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December 13, 2000
Who believes the New York Times?
By Ahmed Amr.

Buried at the very bottom of a New York Times article (NYT, 12/11/2000), comes news of the ratings I've been waiting for. The ratings on the New York Times, which fancies itself a 'national' newspaper along with the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. When I finally located the ratings, it figured that they were buried so deep.

The bad news comes courtesy of a Gallup poll conducted DEC 2-4, 2000. It reveals that 65% of Americans do not believe that journalists "get the facts straight". The poll was conducted by asking a sample of 1,028 adults what they thought of the American Media.

The news gets worst for the New York Times and other 'national' papers. Only 24% of readers believed these big boys "get the facts straight". Consider that, in the same poll the 'cyber' journalists got a rating of 18%. Well, most 'Internet' news also comes from the media titans, the old dogs.

In the same edition, a more prominent article (Old Dogs See Opportunities In New Tricks - NYT 12/11/200), there is a report that the Times along with CNN.com, Washingtonpost.com and MSNBC.com have come to dominate news on the web. That won't last long. Just wait till serious journalists and academics start probing their archives, which are now accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world. I would seriously advise selling my publishing stocks or shares right now. Because these archives are the Achilles heels of 'old dogs' in the new information age.

These massive archives might give these media titans a huge advantage when they initiate a news portal, but they are also a bottomless pit full of questionable journalism. A little known secret of the information age, is that every journalist does not only have to worry about his credibility today, he has to worry about his credibility yesterday. There is enough vile tainted advocacy journalism in the archives of the titans to keep NileMedia and other 'fresh new faces' busy 24/7. Bad news no longer gets recycled. It gets archived. At NileMedia, we dig up our daily portion, leaving plenty for our many worthy competitors.

When it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it is light duty to impeach the credibility of the New York Times. They are, after all, a party to the conflict. Friedman and Sontag and Safire are the hizboallah wing of pro-Israeli advocacy journalism in the America. A 24% credibility is low, but too high for a journal that would be an outspoken advocate for repression and denial of human rights. You just wait, Sulzberger, you just wait. It won't be long before nimble cyber competitors make a mockery of those tainted archives.

So, the vaunted 'New York Times' and other bully pulpits already stand on shaky 'cyber' turf that will drown them as fast as quick sand sucking in an Elephant. These archives paint a dismal picture of an arrogant paper that attempts not only to skew public policy, but also would participate in an audacious attempt to steal a presidency. This is a paper that will not shy from tampering with the historical record or history itself.

The softest spot in these archives is the coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In a city where Israel is a local issue, the New York Times has spared no effort in condoning IDF brutality in pretty much the same language used by Barak. Sometimes their reporters will even join the band of Sharon for a jamming session that can only jar the ears of anyone who has not swallowed whole the encyclopedia of Israeli mythology.

Of late, due to serious challenges to their sophomoric pandering to every thing Israeli, they have had to moderate their pro-Israeli pamphleteering. But they still get away with describing Sharon as a 'conservative' Israeli politician. Consider that In the Israeli press, he has been called a 'serial arsonist'. Among Palestinians, Sharon is considered a war criminal.

Think Waldhiem. Think Sharon. Think about the nature of advocacy journalism at the New York Times. It is enough to make you question the integrity of every journalist in an American media industry that is shameless in promoting itself as 'neutral' and 'objective'.

The New York Times caters largely to the municipal provincial ethnic crowd in Manhattan. The Bronx and Harlem get the occasional mention, but that market is the turf of the ever plebeian Daily News and Murdoch's New York Post. Imagine an East End publication that fancies itself the 'voice of Great Britain'.

These 'national' papers fancy themselves 'opinion makers' and have successfully marketed this canard to the foreign press. And the 'foreign' press is at fault for exclusively hanging out in the beltway and New York. These journalist should ask for some travel money and see what the rest of America thinks of New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC. People in the "fly over" states are Americans too. The biggest little secret in the 'media' world is that the New York Times is an overrated municipal newspaper which gets good press by its ability to out heckle other more reputable American journalists and politicians.

One of the illustrious award winning journalists at the Independent of London, Robert Fisk, has recently been villified for his veracity in reporting on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. His article on his experience and those of Chomsky and Edward Said are an incredible indictment of the pressure that is applied to journalists who dare to challenge the Israeli Lobby.

Fisk writes that Noam Chomsky " is one of the most profound philosophers of our age, but his scathing reviews of the Israeli occupation and America's blind, unquestioning support for Israel now earn him ever more ruthless abuse." He goes on to say "You won't find Chomsky in The New York Times." But, then again, who believes The New York Times?


  January 3, 2001