Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pres. Truman, The Jewish State, and the Decline in the NY Times Standards

...Finally, it is worth noting that it was an explicitly Jewish state described in the top story of the May 15, 1948 edition of The New York Times. Its article on Israel's independence put in words what everybody already understood: "The Jewish state, the world's newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate."

Gilead Ini..
CAMERA Media Analysis..
07 February '14..

Two news articles, published five years apart but referencing the same historical event, paint a damning picture of a recent decline in New York Times standards.

The event occurred in May 1948. Only days before the leaders of the Jewish community in British-ruled Palestine were to declare the establishment of the State of Israel, it was still unclear whether President Harry Truman would side with his Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, who opposed recognition of the Jewish state, or with his senior advisor Clark Clifford, who urged Truman to follow his impulse in favor of recognition.

The dramatic debate was settled only hours before the modern state of Israel came into formal existence. At 6:11 P.M. in Washington, D.C., or just 11 minutes after the midnight rebirth of the Jewish state, Truman's press secretary read the following statement:

This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof.

The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.

The New York Times referred to this presidential statement twice in the past five years, and the way the did so exposes an unfortunate decline in the newspaper's standards. In both articles, reporters mentioned recent Palestinian attempts to cast a last minute change in the language of the statement — one of the letter's two references to "Jewish state" was changed to "State of Israel" — as supposedly showing that Truman did not support the idea of a Jewish state. But while the earlier article gave some clarifying context that suggested Palestinian leaders are misusing the letter, the more recent piece relayed the misinformation with no qualification, leaving New York Times readers severely misinformed about Truman's position.


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