How the New York Times Covers Evil
The way in which the New York Times reports good vs. evil is one of the most important stories of our time.
Take the war between Israel and Hamas that is taking place right now.
This war is as morally clear as wars get. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to annihilating the Jewish state. It runs a theocratic totalitarian state in Gaza, with no individual liberty and no freedom of speech or press. In a nutshell, Hamas is a violent, fascist organization. Israel, meanwhile, is one the world’s most humane states, not to mention a democracy that is so tolerant that Arab members of its parliament are free to express admiration for Hamas.
Over the past decade, Hamas had launched thousands of rockets into Israel with one aim: to kill and maim as many Israeli citizens as possible — Israelis at work, at play, asleep in their homes, in their cars. Finally, Israel responded by killing Ahmed al-Jabari, the chief organizer of Hamas violence, the Hamas “military commander” as he was known among Palestinians.
The next day, three more Israelis were killed by rockets.
Then Hamas targeted Tel Aviv, Israel’s most densely populated region, and Israel shelled Hamas rocket launching sites.
In other words, an evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.
How has the New York Times reported this?
On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.
What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.
The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers, virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.
If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.
This is the mainstream (i.e., liberal) media’s approach. The Los Angeles Times headline on the same day was: “Israel and Gaza veering down familiar, bitter path,”
Same presentation: two scorpions fighting in a bottle.
Examples are endless. Here is one more:
In 2002, there was widespread Nigerian Muslim opposition to the Miss World pageant scheduled to take place that year in Nigeria. Defending the pageant, a Nigerian female reporter wrote a column in which she said that not only were the contestants not “whores,” as alleged by the Muslim protestors, but they were such fine women that “Muhammad would probably have taken one of the contestants for a wife.”
That one sentence led to Muslim rioting, the beating and killing of Christians, the burning of churches and the razing of her newspaper’s offices.
How did the New York Times report the events?
“Fiery Zealotry Leaves Nigeria in Ashes Again.”
No group is identified as responsible. “Fiery zealotry,” not Muslim violence, was responsible.
The article then begins: “The beauty queens are gone now, chased from Nigeria by the chaos in Kaduna.”
Again, Muslim rioters weren’t responsible for chasing the beauty queens out of Nigeria; it was “chaos.”
The article concludes that what happened in Kaduna was another example of Africa’s “difficulty in reconciling people who worship separately.” In other words, Christians and Muslims were equally guilty.
As the flagship news source of the left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor, rather than between good and evil.
Dennis Prager’s latest book, “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.