to 1961 and co-founder of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. He is grandfather of the current publisher.

When you read Times Middle East editorials, remember that the newspaper is an ancestral property of the Sulzberger family, whose historic indifference to Israel and Jewish concerns has been well documented. The Times’ disgraceful indifference to the Holocaust was recently recounted in a book, and Arthur Hays Sulzberger’s indifference to Israel has resonated through generations of Times editorial writers.

So on to today’s manifestation of the Sulzberger Indifference Template:

1. WHATEVER THE PROBLEM, BLAME ISRAEL. This is the cornerstone of the template. These editorials always maintain a pretense of even-handedness (“the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders”), but the message of the editorials is almost invariably that Israel gets the lion’s share of the blame for whatever happens to be going awry at any particular point in time (“Sadly, most of the blame for the current paralysis lies with Mr. Sharon”).

2. IGNORE PALESTINIAN FLOUTING OF THE ROAD MAP. One essential feature of both the Times’ editorial and news coverage (most recently here* -- see item below this one -- TG) has been to ignore the Palestinian failure to act against terror groups, as required by the first phase of the Road Map for Peace.

3. PROMOTE THE MYTH OF PALESTINIAN “MODERATION.” Having ignored Palestinian Authority inaction, failures, incitement and ties to terror groups, the Times goes on to chide Israel for failing to support the “moderate” Palestinian Authority and its “moderate” chairman. (“Demonstrating to the Palestinians that they haven’t really won anything is far, far less important to Israel’s well-being than strengthening the authority and credibility of moderate Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas.”)

4. WHITE-WASH TERROR GROUPS. In accordance with its view that the Palestinians don’t have an obligation to confront terror groups as required by the road map, the Times believes that these groups are “opposition groups” that do all sorts of good stuff and need to only say, “We won’t do it no more.” (Mohammed Abbas “faces a rapidly strengthening opposition movement, Hamas, which is building popular support through its extensive network of social welfare programs while refusing to follow Mr. Abbas’s lead in renouncing terrorism.”) Not disarming, not disbanding, “renouncing” is good enough for the Times.

5. PALESTINIAN FAILURES ARE CAUSED BY ISRAEL. The Times excuses Palestinian inaction in Gaza thusly: “With Israel taking a chilly ‘that’s for you to work out’ approach to the logistics of the transfer, Mr. Abbas has begun responding in similar tones.”

6. THE U.S. MUST PRESSURE ISRAEL. The Times, like a stern and disapproving mother, knows what is in Israel’s best interests -- which is, of course, to “do more” for the Palestinians. That is always couched in terms of Israeli leaders acting against the best interests of its own people --and, of course, the world at large. Thus, after the “similar tones” baloney above, the Times continues: “That is a luxury neither side can afford, and the rest of the world can’t either. Ms. Rice and Mr. Wolfensohn need to spend the next month getting the two sides working together constructively on a smooth transfer that builds a basis for a wider peace.”

Over all, a typical Times editorial--condescending, detached from reality, one-sided. The same mentality that kept Auschwitz off the front pages is continuing to burn bright on 43rd Street.

 

* Roadmap Amnesia Watch
Mediacrity weblog
July 5, 2005

From the New York Times article yesterday on Hamas being invited to join a “unity government”: “While Mr. Abbas seeks to co-opt Hamas and other armed factions, Israel says he should be confronting the groups.”

New York Times policy (in addition to ripping off blogs) is to treat the Road Map for Peace as a series of “Israeli demands” instead of what they are, which are commitments by the Palestinian Authority. The first step of the Road Map states as follows:

“Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.”

 

CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE: THOSE WHO MURDER IRAQI CIVILIANS ARE TERRORISTS

Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists
Dallas News
Editorial
July 15, 2005

www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/071505dnediiraqkids.105158b.html

Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are “resolve” and “sacrifice,” especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word “insurgent” on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as “insurgents.”

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or “open minded,” we’ve resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them “insurgents” insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

 

WEAK BRITS, TOUGH FRENCH

Weak Brits, Tough French
By Daniel Pipes
The New York Sun
July 12, 2005

Thanks to the war in Iraq, much of the world sees the British government as resolute and tough and the French one as appeasing and weak. But in another war, the one against terrorism and radical Islam, the reverse is true: France is the most stalwart nation in the West, even more so than America, while Britain is the most hapless.

British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London’s refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for “protecting killers.” One American security group has called for Britain to be listed as a terrorism-sponsoring state.

Counterterrorism specialists disdain the British. Roger Cressey calls London “easily the most important jihadist hub in Western Europe.” Steven Simon dismisses the British capital as “the Star Wars bar scene” of Islamic radicals. More brutally, an intelligence official said of last week’s attacks: “The terrorists have come home. It is payback time for an irresponsible policy.”

While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts a top-secret counterterrorism center, code-named Alliance Base, the existence of which was recently reported by the Washington Post. At Alliance Base, six major Western governments have since 2002 shared intelligence and run counterterrorism operations - the latter makes the operation unique.

More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts “as if they were your own service.” The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie “one of the best in the world.” The British may have a “special relationship” with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he “would least like to be held under” the French system.

The myriad French-British differences in treatment of radical Islam can be summarized by the example of what Muslim girls may wear to state-funded schools.

Denbigh High School in Luton, 30 miles northwest of London, has a student population that is about 80% Muslim. Years ago, it accommodated the sartorial needs of their faith and heritage, including a female student uniform made up of the Pakistani shalwar kameez trousers, a jerkin top, and hijab head covering. But when a teenager of Bangladeshi origins, Shabina Begum, insisted in 2004 on wearing a jilbab, which covers the entire body except for the face and hands, Denbigh administrators said no.

The dispute ended up in litigation and the Court of Appeal ultimately decided in Ms. Begum’s favor. As a result, by law British schools must now accept the jilbab. Not only that, but Prime Minister Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth, was Ms. Begum’s lawyer at the appellate level. Ms. Booth called the ruling “a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry.”

By contrast, also in 2004, the French government outlawed the hijab, the Muslim headscarf, from public educational institutions, disregarding ferocious opposition both within France and among Islamists worldwide. In Tehran, protesters shouted “Death to France!” and “Death to Chirac the Zionist!” The Palestinian Authority mufti, Ikrima Sa’id Sabri, declared, “French laws banning the hijab constitute a war against Islam as a religion.” The Saudi grand mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, called them a human rights infringement. When the “Islamic Army in Iraq” kidnapped two French journalists, it threatened their execution unless the hijab ban was revoked. Paris stood firm.

What lies behind these contrary responses? The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their historic culture. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.