Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watching the Times watchers

Attention Avi Safran, et al.

I know it's cool in your circles to condemn the New York Times for everything, up to and including sun spots, and more power to you. Every blogger needs someone or something to poke (and Avi, I have you) All the same, though, I think your criticism of Craig S. Smith article about Samir Kuntar goes a little overboard.

Smith wrote:
Perhaps Israel's most reviled prisoner, Samir Kuntar, will return to a hero’s welcome when he crosses into Lebanon this week, 29 years after he left its shores in a rubber dinghy to kidnap Israelis from the coastal town of Nahariya. That raid went horribly wrong, leaving five people dead, a community terrorized and a nation traumatized. Two Israeli children and their father were among those killed.
Somehow Avi and the other haters of the Times have construed this paragraph to mean that Smith and his editors think that kidnapping Israelis is a perfectly innocent act and that the raid only "went wrong" because people were killed. This is nuts. What the bolded words mean is that Smith (deluded or not) believes Kunter intended to kidnap Israelis and the fact that he murdered them instead, "terrorizing the community and traumatizing the nation," is something horrible. He's not saying that being kidnapped is a walk in the park. He's saying that wherever a kidnapping falls on the atrocity scale, the murder of a father in front of his child is much, much worse.

Compare what Smith, wrote for example, with this sentence from the HeraldSun: "But the plan to kidnap Dr Ramos-Horta went horribly wrong, ending in Reinado's death... "

Not so noxious now, is it?

Update: Here's another example of a Times-hater letting his hatred cloud his memory of the facts. Complaining about the paragraph above, TimesWatch whines:

Check the passivity of the phrasing as well; in Times-land, Israelis are not murdered by Palestinian terrorists, merely "left dead" or "among those killed"
Um, there's a perfectly innocent reason for this: One of the children who died as a result of the raid was not killed by the terrorist. She was accidentally smothered by her mother. Smith's choice of language is not an attempt to minimize Kuntar's crime. He is merely being precise. Five people died, but only three of them were killed by Kuntar. And of course, had the Times told the truth and said "the terrorist killed three people" some angry Times critic would wail that Kuntar caused the death of five people, not three, which is, of course, true.

TimesWatch above complains about how the paper refers to dead Israelis, but anyone who knows how to operated a search engine can spot the lie. There are numerous examples "in Times-land" of Israelis being "murdered" by Palestenian terrorists. Here's what I found in less than 5 seconds:

:: Mindless Murder in Israel Suicide bombers struck again in Israel this week, killing five Israelis on a suburban Tel Aviv bus and abruptly ending a three-month respite from...

:: Palestinians Kill 2 Israeli Civilians on Road From Gaza

:: Too Soon to Say Israel Has ‘Won’... attend funerals of young Israelis who are murdered by terrorists while hiking.

No comments: