If Only George Clooney Lived in Sderot…and had New York Times Home Delivery There

Twice awarded the distinction of the world’s sexiest man by People Magazine and oft referred to as the consummate gentleman, George Clooney last week proved that chivalry is not dead by rushing to the defense of his new fiancé—and his mother-in-law to be– when the  UK Tabloid  the Daily Mail brazenly and falsely reported that Clooney’s future mother-in-law and her relatives in Beirut did not approve of his union with Amal Alamuddin.

Not merely satisfied with an apology for and retraction of the slanderous story, Clooney chose instead to educate the tabloid and non-tabloid reading public on exactly why The Daily Mail and media outlets do what they do: print lies.

“We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal,” explained Clooney, adding “When they put my family and my friends in harm’s way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence.”

Clooney’s response was reprinted last Sunday in a front page story in The New York Times, which many readers of The New York Times might have found a bit  ironic, given The Times’ increasing propensity to casually disregard facts and history in its own reporting.  Adding further to this irony was The New York Times placement of the story about Clooney’s attack on the media a few inches away from a headline that read: “For Gazans, an Anxious and Somber Ramadan: Airstrikes and Stalled Economy Tarnish a Muslim Holiday”

Really?  And exactly which publication is inflaming a part of the world for the sole reason of selling newspapers? The New York Times headline gives the impression that during the dog days of summer, Israel, seeking some diversion, decided that the leisure activity of the week would be orchestrated airstrikes on Gaza. The New York Times’  headline brazenly ignores a multitude of  “small”  details, which, if acknowledged, may have caused an ethical editor to write a less incendiary, but more honest headline, little details such as:

That at that time the story was published more than 1,000  rockets had rained down all over Israel from rocket sites in Gaza with the express intent of  maiming and killing Israeli civilians That the terrorists (not militants, not freedom fighters, but terrorists) launching those rockets were provided such “launching sites” by the Israeli government in  2005.

That in order to hand over  these launching sites to the Palestinians ,the Israelis evicted their own citizens in 2005, even moving 48 Israeli graves.  (All the soil touching the remains of the Israeli dead was also transferred in accordance with Jewish law; each of the Israeli dead was given a second funeral and an additional one day mourning was observed.)  All this was done to further peace, not  to enable terrorists to use their own people, including children, as human shields while attacking Israeli civilians, including children, from launching sites in Gaza.

That the Palestinians who inhabited Gaza in 2005 promptly desecrated synagogues and demolished what remained of once prosperous greenhouses, which could have contributed to a healthy, peaceful economy, thereby making Gaza a little less “anxious” and “somber” in the summer of 2014. (In 2005, while reporting on the disengagement/eviction of Israelis, NBC news reporters found that “Palestinians (had)  looted dozens of greenhouses…walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting in a blow to fledgling efforts to reconstruct Gaza Strip.”)

This painful eviction of Israelis from Gaza in 2005 was rewarded with approximately 11,000 rockets over the last nine years, leading to recent Israeli airstrikes and a ‘somber” and “anxious”  Ramadan in 2014.

Interestingly, The New York Times calls The Daily Mail’s approach to news  “gossipy, salacious and celebrity-obsessed”, but  The New York Times  also openly  acknowledges that such an approach is wildly lucrative, with The Mail Online  becoming ” the most visited English language newspaper site in the world.” While The New York Times seems utterly unfazed about small obstacles to reporting– such as hard facts– the paper  is clearly “anxious”, if not a bit “somber”, over  what it calls The Daily Mail’s “aggressive expansion in the United States”  According to The New York Times, The Mail Online has an estimated 36.4 million unique readers a month in the United States— up 30 percent in the last year.

This may help to explain why New York Times customer service reps have resorted to begging many longtime readers who have called to cancel their subscriptions because they are finally fed up with years of biased and fabricated reporting on Israel to please reconsider and continue to receive their daily doses of slander against Israel on their front lawns in little blue plastic bags.

If anything, The New York Times’ editors probably have become even more “somber” and “anxious” after reading today’s Wall Street Journal article, which reports that the job of “news reporter” ranks fourth on a list of the top  five most endangered jobs in the United States,  followed closely behind  that of a “meter reader” and right before that of a “travel agent.”

But no worries, The New York Times can afford to be a little less “somber” and “anxious” ; it can always reinvent itself.

As The New York Times and George Clooney have learned recently, there seems to be a growing market for fiction.

About the Author
Sheryl Elias is a mediator and arbitrator. She has coordinated various Israel-related student initiatives.
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