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Bias-as-a-Business-Strategy Won’t Rescue the New York Times

A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

A long front-page article in the New York Times faults Israel for killing journalists in Gaza, claiming that has inhibited the world from seeing what is happening there. The article, though, fails to fault Hamas for its role in impeding journalism. And it also strangely omits the evidence that at least some of the Gazans portraying themselves as journalists are also members of terrorist organizations.

The Times article carries the online headline, “The War the World Can’t See.” A subheadline claims that because of the challenges faced by local journalists, “From outside Gaza, the scale of death and destruction is impossible to grasp.”

That claim of invisibility may seem like a stretch to Times readers who have been following the Times’s own endless coverage. The Times has featured satellite images of destroyed Gaza buildings, interviews with doctors describing Civil War-style carnage at the hospitals that shelter Hamas tunnels the doctors claim to be unaware of, interviews with United Nations officials describing thirst and hunger (while the same officials studiously downplay discussion of the involvement of UN workers in the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel. Somehow the protesters clogging Ivy League campuses and European cities have managed to get word of the Gazan suffering notwithstanding the Times’ worries about “communications blackouts.”

The Times goes on to cast blame for the supposed dearth of journalistic exploration of Gazan suffering. The culprit is—you guessed it—Israel. “At least 76 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas led an attack on Israel and Israel responded by launching an all-out war,” the Times says. “Nearly all the journalists who have died in Gaza since Oct. 7 were killed by Israeli airstrikes, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 38 of them at home, in their cars or alongside family members. That has led many Palestinians to accuse Israel of targeting journalists, though CPJ has not echoed that allegation.” Many Palestinians have all sorts of sinister and conspiratorial accusations against Israel; it’s the Times‘s job to debunk them or at least to fact-check them thoroughly, rather than just providing a megaphone to them.

The Times article quotes “Khawla al-Khalidi, 34, a Gazan TV journalist for Al Arabiya, a well-known regional Arabic-language TV channel,” who says, “Israel is afraid of the Palestinian narrative and of Palestinian journalists…They’re trying to silence us by cutting the networks.”

Not mentioned at all in the Times article is the news that, according to the Israel Defense Forces, two of the “journalists” listed as Gaza casualties, Hamza al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, “were members of Gaza-based terrorist organizations.” The IDF said, “Documents found by our troops in Gaza revealed Thuria’s role as Squad Deputy Commander in Hamas’ Gaza City Brigade, as well as Al-Dahdouh’s roles in the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization’s electronic engineering unit and previously as a deputy commander in IJ’s Zeitun Battalion.”

The IDF said the two were targeted while operating a drone, “posing a threat to our soldiers.” That would seem like a relevant fact to include in a Times article that carries accusations of Israel trying to squelch the Palestinian narrative by killing journalists.

The Times article also entirely excludes the fact that Hamas restricts, with threat of violence, the activities of journalists in areas that it controls. The Times has let this slip at least once—”Hamas restricts journalists in Gaza,” the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau chief, acknowledged back in November, but that concession is somehow missing from this latest Times article, which is all about restrictions on journalism in Gaza.

The Times article also carries, as one of three bylines, that of Abu Bakr Bashir. A web page for the “refugee journalism project” reports that Bashir “fled” Gaza in 2019 “when Hamas, the militant Islamic nationalist group that governs the territory, tried to control his reporting.”

Why does the Times article have such a slant? One might chalk it up to anti-Israel bias by the newspaper’s management, or to the particular editors and reporters who handled this piece. Certainly possible. But then what explains the willingness of the Times also to publish articles such as one about “How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7” or others on the extensive nature of the Hamas tunnel network underneath Gaza?

One explanation that fits the pattern is a business-and-technology driven shift by the Times to emphasize headlines and stories that will be clicked on and shared socially by partisans of both sides in the Israel-Hamas war. Rather than trying to make each individual story balanced, the Times is publishing a variety of stories that it can claim together mount up to a nuanced and accurate portrayal of the reality. That seems to me like a dodge, because a lot of readers don’t read the full Times report, they just read a single story at a time when the story is shared socially.

It’s one thing to take such an approach on the opinion pages, where the Times offers Bret Stephens columns to be read and shared by Israel-lovers alongside Nicholas Kristof columns to be read and shared by Israel-haters. What’s new in the Israel-Gaza war is that the Times is taking a similar approach in the news articles, which, unlike the opinion columns, used to aspire, at least ostensibly, to a sort of above-the-fray balance.

It’s not clear the new Times strategy is a business success. The company’s stock price is down more than 8 percent year to date as of February 8, and plunged this week when the company released its fourth quarter results. The overall stock market, meanwhile, is up. But the Times management compares itself to places such as the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Sports Illustrated, which appear to be doing even worse, business-wise. So keep an eye out for more of the “bias-as-a-business strategy” approach.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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