Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York Times and casualties of the Gaza war

"I had just this morning sent off perhaps my fifth email to New York Times reporters and editors asking if they should not address their inappropriate use of this comparison over a one month period, when I was shocked to find that they had returned to the comparison again today! In an article posted online this afternoon summarizing the aftermath of the fighting, Jodi Rudoren wrote again, suggesting near parity, "But many analysts and others criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership of the campaign, in which the Israeli military said it struck 5,263 targets in Gaza, while 4,564 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel.”

The continued use of this comparison, despite concerns raised about them, is to me inexplicable and suggests a complete lack of accountability to the truth. On July 16th, Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the comparison with relevant New York Times staff, but The Times continued using it daily, with no changes. Sunjeev Bery of Amnesty USA tweeted concerns about these New York Times statistics on July 30th. On August 2nd on Mondoweiss, I noted a very rough comparison, suggesting that, as of July 16th, Israel may have fired 5.49 times as much ordnance at Gaza as Palestinians fired at Israel, and this was likely an underestimate of the disparity. Sunjeev Bery repeated his concerns about this Times interactive in more detail on the Huffington Post on August 8th , and his article was later posted again by Amnesty USA.

In the meantime, statistics reported over the last few weeks have proven beyond any doubt the absurdity of this comparison, but Times reporters seem not to be paying attention to them. What in the world do “5,263 targets in Gaza” have to do with 59,973 Israeli strikes, 7000 shells fired into Shija’iya in 24 hours, 1000 shells fired at Rafah in 3 hours, and 32,000 total artillery shells fired? " (thanks Patrick)