Friday, November 20, 2009

New York Times' Frank Rich on why he won't give the Palestinians a fair shake in print: "I'm Jewish"

(U.S. Media and Israel) -- I long regarded Frank Rich a champion, whose fearless exposures of moral hypocrisy in our culture and the media rang true. My view changed after this New York Times columnist gave a talk at Cornell University. Mr. Rich was asked about our media’s reporting in the Middle East and their unwavering presentation of Israel-as-victim. How is it that Americans are so poorly informed that a large fraction believes that the Palestinians are the illegal settlers in the Occupied Territories? Mr. Rich was asked why he, as a media critic, had remained silent on this biased coverage? Mr. Rich replied, “I’m Jewish.”

His candor is refreshing but what does he mean? Is Mr. Rich suggesting that being Jewish precludes criticizing Israel? Is he suggesting that Jewish American reporters, (and more insidiously, publishers) feel compelled to defend Israel? Where is professional responsibility to the American public? My criticism extends beyond the failings of a single reporter. As studies have shown, many Americans believe that the Palestinians are the illegal settlers on their own land. How can we be so poorly informed? And why hasn’t the news media worked to correct this misconception?The answer, some say, is that a conspiracy exists among mainstream media to sift and shape news to favor the Israeli government. Media’s fear, according to this belief, is that a truly informed American people would realize that the Israeli agenda and policies clash with US values and strategic interests...--David Morris...Cont'd...LINK

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