The Crisis at the New York Times

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by Patrick Lawrence, The Unz Review:

It has been evident to many of us since the genocide in Gaza began Oct. 7 that Israel risked asking too much of those inclined to take its side. The Zionist state would ask what many people cannot give: It would ask them to surrender their consciences, their idea of moral order, altogether their native decency as it murders, starves and disperses a population of 2.3 million while making their land uninhabitable.

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The Israelis took this risk and they have lost. We are now able to watch videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating as they murder Palestinian mothers and children, as they dance and sing while detonating entire neighborhoods, as they mock Palestinians in a carnival of racist depravity one would have thought beyond what is worst in humanity—and certainly beyond what any Jew would do to another human being. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, as American media do not, that the Israel Defense Forces covertly sponsor a social media channel disseminating this degenerate material in the cause of maintaining maximum hatred.

It is a psychologically diseased nation that boasts as it inflicts this suffering on The Other that obsesses it. The world is invited—the ultimate in perversity, this—to partake of Israel’s sickness and said, in a Hague courtroom two weeks ago, “No.”

Post–Gaza, apartheid Israel is unlikely ever to recover what place it enjoyed, merited or otherwise, in the community of nations. It stands among the pariahs now. The Biden regime took this risk, too, and it has also lost. Its support for the Israelis’ daily brutalities comes at great political cost, at home and abroad, and is tearing America apart—its universities, its courts, its legislatures, its communities—and I would say what pride it still manages to take in itself. When the history of America’s decline as a hegemonic power is written, the Gaza crisis is certain to figure in it as a significant marker in the nation’s descent into a morass of immorality that has already contributed to a collapse of its credibility.

We come to U.S. media — mainstream media, corporate media, legacy media. However you wish to name them, they have gambled and lost, too. Their coverage of the Gaza crisis has been so egregiously and incautiously unbalanced in Israel’s behalf that we might count their derelictions as unprecedented. When the surveys are conducted and the returns are in, their unscrupulous distortions, their countless omissions, and—the worst offense, in my view—their dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza will have further damaged their already collapsing credibility.

We come, finally, to The New York Times. No medium in America has had further to fall in consequence of its reporting on Israel and Gaza since last October. And the once-but-no-longer newspaper of record, fairly suffocating amid its well-known hubris, falls as we speak. It has erupted, by numerous accounts including implicitly its own, in an internal uproar over reportage from Israel and Gaza so shabby—so transparently negligent—that it, like Israel, may never fully restore its reputation.

Max Blumenthal, editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, described the crisis on Eighth Avenue better than anyone in the Jan. 30 segment of The Hill’s daily webcast, Rising. “We’re looking at one of the biggest media scandals of our time,” he told Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave. Indeed. This well captures the gravity of The Times’s willful corruptions in its profligate use of Israeli propaganda, and Blumenthal deserves the microphone to say so. Since late last year The Grayzone has exhaustively investigated The Times’s “investigations” of Hamas’s supposed savagery and Israel’s supposed innocence.

This is more than “inside baseball,” as the saying goes. We now have a usefully intricate anatomy of an undeservedly influential newspaper as it abjectly surrenders to power the sovereignty it is its duty to claim and assert in every day’s editions. It would be hard to overstate the implications, for all of us, of what The Grayzone has just brought to light. This is independent journalism at its best reporting on corporate journalism at its worst.

What we find as we read The Times’s daily report from Israel, and from Gaza when its correspondents unwisely accept invitations to embed with the IDF, is a newspaper unwilling to question either its longstanding fidelity to Israel or its service to American power. These two ideological proclivities—well more than what its reporters see and hear—have defined the paper’s coverage of this crisis. This is bad journalism straight off the top.

It was inevitable, then, that The Times would serve as Israel’s apologist as soon as the IDF began its murder spree last October. This was not a rampage worthy of the Visigoths, as plentiful video footage carried on social media and in independent publications revealed it to be: It was dignified as “a war,” a war waged not against Palestinians but “against Hamas,” and Israel fought it in “self-defense.” Hamas is “a terrorist organization,” so there is no complexity or dimensionality to it, and therefore no need to understand anything about it.

It has been a question of minimizing and maximizing in the pages of The Times. Israel’s genocidal intent is indecipherable to anyone relying on its coverage. The physical destruction of Gaza is never described as systematic. The IDF does not target noncombatants. The newspaper has reported the shocking statements of Israeli officials, some openly favoring genocide, ethnic-cleansing, and the like, only when these have been so prominently reported elsewhere that The Times could no longer pretend such things were never said.

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