The Rudoren Reminder

Last year, the outgoing the New York Times bureau chief in Israel, Jodi Rudoren, was upset.  She had claimed that there “is a very active and very noisy group of advocates who has decided that tearing apart coverage of the conflict is a good tool of advocacy.”

And she added: “There’s a kind of myopia in which each side looks at articles or TV reports and focuses on the part that they think offends their narrative or their argument. There’s clearly this scorecard that people are using”


On the sports pages of the NYTimes one can find scorecards galore for baseball, basketball, football and boxing among a dozen other games but to measure the worth, value, accuracy and reliability of journalists? That is verboten? Myopia?  Perhaps it is the narrow-lensed perspective the NYTimes prefers its reporters and columnists to employ especially when Israel and Jews are the subjects?

Well, here is a contribution from me and I have fashioned it as graphically as I could:

1 3

Yes, I am quite well aware that (a) the headline is usually written in New York and is the responsibility of the Foreign News Desk and that person could be Carol Giacomo, Mira Kamdar, Ernesto Londoño or Serge Schmemann although I doubt if we’ll know who actually penned that manipulation of semantic moral equivalency and (b) the story immediately makes clear the circumstances of the deaths that leaves no doubt there indeed is a difference in how those four deaths were caused.

However, that doesn’t really affect the way the headline was composed.

How could that headline be rewritten?

Well, use different verbs.


is perhaps one way.

Or better:


Or differentiation in graphics and visuals, like


Arab attackers killed 

I am sure a bit of empathy and imagination could have produced true balance and factuality in that headline.

That headline fit the NYT’s own myopia on the Arab-Israel conflict.

And as I am writing this, AR alerted me that

You get a sense of how badly the NYT editors want to portray events as a cycle of violence, with moral judgmentalism the ultimate sin. Three versions of the same article (so far), and an evolving headline:

Print edition: West Bank Faces Spate Of Assaults That Kill 4

Original web version: 1 Israeli and 3 Palestinians Killed in Attacks in West Bank
Revised web version: Israeli Woman and 3 Palestinian Attackers Killed in West Bank
Well, at least I’m not the only one who noted and is upset at poor journalism at work.
Ms. Rudoren, can I remind you that there really is nothing to get angry at such criticism.
After all, you and others do it to Israel several times a day.
About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
Related Topics
Related Posts