Ya gotta scratch your head at the editorial decisions of mainstream U.S. media outlets: for the first time ever Israel’s cursed siege of Gaza has been breached by a band of brave peace activists and all the Times can muster is a hundred words or so on page 12. And this is the only story it’s written on the subject. It’s the equivalent of an editor’s yawn followed by: “is that all ya got?”
I’ve been more and more disappointed by Ethan Bronner’s reporting as the new NYT Israel correspondent. He couldn’t even be bothered to report this story himself since he judged it so insignificant. You’ll also recall that Bronner reserved to himself the right to write Mahmoud Darwish’s obituary. Bronner knows a smattering of Arabic, yet held forth on the poet’s poetics as if he were a literary critic. Choosing an American Jew to write this story would’ve been as if William F. Buckley wrote the obituary of Malcolm X. I don’t wish to say that the obituary was bad (though there was one insulting statement I’ve written about here). It wasn’t. But it was attenuated by the fact that Bronner was an outsider to Palestinian culture and literature, and the story called for someone who was, if not an insider, then at least more of one than Bronner.
A GoogleNews search shows 998 articles on the Free Gaza Movement sailing of which only the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Time were U.S.-based. There seems to be an unspoken editorial agreement among U.S. media that this story is trivial. I’m glad to say that the rest of world sees things differently. Which means that we aren’t being well-served by our insular media, which decides on our behalf that citizen peacemaking is reserved for the far back pages.