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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'NYT' Reporter Rudoren Under Microscope

NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan, whose blog post yesterday responded to my charges about the paper's front-page caption on photo of Gaza school kids, returns today with a look at the uproar over the paper's Jersualem chief and her "problematic" tweets and Facebook posts as she covered the recent war from Gaza.
More recently, during the Gaza conflict, she wrote one Facebook post in which she described Palestinians as “ho-hum” about the death of loved ones, wrote of their “limited lives” and, in another, said she shed her first tears in Gaza over a letter from an Israeli family. The comments came off as insensitive and the reaction was sharp, not only from media pundits, but also from dismayed readers.
Philip Weiss, the anti-Zionist Jewish-American journalist who writes about the Middle East for Mondoweiss, his Web site, wrote “she seems culturally bound inside the Israeli experience.”  Ms. Rudoren regrets some of the language she used, particularly the expression “ho-hum.”
Rudoren had also claimed that in the recent air war "it seems like Israelis are almost more traumatized" than the Gazans. 

The Times is so concerned about all this they have assigned an editor to oversee her use of social networking.  However, is that the end of the story?  Much of the criticism of Rudoren was based on whether she was, in fact, too biased to report on Palestinian-Israeli issues during and after the recent conflict.   Sullivan gives her a pass on this--for now--noting she has done some fine reporting in dangerous conditions.   I have a feeling this will not convince the critics. (Philip Weiss responds here.   And Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada strongly objects here. )   Imagine if the Times' Jersualem chief was Palestinian and wrote that "ho-hum" and "limited lives" and only-shed-a-tear Facebook post.

Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books (see right rail of this blog).  His latest, on the Obama-Romney battle, is "Tricks, Lies, and Videotape.

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