The Times Still Suffers From Crown Heights Syndrome
by Charles Jacobs (Aug. 30)

…Two weeks ago [Ari] Goldman, formerly a religion writer for The New York Times, publicly confessed to having remained silent for 20 years about his paper’s distorted coverage of the Crown Heights riots. For Goldman, it was up close and personal. He was on the phone, right there in Brooklyn, calling in reports from the streets where black mobs were attacking Jews, yelling “Heil Hitler” and “Kill the Jews!” But, he now tells us, his Times editor found this news not fit to print. There was to be no black anti-Semitism, and no anti-Jewish pogrom in the nation’s “paper of record.”

Instead, Goldman explained, the Times doctored the news by forcing inconvenient facts into story lines it preferred. In Crown Heights, a Hasidic Jewish driver mistakenly killed a black boy, [Gavin] Cato, in a car accident, and then blacks rampaged and murdered a Jew, Yankel Rosenbaum. The paper, unhappy with these clear and simple facts, instead told a tall tale: “Blacks and Jews clashed,” it reported, implying there was blame on both sides, though neither Goldman – nor anyone else – saw any Jew attacking a black. “Clashed” was simply a lie that enabled the Times to treat the accident that killed Cato and the murder of Rosenbaum as morally equivalent tragedies.

On Thursday, Arab/Muslim terrorists from Gaza (merely “militants” in Times speak) crossed into southern Israel from Egypt and carried out a carefully laid plot that murdered Israeli men, women and children. The Israelis retaliated and, while killing some terrorist leaders, unfortunately hit and killed Palestinian civilians.

Channeling Crown Heights, the Times worked hard to shift blame to the Jews for the now widening violence. In a story [on] August 21, the Times reported that the Israeli airstrike “ignited cross-border exchanges after months of relative quiet under an informal cease-fire with Hamas.” As the media watchdog HonestReporting.com aptly put it, it was as though the clock only started when the Jews responded to attacks…

Earlier this month, the Times, channeling the old USSR, actually began airbrushing facts it no longer has use for. Last year, the whole world saw dramatic footage of Israeli soldiers, set upon and beaten with staves and pipes, as they slid down on ropes from helicopters onto a flotilla “peace” boat dispatched from Turkey. Even the Times reported it as it happened. But now as it covers Turkey’s efforts to extract an apology from Israel, the Times transforms the thuggish attack from a clearly established matter of fact to that of one side’s allegation.

CAMERA caught the Times in flagrante delicto: “Isabel Kershner recounted the incident as if it is unknown what happened. ‘By Israel’s account, the Israeli soldiers met with violent resistance as they landed on the deck,’ she wrote.” The New York Times,” CAMERA explains, “is now “telling readers that maybe the soldiers were met with violence, or maybe they were not.” CAMERA notes that even Kershner herself previously reported that “video images… showed Israeli commandos being set upon as they rappelled onto the ship’s deck.”

I’m reminded of the old joke: a man’s wife catches him in bed with another woman. Without missing a beat, the adulterer screams: “I didn’t do it! Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?!” The Times adulterates the truth. Jews should get a divorce.

This is precisely the phenomenon I’ve written about again and again, with Serbs — like Israelis — always being written about as “claiming” this or that even if the incident was caught on film and shown to the world and even if the facts were established through simple chronology of historical events that can easily be looked up. (The phenomenon was encapsulated in the 2007 John Kerry incident where he advised young people to get an education, or else they’ll “end up in Iraq” (implying: like the dummies in the military). Even though he said this on camera, within weeks the insult was merely a “Republican claim.”)

And where else have we heard of “starting the clock” only upon the response of the assaulted party? Yugoslavia, perhaps? I’m a fan of HonestReporting.com, yet I clearly recall that in 2006 they had sent a dispatch which casually restated the same disinformation about the Balkan wars that HR struggles to debunk about Israel’s conflicts.

In a Part 2 to the item above, Cliff Kincaid gives more examples of the 20-year-late “by the way” sort of reporting: NBC’s Mitchell Should Resign Over Telling Gaddafi’s Lies, Part Two (Sept. 5)

The truth that Gaddafi had no “adopted daughter” has been known since before the 1986 raid. But our media went forward with the propaganda and disinformation anyway. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell repeated the lie in a February NBC Nightly News report this year.

However, many in the media are now publicly starting to have second thoughts because documents obtained from the Gaddafi family compound in Libya show that Gaddafi did have a daughter and that she did not die but lived and studied to be a doctor. This is “Hanna” or “Hana,” depending on the spelling.
The strange turn of events suggests that Gaddafi, after using the dead “adopted daughter” story for anti-American propaganda purposes in 1986, raised a real daughter by the same name…[H]e almost did [get away with it] — until his regime began crumbling and the secrets started leaking out.

The big loser in all of this is not only Gaddafi but his dupes in the media, led by Andrea Mitchell of NBC news.

Another big loser is Charlie Rose, who in 2001 interviewed Gaddafi for the CBS News’ “60 Minutes” show and prominently mentioned that “it was reported that his 15-month-old adopted daughter was killed”…in the 1986 strike. Author Milton Viorst said that Gaddafi had been psychologically “wounded” by the death of his daughter…

As we noted at the time, Barbara Slavin of USA Today offered an insight into how the lie was concocted during a public appearance in 2004. I was there to record her observations. She said, “His adopted daughter was not killed,” adding, “An infant girl was killed. I actually saw her body. She was adopted posthumously by Gaddafi. She was not related to Gaddafi.”

Slavin’s comments have been on the record for about seven years. Mitchell and others ignored them. Why? The stories made Reagan, who ordered the raid, out to be a cold-blooded child-killer…

Increasing doubts about the “adopted daughter” death story have surfaced only recently as the Gaddafi regime was falling and the media have wondered what happened to his family members.

An August 22 Guardian article said [4], “After the 1986 US bombing of the Gaddafi compound in Tripoli, Libyan state media reported that Muammar Gaddafi’s adopted infant daughter, Hanna, had been killed. Prior to that point she had never been mentioned, leading to speculation the story might have been concocted for propaganda reasons…

But it wasn’t just the Libyan “state media” which had reported her death. Many in the U.S. media had done so as well. And the “speculation” that the story was propaganda was obvious from the time of the 1986 raid when it was clear, based on the evidence, that Gaddafi did not have a daughter.

A breakthrough occurred in an August 26 blog post by Elizabeth Flock at The Washington Post which was headlined, “Gaddafi’s daughter Hana’s death in 1986 all a hoax?”…

Any good reporter would have recognized it as propaganda from the get-go. But in the confrontation between Gaddafi and Reagan, the media chose Gaddafi…

Flock added, “Now, an investigation by the Irish Times in Gaddafi’s compound…found documents and photographs that show it’s likely Hana is alive and working as a doctor in Tripoli.”

The paper went on, “Many Libyans have long doubted the story of Hana’s death, which Gadafy used to bolster the notion that he was a victim of western military aggression.”

But if “many Libyans” in Libya were doubting it, why did Andrea Mitchell repeat it as fact in February of this year, even to the point of showing film footage of Gaddafi visiting a hospital?

Andrea Mitchell, who took the bait, should now have the decency to resign.

So let’s see. 1986 to 2011 is 25 years that it took for the media to “discover” and admit that the Ghadafi daughter death was a hoax. This means that perhaps sometime between 2017 and 2020, the media will finally “discover” and admit that the Bosnia and Kosovo wars were a hoax. And that, as with the Libyan state media’s report of the death which was picked up and printed directly by Western journalists, we may one day finally realize that Balkans “journalists” likewise got their information directly from the Bosnian, Croatian, and Albanian ministries of information, not to mention their hired Western PR agencies.

But who am I kidding.