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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Real 'Times' Reporter on Gaza-Israel

As you may have noted....I've been very critical of the reporting on the current war by veteran NYT Jerusalem bureau hands Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kirshner, who have paraded their pro-Israel bias (carrying on a long Times tradition from that site) for years now.  No surprise.  But at least some form of balance has appeared in the past week with the arrival in Gaza of Anne Barnard from the paper's Beirut or Cairo bureau (forget which).  She has supplied much-needed up-close reporting on the massive civilian casualties there, even tweeting from the scene at great risk. Perhaps as the mother of two young children she can relate.

Her name seemed familiar to me, away from the Times, and sure enough we covered her often at Editor & Publisher when I was the editor from about 2002 to 2009.  We won many national awards for our coverage of Iraq and the media and she appeared in several of the articles as a reporter and then Baghdad bureau chief for the Boston Globe.  I even found one of mine where I quoted her at the end (it also appears in my book on that war, So Wrong for So Long), and it's quite relevant to the current tragedy--as it focuses on the U.S. assault on Fallujah and the massive civilian casualties there.  Oddly, U.S. reporters were more prone to criticize their own country in such occasions than they are today, re: Israel.

Here's the link to the full story, with Barnard segment here:
Anne Barnard of The Boston Globe noted that the military says it took every possible step to minimize civilian casualties, but "the methods used -- air strikes and artillery and tank fire from a distance -- make it difficult to know whether civilians are caught under fire." U.S. forces had urged Fallujans trapped in the city to stay in their homes, but "troops using thermal sights often assumed that if there was a 'hot spot' inside a house — indicating body heat — the people inside were insurgents." 

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