ROM his unique perspective as a longtime editor and subsequent columnist at the New York Times and now at the New York Daily News, A.M. Rosenthal has concluded that the media is biased in its reporting on the Middle East.
At a dinner luncheon of the Middle East Forum, a think tank headed by distinguished scholar Daniel Pipes, Rosenthal slammed the press for two major shortcomings.
“They believe that peace in the Middle East depends on the settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.”
That is not so, Rosenthal said. The peace has often been broken not by Israelis versus Muslims, but by Muslims fighting against Muslims.
“Killing comes about not because of Israel’s power but because of murderous Muslim dictators,” he said.
He said that no settlement between Israel and the Palestinians can bring peace in the region, “not until the nature of the Muslim governments change.”
The failure of reporters to discern this is due to their reliance upon government information. Most journalists in the diplomatic press obtain their information from governments. They come to believe what they’re told by governments. “It doesn’t occur to them to dissect what they are told,” Rosenthal said.
A second mistake the press makes is believing that the biggest problem for Israel is the bickering among Jews. “You’d think that the Jew haters do not reside in Baghdad or Tehran but in government offices in Jerusalem,” Rosenthal said.
Anti-Jewish propaganda, he said, is coming not only from Arab countries but also from India, Pakistan and Africa. “They are the servers of hatred and filth.”
He said that in the late ‘50s he went to a party in Greenwich Village. Someone remarked that it was such an interesting party. Why so? Rosenthal asked. “Everybody here is a Jew or a Muslim,” the person observed.
“I don’t think that party could take place today,” the columnist said.
Rosenthal decried the failure of the American press to investigate anti-Semitism around the world.
“Why the silence? It’s a matter of callousness. It’s exactly like the Christians in the U.S. who live with the knowledge of the persecution of Christians in China and Sudan. It’s comes from insufficient acuteness and initiative on the part of the media.”