A Secret Internal ‘NYTimes’ Memo Reveals the Paper’s Anti-Palestinian Bias is Even Worse than we Thought – James North 4/16/24

Source: Mondoweiss.net

The shocking revelation of the New York Times’s offensive internal style guide on language it will not permit in its Palestine reporting should prompt a broad examination of the paper’s longtime bias.

Kudos to the anonymous New York Times staffers who leaked the paper’s offensive internal guide about the language it won’t permit in its reports on Israel/Palestine, and more kudos to The Intercept for publishing it. The shocking revelation should prompt an even broader examination of the biased language that has long been routine in the Times and across all U.S. media.

Let’s start with The Intercept’s scoop. Arguably the worst example of bias is the Times’s directive that its reports should “avoid” using the phrase “occupied territory” when describing Palestinian land. I’ve closely monitored the paper’s slanted coverage for more than a decade, and I admit to being stunned by this. Let’s set aside Gaza for the moment, even though international legal experts explain that Israel’s air, sea, and land blockade constituted “occupation” even before October 7.

But what about West Bank Palestine? How can the Times pretend that Israel’s permanent military forces, there since June 1967, do not constitute an “occupation?” Israel’s military and police checkpoints and the fact that Israel’s military law is supreme — what is this if not an “occupation?”

Just as offensive is the internal Times memo’s instruction that reporters should not use the word Palestine “except in very rare cases.” This is another jaw dropper. Several million people call themselves “Palestinians,” and Palestine is represented at the United Nations. The United States claims that it still favors a two-state solution; how can you describe the second state without saying “Palestine?”

The Times also told its staff not to use the expression “refugee camps” to describe certain areas in Gaza. The paper justifies this linguistic censorship by arguing, “While termed refugee camps, the refugee centers in Gaza are developed and densely populated neighborhoods dating to the 1948 war.” In short, the paper says, before October 7 Gazans were no longer living in tent cities — (as they are again in Rafah and elsewhere in the territory since Israel destroyed entire neighborhoods) — so you can’t say “camps.” But this isn’t the point. Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank do consider themselves refugees; many families still have the keys to the homes they or their ancestors were forced from in 1948. An honest newspaper would report this once in a while instead of shutting down discussion by dictating vocabulary.

This bombshell from The Intercept comes after months of growing criticism of the New York Times over its coverage of Gaza and Palestine more broadly. One New York Times reporter has been removed from the paper after her anti-Palestinian bias came to light after she played a role in one of the paper’s most glaring reporting scandals since October 7. The Times coverage from Gaza has been astonishingly dishonest, going so far as to blame Palestinian aid seekers for their own deaths when attacked by Israeli forces. This malpractice hasn’t been isolated to Gaza, as the paper has failed in its reporting of the West Bank, too….

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