The New Media and the Palestine Question

The Palestine Center hosted a panel entitled The New Media and the Palestine Question. In Part One, Professor Jerome Slater and Adam Horowitz discuss how blogging changes the public discussion. In Part Two (over the fold), MJ Rosenberg and Professor Stephen Walt discuss how blogging affects policy change.

Part One

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The New York Times and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Bronner Affair

By Jerome Slater

The New York Times has now confirmed that the son of Ethan Bronner, for the past two years its chief correspondent in Israel, has enlisted in the Israeli army. On January 25, the website Electronic Intifada picked up on what was then still a rumor and pointed out that the internal policies of the Times state that journalists might have to be reassigned if the activities of family members create apparent conflicts of interest. The policy guidelines provide an example: “A brother or a daughter in a high-profile job on Wall Street might produce the appearance of conflict for a business reporter or editor….”

Electronic Intifada sent a message to Bronner asking if the rumor was true. Bronner did not respond but turned the message over to Susan Chira, the Times foreign editor, who did. With the usual brisk arrogance, evasiveness, or non-responsiveness of the Times whenever its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is criticized, Chira dismissed the question of whether Bronner’s family ties (he is also married to an Israeli woman) constituted a conflict of interest: “Mr. Bronner’s son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. At the Times we have found Mr. Bronner’s coverage to be scrupulously fair and we are confident that will continue to be the case.”

No doubt the Times hoped that would dispose of the issue, but thanks to the internet, it was not to be.

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