#Tomorrow13 Hawking and the Newseum
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Friday, May 10.
1) When is news not really news?
The Newseum - a museum devoted to the news business - recently held an
event to honor journalists killed in the line of duty. Included in that
honor members of Hamas who were killed by Israel this past November.
Newseum honoring Hamas employees is an insult to brave legit journos killed in duty bit.ly/12lE3ev
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) May 10, 2013
Does this mean that the @newseum will honor the memory of contributors to Inspire Magazine as well? buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/pro-… cc: rosiegray
BuzzFeed covers the story and includes this from Cliff May:
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) May 10, 2013
May said that a decision would not be made before speaking with the CEO of the Newseum.
Does the New York Times know the difference between a reporter and propagandist?
I bring you former public editor of the New York Times, Clark Hoyt, defending the paper's decision to publish an op-ed by a spokesman for Hamas in 2007:
"Let me be fair and give them an opportunity to answer my questions (I
have more than a few)," he said. "As I said: Perhaps there's been a
misunderstanding or perhaps some re-thinking is taking place in light of
additional information they have received."
"But I will say this: I spent most of my adult life as a journalist – at
the New York Times and other media organizations," May said. "I know
the difference between a reporter and a terrorist propagandist. I'm
hopeful that the folks at the Newseum also are able to make such
Many readers were outraged, complaining that The Times had provided a
platform for a terrorist. One, Jon Pensak of Sherborn, Mass., said that
allowing Yousef space in The Times “isn’t balanced journalism, it is
more the dissemination of propaganda in the spirit of advocacy
True, the New York Times didn't presume that Yousef was a reporter. But
if the Hamas view was really necessary, it could have been included in a
news article. The New York Times elected to give a terrorist
organization an unchallenged platform for its propaganda and passed it
off as "debate."
Well, yes. The point of the op-ed page is advocacy. And, Rosenthal said,
“we do not feel the obligation to provide the kind of balance you find
in news coverage, because it is opinion.”
David Shipley, one of Rosenthal’s deputies and the man in charge of the
op-ed page, said: “The news of the Hamas takeover of Gaza was one of the
most important stories of the week. ... This was our opportunity to
hear what Hamas had to say.”
Fortunately the Treasury Department isn't given over to such ambiguity. The department's press release designating Al Aqsa TV as a terrorist organization reads:
Hamas leadership raised the initial capital for the station shortly
after the January 2006 Palestinian elections. At that time, donors
contributed half a million dollars for the channel, which was to be
headed by members of Hamas, and shortly thereafter, Hamas leaders
negotiated broadcasting arrangements with a satellite television
provider. As of late 2009, the Hamas headquarters in Damascus, Syria,
allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars for Al-Aqsa TV's budget, and
senior Hamas officials continued to control the station's operations.
The interior ministry in thugocracies like that of Hamas in charge of
internal security, in other words, the police and security forces. These
are the people who enforce the rule of Hamas.
Fathi Hammad, the former director of Al-Aqsa TV, currently serves as the
Hamas interior minister in Gaza, is a former senior member of Hamas's
military wing in Gaza, and as of 2007, was a member of the Hamas Shura
Council. Hammad has supervised the construction of smuggling tunnels
for Hamas and has encouraged the building and use of homemade weapons
for use against Israel. In May 2009, Dr. Mahmud Abu-Daf replaced
Hammad as the head of Al-Aqsa TV. Abu-Daf is a senior Hamas figure who
served as a member of the Hamas Shura Council and Political Bureau.
Hamas, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist backed by Iran, has
intentionally killed hundreds of civilians, including U.S. citizens.
Its violent takeover of Gaza in 2007 has allowed continued rocket
attacks against Israeli cities and civilians within range of the
territory. As of this year, Hamas has continued to ignore demands from
the international community to renounce violence and accept the other
Quartet principles, including the recognition of Israel and a commitment
to abide by past diplomatic agreements. Moreover, statements by Hamas
leader Khaled Mish'al indicate that the group continues to produce and
smuggle weapons into Gaza.
The Newseum's self description is:
The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an
experience that blends five centuries of news history with
up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.
Unfortunately, as this exhibit shows, it reflects the mindset in too
many newsrooms nowadays. I suspect that no one bothered to check on the
Treasury's designation of Al Aqsa TV. The Newseum wouldn't acknowledge
that Mahmoud Al Kumi belonged to a terrorist organization. (I just noticed another "journalist" honored by the Museum, Ali Abbas.
Abbas, was an official of the SANA news agency in Syria. In other words
he was a mouthpiece for Bashar Assad. The Newseum really needs to learn
the difference between journalism and propaganda.)
Last week Jonathan Tobin had more about the topsy turvy moral world of the news business.
2) The Hawking Irony
Wednesday, Prof. Jacobson covered the on-again/off-again controversy of Stephen Hawking's canceled trip to Israel.
So Stephen Hawking boycotts Israel but visited the Soviet Union under Brezhnev and Iran under Khamenei/A-jad? tinyurl.com/d7ev3rx
The New York Times reported:
— Erick Stakelbeck (@staks33) May 10, 2013
Organizers of the fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, held
under the auspices of President Shimon Peres, said they had received a
letter over the weekend from Dr. Hawking, a longtime Cambridge
professor, announcing his decision.
I wonder who Dr. Hawking's interlocutors are among "Palestinian
academics?" Are they professors who can freely explore new ideas without
fear of losing their jobs or freedom? Israel Maimon is correct. The
problem inst not just that Hawking, in embracing the boycott of Israel,
denies "the spirit of liberty." He came to his decision in consultation
with those who operate in an environment that deprives them of their
liberty to do their jobs and pursue inquiries without official
Cambridge issued a statement indicating that Dr. Hawking had told the
Israelis that he would not be attending “based on advice from
Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott,” according to
The Associated Press.
Israel Maimon, the chairman of the conference, strongly criticized the
professor’s decision, saying in a statement, “The academic boycott of
Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for
whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic
The irony is sharpened by the fact that Israel's openness fostered the creation of technology that allows Hawking to communicate and develop therapies to fight the illness that has robbed him (and others) of so much.
Labels: anti-Israel media bias, anti-Semitism, Hamas, Middle East Media Sampler, President's Conference, propaganda, Soccer Dad