18 July '15..
Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, doesn’t like Prime Minister Netanyahu. In fact, she goes apoplectic when they cross paths.
Just read her “news analysis” in the July 17 edition, where she leads off with a smorgasbord of anti-Bibi invectives culled from Israeli anti-Netanyahu commentators. Since the United States and other world powers overrode Netanyahu’s fearsome objections, she gleefully reports, Israeli media have described the Iranian nuclear deal as the prime minister’s “personal failure,” “a stinging failure,” and a “colossal failure.”
And since the Iran deal was announced, she adds in her next paragraph, Netanyahu “has seemed lifeless, gray, even in deep despair during public appearances.” How tragic. Bibi, she notes, had tied his career for more than two decades around Iran, even as he “battered Israel’s critical alliance with the United States.” In other words, he had it coming.
Pow and double-pow.
Yet Rudoren grudgingly concedes in subsequent paragraphs that Netanyahu “in the short run may actually benefit at home,” where Israelis are deeply distrustful of Iran. Still, first and foremost, the anti-Bibi diatribes get front-and-center position.
Unlike Rudoren, the Times’ headline writer is more inclined to give Bibi a break. The headline reads: “News Analysis – Netanyahu May Turn Iran Defeat to his Favor” (page A8).
But in the meantime, Rudoren has done her worst when it comes to Netanyahu.
The prime minister, however, is not without an ability to land some counter-blows of his own when it comes to New York Times coverage of Israel.
As Rudoren herself grudgingly acknowledges, “Mr. Netanyahu’s office did not respond to interview requests from the New York Times, though he continued his blunt campaign against the agreement on NBC, ABC, CBS and NPR, and Washington’s talk shows.”
The ultimate punch: when Rudoren’s press credentials are suddenly so starkly undervalued.
Bottom line: a fitting counter-punch by Bibi without any harm to the First Amendment.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.