The way in which the New York Times reports good vs. evil is one of the most important stories of our time.
Take the war between Israel and Hamas that is taking place right now.
This war is as morally clear as wars get. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to annihilating the Jewish state. It runs a theocratic totalitarian state in Gaza, with no individual liberty, and no freedom of speech or press. In a nutshell, Hamas is a violent, fascistic organization.
Israel, meanwhile, is one the world’s most humane states — not to mention a democracy that is so tolerant that Arab members of its parliament are free to express admiration for Hamas.
Over the past decade, Hamas had launched thousands of rockets into Israel with one aim: to kill and maim as many Israeli citizens as possible — Israelis at work, at play, asleep in their homes, in their cars. Finally, Israel responded by killing Ahmed al-Jabari, the chief organizer of Hamas’s violence — the Hamas “military commander” as he was known among Palestinians.
The next day, three more Israelis were killed by rockets.
Then Hamas targeted Tel Aviv, Israel’s most densely populated region, and Israel shelled Hamas rocket-launching sites.
In other words, an evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.
How has the New York Times reported this?
On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.
What possible reason could there be for the New York Times
to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.
The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.
If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.
This is the mainstream (i.e., liberal) media’s approach. The Los Angeles Times headline on the same day was: “Israel and Gaza veering down familiar, bitter path.”
Same presentation: two scorpions fighting in a bottle.