16 thoughts on “N.Y. Times Public Editor: Reassign Bronner – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Typo: Keller is Jewish and clearly a Zionist supporter of Israel, married to an Israeli with a son in the IDF.

    Instead of Keller I am sure you meant Bronner.

  2. I am aware that several media watchdog groups were involved in campaigns to pressure the NY Times into reassigning Bronner, and I’m glad to see they were successful. It does not surprise me that the NY Times refuses to admit that there was more than an “appearance” of a conflict of interest.

    Perhaps the continued media bias in favor of Israel that is so prevalent in the western media may have something to do with the notion that Jewish or pro-Israel reporters are the best choice for such assignments. It is a factor worth considering. Sending a Jewish reporter to cover Israel is the same as sending only journalists who are registered Democrats to cover the White House.

    1. They haven’t actually succeeded in getting Bronner reassigned. And if they do, there’s no evidence in Hoyt’s column that they see any problem in the substance of Bronner’s reporting, so there’s no reason to think the replacement will be any better.

      One can always hope, of course.

      1. It would be a complete waste of time to reassign Bronner only to put some other biased reporter in his place, don’t you think?

        The NY Times is trying to be graceful under fire, without capitulating. It’s just too damned embarrassing for them to admit that they screwed up, and so they’re going to deny, deny, deny anything that makes them look deliberately biased (although they were being quite deliberately biased). It’s a way of saving face, and everyone is wise to it. If the paper wishes to continue its slanted coverage in favor of Israel, it’s going to have to find more subtle ways to do it. Bronner was just so in-your-face, and with sonny boy in the IDF, the issue of credibility could no longer be ignored, no matter how hard they tried. Many groups such as Media Matters and several Palestinian rights groups, and an assortment of bloggers and columnists all spoke against Bronner’s obvious conflict of interest, and I believe this is what woke the Times out of its arrogant stupor.

    2. Sending a Jewish reporter to cover Israel is the same as sending only journalists who are registered Democrats to cover the White House.

      This conflates being Jewish with being a supporter of Israel and/or Zionism. It is extremely obvious that this is not necessarily the case.

      That said, I do find it interesting if not surprising as to why so many of the Times reporters sent to Israel are Jewish. Perhaps they simply show the highest interest in the assignment, and in the case of Bronner and Isabel Kershner (both connected to Israel in more intimate ways), that would be doubly so.

      1. I agree with you, and that is why I made the analogy. It seems nonsensical that a news agency would assume it would get the best coverage from a Jewish reporter. I would think that in terms of objectivity (if objectivity is desired), the issue of Jewishness or Zionist-ness would not matter. But it does, even if it only “appears” to make a difference. Interestingly, it seems that news agencies seldom engage in this kind of thinking except when it concerns Israel. They may send an Arab possibly to overcome a language or cultural barrier, but sending a Jew to Israel isn’t the same thing.

        I doubt Jewish journalists show any more interest in covering Israel than anyone else, and I do not think they should be given preferential treatment even if they do. It’s a form of discrimination, actually.

  3. Henry beat me to it–Shipler isn’t Jewish. I think I read somewhere that Abe Rosenthal thought he was.

    Anyway, I think you’re giving Hoyt way too much credit and even if the NYT gives in on Bronner, the basic problem of bias will probably remain. Hoyt explicitly says Bronner’s coverage is fair and he dismisses all substantive criticism of him. Hoyt just thinks that purely for appearance’s sake, Bronner should step down, but not because of any flaw in Bronner’s reporting–quite the contrary, in Hoyt’s clearly expressed opinion, it’s Bronner’s critics who are irrational, Bronner gets it from both sides, this means he’s really doing a great job, blah, blah, blah.

    This is standard establishment waffling–we haven’t done anything wrong, but to keep our crazed critics from imagining wrongdoing where none exists, we must avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Oh how noble we are, how dedicated we are to our craft of informing the public. It’s how you hear politicians talk when some scandal comes up—for as long as possible, they try and claim that there’s nothing bad going on, it’s just the appearance of wrongdoing that’s the problem.

    So if Hoyt gets his way, the NYT would just stick in someone else with Bronner’s biases, but with no personal connection to the IDF and everything is fine.

    1. I thought I might be wrong about Shipler but was writing too quickly & furiously to stop & research it. But as another commenter pts out Isabel Kershner too is Jewish & married to an Israeli. For some reason, I find her work to be less tendentious. But she does get the more prosaic assignments while Bronner gets to opine of the deeper subjects, which is where he gets into trouble.

  4. In a sense, many of us of liberal bent and moderate conservatism (does such still exist?) remain at least partially conned by our deified “newspaper of record, The New York Times”. It generally remains a do-without publication for us progressive news addicts, but we might do better to heed a precautionary mantra when we succumb to our addiction: “Read anything of great domestic and international significance with several grains of salt.” Really! Think, and think long and deep, about that special Little Drummer Girl of our sine qua non daily, a certain Judith Miller, front-page embedded journalist-propagandist seriously helping move us to our criminal war on Iraq. Eventually after she was well smoked out, even the Times gently booted her, and where did she go? Why naturally, to The Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank. There was the dangerously deficient Times of the Bay of Pigs invasion and its appalling coverage of the fascist colonel’s coup against the Greek democracy, colored by C.L. Sulzberger’s love of the anti-democratic monarchy that had also collapsed from the activities of the largely American-trained putschists. Perhaps the greatest star of the Times is none other than that self-inflated pomposity, Thomas Friedman, remarkably wrong about so many things international, but just as remarkably free of self-checking. Then for a while it treated us to the neocon with the catatonic smile, that malevolent fool Bill Kristol, embarrassing even his employer, and it still blesses us with its more subtle neocon, David Brooks, another clean-cut purveyor who plays cute in his pretense at balancing his momentous but still rightist dicta – look closely at his take on the recent Haitian tragedy unless its stench overwhelms you. There are some honesty worthies working for the rag, who range from liberal to conservative (in the correct sense of the term) and who handily outdistance the creeps I’ve referenced. But if those protective grains of salt aforementioned might impact too much upon your blood pressure, I suggest you use the New York Times principally for book and theater reviews, its sometimes splendid gardening and local features, and various such pleasantries. There are otherwise serious alternatives to this iconic con.

  5. “I suspect they make him even more tuned-in to the sensitivities of readers on both sides”. It would be nice if his suspicion were right, but as you have demonstrated again and again this is not the case, quite the opposite. You wrote a great piece.

  6. “It is not a question of being Jewish, but rather what kind of Jew and reporter you are.”

    Well Said! Bronner’s prior reporting has had a Zionist tilt to it. This will only distort it further.

    NYTimes is a Jewish dominated paper, with a higher likelihood of an Israeli-centric views than say, an Arab-American dominated paper.

    A couple of questions. Is Keller Jewish and/or a Zionist himself?

    Does Bronner’s son, who is signed up for the Israeli army, have American citizenship as well? Why is that allowed, if it is so?

    1. NYTimes is a Jewish dominated paper

      It is owned by a Jewish family, but to say it is Jewish dominated is borderline anti Semitic.

      Keller is not Jewish as far as I know. I believe Bronner’s son has dual citizenship.

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