Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hosting " Mideast Media Sampler 08/31/2011" on The Lede & Derfner

The Lede's defense of Larry

Along with Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman, the New York Times has another writer, Robert Mackey who is reliably anti-Israel. It's little surprise, then, that Mackey has weighed in on the recent firing of Larry Derfner by the Jerusalem Post with Israeli Columnist Is Fired for Writing That Palestinian Terrorism Is ‘Justified’. Anyone familiar with Mackey's work would know that he would find plenty of support for Derfner from critics of Israel and not consider anything other than what those critics would say. One would also expect plenty of misinformation.

When he posted that apology last Friday, Mr. Derfner also removed the offending post from “Israel Reconsidered,” the private blog he shares with another Israeli journalist. Before he could delete it though, another blogger, who agreed with the argument, had made a copy of the complete text of Mr. Derfner’s original post, “The Awful, Necessary Truth About Palestinian Terrorism.”

Actually he shares Israel Reconsidered with Richard Silverstein, a nasty American anti-Israel blogger. No one familiar with Silverstein would consider him a journalist. Silverstein also developed a habit of going to news outlets and complaining that other bloggers were mean to him. The New York Times apparently thought that was news.

Towards the end Mackey writes:

In a defense of Mr. Derfner, Dimi Reider, the other contributor to the blog “Israel Reconsidered,” argued that The Jerusalem Post — which lurched from the far-left to the far-right of Israel’s political spectrum in 1990, after it was purchased by the press baron Conrad Black — allows its conservative columnists the freedom to state extreme views without fear of reprimand.

The impression that Mackey gives (and Reider's subsequent comments give) is that the Jerusalem Post is a narrow "right wing" rag. Truth is if you check out the columnist page, you see prominent left wingers and critics of Israel such as David Newman, Gershon Baskin and Ray Hanania.

The suggestion that the Post went from "far left" to "far right" and never changed in 1990 is also misleading, but it's a mistake that the New York Times had made previously. In 1996, the papers Serge Schmemann reported (erroneously):

Even the conservative Jerusalem Post, once a staunch supporter of Mr. Netanyahu, now finds fault with him over the settlement issue for giving the Palestinian Authority ''the ammunition it needs'' to rally the world against Israel.

After Netanyahu was elected, David Bar Ilan left the Jerusalem Post to serve as Netanyahu's spokesman and was succeeded as editor by Jeff Barak. Barak was decided more liberal than Bar Ilan, which explained the switch in the paper's tone.

Still I wonder, would Mackey consider Ha'aretz "far left?" The New York Times?


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