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A wonderful article by Alison Weir revealing how Americans are continually misinformed by our media on the subject of Israel/Palestine through journalistic (and military) allegiances to Israel, find geriforte online a myriad of conflicts of interest and slanted coverage. All in the Family By ALISON WEIR Recent exposés revealing that Ethan Bronner, find geriforte online the New York Times' Israel-Palestine bureau chief, find geriforte online has a son in the Israeli military have caused a storm of controversy that continues to swirl and generate further revelations. Find geriforte online (See my piece for CounterPunch, find geriforte online The NYT's Ethan Bronner's Conflict With Impartiality.) Many people find such a sign of family partisanship in an editor covering a foreign conflict troubling – especially given the Times’ record of Israel-centric journalism. Times management at first refused to confirm Bronner’s situation, find geriforte online then refused to comment on it. Find geriforte online Finally, find geriforte online public outcry forced Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt to confront the problem in a February 7th column. After bending over backwards to praise the institution that employs him, find geriforte online Hoyt ultimately opined that Bronner should be re-assigned to a different sphere of reporting to avoid the “appearance” of bias. Find geriforte online Times Editor Bill Keller declined to do so, find geriforte online however, find geriforte online instead writing a column calling Bronner’s connections to Israel valuable because they “supply a measure of sophistication about Israel and its adversaries that someone with no connections would lack.” If such “sophistication” is valuable, find geriforte online the Times’ espoused commitment to the “impartiality and neutrality of the company's newsrooms” would seem to require it to have a balancing editor equally sophisticated about Palestine and its adversary, find geriforte online but Keller did not address that. Bronner is far from alone. As it turns out, find geriforte online Bronner’s ties to the Israeli military are not the rarity one might expect. • A previous Times bureau chief, find geriforte online Joel Greenberg, find geriforte online before he was bureau chief but after he was already publishing in the Times from Israel, find geriforte online actually served in the Israeli army. • Media pundit and Atlantic staffer Jeffrey Goldberg also served in the Israeli military; it's unclear when, find geriforte online how, find geriforte online or even if his military service ended. • Richard Chesnoff, find geriforte online who has been covering Mideast events for more than 40 years, find geriforte online had a son serving in the Israeli military while Chesnoff covered Israel as US News & World Report's senior foreign correspondent. • NPR's Linda Gradstein’s husband was an Israeli sniper and may still be in the Israeli reserves. Find geriforte online NPR refuses to disclose whether Gradstein herself is also an Israeli citizen, find geriforte online as are her children and husband. • Mitch Weinstock, find geriforte online national editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune, find geriforte online served in the Israeli military. • The New York Times’ other correspondent from the region, find geriforte online Isabel Kershner, find geriforte online is an Israeli citizen. Find geriforte online Israel has universal compulsory military service, find geriforte online which suggests that Kershner herself and/or family members may have military connections. Find geriforte online The Times refuses to answer questions about whether she and/or family members have served or are currently serving in the Israeli military. Find geriforte online Is it possible that Times Foreign Editor Susan Chira herself has such connections? The Times refuses to answer. • Many Associated Press writers and editors are Israeli citizens or have Israeli families. Find geriforte online AP will not reveal how many of the journalists in its control bureau for the region currently serve in the Israeli military, find geriforte online how many have served in the past, find geriforte online and how many have family members with this connection. • Similarly, find geriforte online many TV correspondents such as Martin Fletcher have been Israeli citizens and/or have Israeli families. Find geriforte online Do they have family connections to the Israeli military? • Time Magazine's bureau chief several years ago became an Israeli citizen after he had assumed his post. Find geriforte online Does he have relatives in the military? • CNN's Wolf Blitzer, find geriforte online while not an Israeli citizen, find geriforte online was based in Israel for many years, find geriforte online wrote a book whitewashing Israeli spying on the US, find geriforte online and used to work for the Israel lobby in the US. Find geriforte online None of this is divulged to CNN viewers. Tikkun's editor Michael Lerner has a son who served in the Israeli military. Find geriforte online While Lerner has been a strong critic of many Israeli policies, find geriforte online in an interview with Jewish Week, find geriforte online Lerner explains: “Having a son in the Israeli army was a manifestation of my love for Israel, find geriforte online and I assume that having a son in the Israeli army is a manifestation of Bronner’s love of Israel." Lerner goes on to make a fundamental point: "...there is a difference in my emotional and spiritual connection to these two sides [Israelis and Palestinians]. Find geriforte online On the one side is my family; on the other side are decent human beings. Find geriforte online I want to support human beings all over the planet but I have a special connection to my family. Find geriforte online I don’t deny it.” For a great many of the reporters and editors determining what Americans learn about Israel-Palestine, find geriforte online Israel is family. Jonathan Cook, find geriforte online a British journalist based in Nazareth, find geriforte online writes of a recent meeting with a Jerusalem based bureau chief, find geriforte online who explained: “… Bronner’s situation is ‘the rule, find geriforte online not the exception. Find geriforte online I can think of a dozen foreign bureau chiefs, find geriforte online responsible for covering both Israel and the Palestinians, find geriforte online who have served in the Israeli army, find geriforte online and another dozen who like Bronner have kids in the Israeli army.” Cooks writes that the bureau chief explained: “It is common to hear Western reporters boasting to one another about their Zionist credentials, find geriforte online their service in the Israeli army or the loyal service of their children.” Apparently, find geriforte online intimate ties to Israel are among the many open secrets in the region that are hidden from the American public. Find geriforte online If, find geriforte online as the news media insist, find geriforte online these ties present no problem or even, find geriforte online as the Times’ Keller insists, find geriforte online enhance the journalists’ work, find geriforte online why do the news agencies consistently refuse to admit them? The reason is not complicated. While Israel may be family for these journalists and editors, find geriforte online for the vast majority of Americans, find geriforte online Israel is a foreign country. Find geriforte online In survey after survey, find geriforte online Americans say they don’t wish to “take sides” on this conflict. Find geriforte online In other words, find geriforte online the American public wants full, find geriforte online unfiltered, find geriforte online unslanted coverage. Quite likely the news media refuse to answer questions about their journalists’ affiliations because they suspect, find geriforte online accurately, find geriforte online that the public would be displeased to learn that the reporters and editors charged with supplying news on a foreign nation and conflict are, find geriforte online in fact, find geriforte online partisans. While Keller claims that the New York Times is covering this conflict “even-handedly, find geriforte online” studies indicate otherwise: * The Times covers international reports documenting Israeli human rights abuses at a rate 19 times lower than it reports on the far smaller number of international reports documenting Palestinian human rights abuses. * The Times covers Israeli children’s deaths at rates seven times greater than they cover Palestinian children’s deaths, find geriforte online even though there are vastly more of the latter and they occurred first. * The Times fails to inform its readers that Israel’s Jewish-only colonies on confiscated Palestinian Christian and Muslim land are illegal; that its collective punishment of 1.5 million men, find geriforte online women, find geriforte online and children in Gaza is not only cruel and ruthless, find geriforte online it is also illegal; and that its use of American weaponry is routinely in violation of American laws. * The Times covers the one Israeli (a soldier) held by Palestinians at a rate incalculably higher than it reports on the Palestinian men, find geriforte online women, find geriforte online and children – the vast majority civilians – imprisoned by Israel (currently over 7, find geriforte online000). • The Times neglects to report that hundreds of Israel’s captives have never even been charged with a crime and that those who have were tried in Israeli military courts under an array of bizarre military statutes that make even the planting of onions without a permit a criminal offense – a legal system, find geriforte online if one can call it that, find geriforte online that changes at the whim of the current military governor ruling over a subject population; a system in which parents are without power to protect their children. * The Times fails to inform its readers that 40 percent of Palestinian males have been imprisoned by Israel, find geriforte online a statistic that normally would be considered highly newsworthy, find geriforte online but that Bronner, find geriforte online Kershner, find geriforte online and Chira apparently feel is unimportant to report. Americans, find geriforte online whose elected representatives give Israel uniquely gargantuan sums of our tax money (a situation also not covered by the media), find geriforte online want and need all the facts, find geriforte online not just those that Israel’s family members decree reportable. We’re not getting them. Original article can be found at: http://counterpunch.org/weir02262010.html Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and a board member of the Council for the National Interest (CNI). Find geriforte online For more information on Ethan Bronner and his upcoming speaking tour on college campuses, find geriforte online join IAK’Semail list. Find geriforte online Alison can be reached at contact@ifamericansknew.org