"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

What's Wrong with The New York Times

I'm really getting sick and tired of The New York Times.  I first began getting more than irritated with the newspaper of record when it over-reported the non-story about Hillary Clinton's emails, on the eve of the 2016 election.   I won't go into all the poor reporting I've noticed in their pages since then.

But now there's something much worse than all of that.  When word first came in about the terrible loss of human life caused by the rocket or bomb exploding in the courtyard of the Palestinian hospital yesterday, the NY Times ran a headline that there was massive outrage in the Middle East (correct) about the attack made by Israel, according to the Palestinians.  The second part of that headline was technically correct -- the Palestinians thought and still think that an Israeli bomb caused the damage -- but it was very misleading, for two reasons.  First, the "according to the Palestinians" came at the end of the headline, and it's a well-known fact that readers of news often don't get to the end of a long headline.  Further, there should have been a prominent indication in the headline that Israel was denying that they were responsible for the horror in the courtyard, and indeed an Hamas-related terrorist group launched the rocket.  The Times has since removed the misleading headline, but the damage was already done.

And today, we have news that US intelligence has independently confirmed the Israeli explanation, based in large part on US infrared sensors that show where the rocket that caused the deadly damage originated.  Jeremy Bash on MSNBC has justly lambasted the lame headlines that stirred so much anger at Israel.  Accurate reporting, including accurately descriptive headlines, is always important.  But never more so than in the tinderbox that the Middle East has become in the aftermath of the monstrous Hamas attacks, and the increasing number of human lives at stake.

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