Controversial New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner has spoken out at last on a topic he is expert in – advocacy journalism.
In response to an email from a Facebook user called Scott Mohn complaining that The New York Times had not covered the 15 July march in Jerusalem held by thousands of Israeli left-wing Zionists and a number of Palestinians from eastern occupied Jerusalem, Bronner wrote:
We have written quite a lot about the incipient movement but until it really takes off it would be advocacy journalism to highlight it too much. My job is to reflect, not to encourage. I am trying to do that. The march on Friday had 2,000 people. Not a huge story.
My son finished his army service and is in NY working with children with special needs.
Mohn is a user of the YaLa - Young Leaders Facebook page, which Bronner reported on in a 9 July article, and Mohn posted Bronner’s email on that page. Bronner did not respond to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking him to confirm whether or not he wrote the email to Mohn.
As The Electronic Intifada revealed last week, Bronner’s 9 July report on the YaLa Young Leaders Facebook page contained outright fabrications and misrepresented the page as if it were a destination for thousands of Arabs interested in “coexistence” with Israel when in fact only a tiny handful of Facebook users ever had more than a cursory interaction with it.
Bronner’s response to Mohn suggests that Bronner – who is renowned for his “advocacy journalism” for Israel – is now all of a sudden getting fussy.
But here’s the rub: Bronner wrote a story promoting an insignificant Facebook page (and thus giving it a huge publicity boost), while dismissing a march of thousands of Israelis in Jerusalem amid the increasingly repressive and intolerant atmosphere of Israel’s so-called “democracy” as “Not a huge story.”
Thankfully there’s no need to rely on Bronner: read 16-year-old Jalal AbuKhater’s reportage on the march instead, as well as his political analysis of why he and other Palestinians felt uneasy about it.
Bronner’s reference to his son – whom Mohn had mentioned in his email to Bronner – is also interesting. Last year The Electronic Intifada revealed that the younger Bronner had enlisted in the Israeli occupation forces.
Having failed to originally disclose that his son joined an army that has created thousands of Palestinian children with “special needs” – by physically maiming them, subjecting them to psychological trauma, arresting hundreds in eastern occupied Jerusalem neighborhoods targeted for takeover by settlers, and besieging 800,000 in an open-air prison called Gaza, Bronner now gives us the news that his son is a humanitarian, helping kids in need.