Patrick Lawrence: Crisis at the NYT

The relationship between the Times and Israeli authorities is now exposed to more light than was ever supposed to shine on it.

The New York Times Building in New York City. (Torrenegra, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Patrick Lawrence

It has been evident to many of us since the genocide in Gaza began Oct. 7 that Israel risked asking too much of those inclined to take its side.

The Zionist state would ask what many people cannot give: It would ask them to surrender their consciences, their idea of moral order, altogether their native decency as it murders, starves and disperses a population of 2.3 million while making their land uninhabitable.

The Israelis took this risk and they have lost. We are now able to watch videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating as they murder Palestinian mothers and children, as they dance and sing while detonating entire neighborhoods, as they mock Palestinians in a carnival of racist depravity one would have thought beyond what is worst in humanity — and certainly beyond what any Jew would do to another human being.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, as American media do not, that the Israel Defense Forces covertly sponsor a social media channel disseminating this degenerate material in the cause of maintaining maximum hatred.

It is a psychologically diseased nation that boasts as it inflicts this suffering on The Other that obsesses it. The world is invited — the ultimate in perversity, this — to partake of Israel’s sickness and it said, in a Hague courtroom two weeks ago: “No.”

Post–Gaza, apartheid Israel is unlikely ever to recover what place it enjoyed, merited or otherwise, in the community of nations. It stands among the pariahs now.

The Biden regime took this risk, too, and it has also lost.

Its support for the Israelis’ daily brutalities comes at great political cost, at home and abroad, and is tearing America apart — its universities, its courts, its legislatures, its communities — and I would say what pride it still manages to take in itself.

When the history of America’s decline as a hegemonic power is written, the Gaza crisis is certain to figure as a significant marker in the nation’s descent into a morass of immorality that has already contributed to a collapse of its credibility.

We come to U.S. media — mainstream media, corporate media, legacy media. However you wish to name them, they have gambled and lost, too.

Their coverage of the Gaza crisis has been so egregiously and incautiously unbalanced in Israel’s behalf that we might count their derelictions as unprecedented. When the surveys are conducted and the returns are in, their unscrupulous distortions, their countless omissions, and — the worst offense, in my view — their dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza will have further damaged their already collapsing credibility.

We come, finally, to The New York Times. No medium in America has had further to fall in consequence of its reporting on Israel and Gaza since last October. And the once-but-no-longer newspaper of record, fairly suffocating amid its well-known hubris, falls as we speak.

It has erupted, by numerous accounts including implicitly its own, in an internal uproar over reportage from Israel and Gaza so shabby — so transparently negligent — that it, like Israel, may never fully restore its reputation.

Max Blumenthal, editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, described the crisis on Eighth Avenue better than anyone in the Jan. 30 segment of The Hill’s daily webcast, Rising.

“We’re looking at one of the biggest media scandals of our time,” he told Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave. Indeed. This well captures the gravity of the Times’ willful corruptions in its profligate use of Israeli propaganda, and Blumenthal deserves the microphone to say so.

Since late last year The Grayzone has exhaustively investigated the Times’ “investigations” of Hamas’s supposed savagery and Israel’s supposed innocence.

This is more than “inside baseball,” as the saying goes. We now have a usefully intricate anatomy of an undeservedly influential newspaper as it abjectly surrenders to power the sovereignty it is its duty to claim and assert in every day’s editions.

It would be hard to overstate the implications, for all of us, of what The Grayzone has brought to light. This is independent journalism at its best, reporting on corporate journalism at its worst.

“Since late last year The Grayzone has exhaustively investigated the Times’ ‘investigations’ of Hamas’s supposed savagery and Israel’s supposed innocence.”

What we find as we read the Times’ daily report from Israel, and from Gaza when its correspondents unwisely accept invitations to embed with the IDF, is a newspaper unwilling to question either its longstanding fidelity to Israel or its service to American power.

These two ideological proclivities — well more than what its reporters see and hear — have defined the paper’s coverage of this crisis. This is bad journalism straight off the top.

It was inevitable, then, that the Times would serve as Israel’s apologist as soon as the IDF murder spree began last October. This was not a rampage worthy of the Visigoths, as plentiful video footage carried on social media and in independent publications revealed it to be.

It was dignified as “a war,” a war waged not against Palestinians but “against Hamas,” and Israel fought it in “self-defense.” Hamas is “a terrorist organization,” so there is no complexity or dimensionality to it, and therefore no need to understand anything about it.

It has been a question of minimizing and maximizing in the pages of the Times. Israel’s genocidal intent is indecipherable to anyone relying on its coverage. The physical destruction of Gaza is never described as systematic.

The IDF does not target noncombatants. The newspaper has reported the shocking statements of Israeli officials, some openly favoring genocide, ethnic-cleansing, and the like, only when these have been so prominently reported elsewhere that the Times could no longer pretend such things were ever said.

The taker of the cake in this line is a Jan. 22 piece by David Leonhardt, who seems to be one of those desk reporters in New York who write whatever they are told to write.

Under the headline, “The Decline of Deaths in Gaza,” we read that Palestinian fatalities declined “by almost half since early December.”

Setting aside the fact that the record since does not seem to bear this out, inviting Times readers to celebrate a daily death toll of 150 instead of 300, lies somewhere between poor judgment and poor taste. But anything, it seems, to soften the look of things in Gaza.

There is also the question of humanization and dehumanization. We have read very numerous and intimately detailed Times stories of Israelis attacked last Oct. 7 — individuation being essential to shaping this kind of coverage — while Palestinians are an indistinct blur so far as Times’ correspondents report on them.

Beginning the Story on Oct 7

The Times has fully indulged the pretense that history began on Oct. 7, erasing the previous 76 years, or the previous century, depending on how one counts: the history, this is to say, wherein the Palestinian story is told.

There is no Palestinian story in the pages of The New York Times, as a walk through the archives of the last four months makes clear.  The Times has recently taken to publishing exceptions to these patterns in its coverage, and I will come to them in due course.

There is one feature of the Times’ coverage that must be singled out, as it is very key to the whole of it. This concerns the question of evidence.

Almost all of the reportage coming out of Israel, and on rare occasions Gaza, relies on evidence Times correspondents have obtained from the Israeli military, Israeli government officials, the Israeli police, or those representing some other part of the Israeli power structure.

“There is no Palestinian story in the pages of The New York Times, as a walk through the archives of the last four months will make clear.” 

On some occasions, Times reporters will take a cue or a theme from Israeli information managers and then do their own reporting — Blumenthal calls this “alleged reporting” — to dress up the piece subsequently published as an independent piece of work. There are two things to say about this.

One, the Israelis have been intent from the first on manipulating the imagery of the Gaza crisis — what it looks like — and keeping very tight control of evidence, including a great deal of conjured “evidence,” which has been essential to getting this done.

For the Israelis to make themselves a correspondent’s primary source — or the only source much or most of the time — and for correspondents to accept this arrangement implies a certain kind of relationship. It is evident that  this relationship has been routinized over the past four months.

Two, Times correspondents — and again, their colleagues at other Western newspapers and broadcasters, too — never raise questions of quality, veracity, provenance, or chain of custody when relying on evidence or  “evidence” supplied by Israeli authorities.

In pro forma fashion, they will occasionally note that this or that account of events “cannot be independently verified.” But the procedure — Israelis supply evidence, correspondents turn it into reportage — is kept entirely from view.

“According to Israeli officials,” “Israeli military sources said,” etc. is all readers get. On goes the report from there, in which evidence or “evidence” the Israelis have supplied is presented at face value.

In every case I know of, I should add, stories of this kind are one-source stories — even if they feature multiple voices saying the same thing in different language. This is a tired old trick at the Times and among other mainstream media: 5 and 2 are 7, 4 and 3 are also 7, so are 6 and 1, and so on.

I have just termed the relationship implied here as routinized. Now I will call it a highly objectionable relationship: At its core is a symbiosis wherein the Times abandons its sovereignty and — corollary point — the Times obscures this abandonment from its readers.

The Times’ unprofessional handling of evidence and “evidence,” to state what may by now be obvious, has made it an instrument of official propaganda as Israel’s crimes in Gaza have proliferated these past months. This is an open-and-shut the case, as the record shows.

It is not an unusual circumstance for the Times: It is inevitable that a paper wherein ideologies determine what is published will assume this role, elsewhere as in Israel.

But propaganda, as noted elsewhere, is crudely made in most cases. The propagandist much prefers simplicity and impact to sophistication or, God knows, nuance.

The Israelis are not exceptions to this rule.

Reproducing Cheap Goods

The correspondent trafficking in propaganda must consequently be very careful to avoid reproducing what is patently cheap goods. This is especially so when working within the sort of relationship the Times has with the Israeli propaganda machine, whose output since they began their assault on Gaza has often been primitive and obviously overdone.

If you are not careful you can get left holding the bag.

Jeffrey Gettleman seems to have been other than careful in his reporting after he transited from Ukraine to Israel immediately after the events of Oct. 7.

He did not, in fairness, do anything other than what Times correspondents routinely do when reporting on “the Jewish state.” He opened wide and swallowed what the Israeli authorities fed him — the goose and the foie gras farmer.

But when he began a grand investigation to expose the Hamas militias’ heinous use of sexual violence as a weapon of terror on Oct. 7, he does not seem to have recognized wildly implausible horror stories when the Israelis told them.

“The Times’ unprofessional handling of evidence … has made it an instrument of official propaganda as Israel’s crimes in Gaza have proliferated.”

Neither could Gettleman see, apparently, the immense implications of his piece once subjected to a scrutiny he may not have anticipated.

Incautious Jeffrey Gettleman is now holding the bag — scrambling, so far as one can make out, to salvage reportage that looks to me too faulty to save. His newspaper is now in an uproar.

This is not just about Gettleman’s piece: At issue is the Times’  coverage of the Gaza crisis altogether. The routinized relationship between the Times and the Israeli authorities is now exposed to more light than was ever supposed to shine on it.

Ditto the slack, sloppy, unprofessional mediocrities mainstream media altogether have made of themselves.

The Israelis began alleging that Hamas militias were guilty of rape and sexual violence during their Oct. 7 incursion into southern Israel more or less immediately after the events of that day. They claimed to be developing “considerable evidence” — Gettleman’s phrase in his initial report, on Dec. 4 — from witnesses, photographs and emergency medical teams.

In the same piece, Gettleman quoted a police official saying that women and men numbering in the dozens had been raped on Oct. 7. Women’s rights advocates convening at the U.N. at this time introduced the thought that the alleged sexual abuses were part of a pattern: They were systematic, weapons of terror.

After these initial assertions the Israeli police authorities seem to have subtly but swiftly softened. No, there were no autopsies, witnesses were hard to locate, people at the scene of alleged incidents did not collect evidence, no, they had nothing to say about interviewing victims of alleged rapes.

Gettleman’s Dec. 4 file was, at least relative to what was to come, suitably cautious — a what-we-know, what-we-don’t piece. But the drift was clear. “Extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence of killings, including videos posted by Hamas fighters themselves,” Gettleman wrote, “support the allegations.”

If I read Gettleman’s clipping file correctly, it was with that sentence that he began his walk into trouble. As it has turned out, the witness testimony he cited has proven spongy and less than extensive, the documentary evidence proves little and the videos, unless there are videos we do not know of, prove nothing at all.

The phrase “witness testimony and documentary evidence” includes a link to a lengthy piece on Hamas’ post–Oct. 7 political deliberations that makes no mention of rape or sexual violence and has nothing whatever to do with the topic of Gettleman’s piece.

Gettleman’s byline did not appear again in the Times until Dec. 28, when his sprawling investigative takeout appeared under the headline, “‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct.7.”

It took as its central figure “the woman in the black dress.” This refers to a corpse found and videoed on the side of a road on Oct. 8. “In a grainy video,” Gettleman writes, “you can see her, lying on her back, dress torn, legs spread, vagina exposed. Her face is burned beyond recognition and her right hand covers her eyes.”

Taking the ‘Evidence’ Bait

Gettleman reports this woman’s identity as Gal Abdush, a 34–year-old mother of two who was partying with her husband along the Gaza border in the early hours of Oct. 7 and was later murdered, as was her husband. Within seven paragraphs of his lead, it appears perfectly clear Gettleman has taken the “evidence” bait as proffered by Israeli officials:

“Based largely on the video evidence — which was verified by The New York Times — Israeli police officials said they believed that Ms. Abdush was raped, and she has become a symbol of the horrors visited upon Israeli women and girls during the Oct. 7 attacks.”

Let’s study this passage briefly. Are you interested in what Israeli police say they believe? I’m not. I’m never interested in what officials in such positions believe or feel or, a lot of the time, think: I am interested in what they know, and they did not tell Gettleman that they knew anything.

Do you see the air these officials put between the rape theme and their reputations? Equally, the Times “verified” the video, did it? In what way this? What did it verify, exactly? That the video existed?

Is Gettleman suggesting that the Times verified from the video that Abdush was raped? No video of a dead body could verify this.

“Are you interested in what Israeli police say they believe? I’m not.”

This video has a strange story, to stay with it briefly. Gettleman wrote that it “went viral,” but it is nowhere to be found on the internet, and nobody recalls referring to Abdush as “the woman in the black dress.”

There is also a chronology question attaching to this video, as a Jan. 3 report in Mondoweiss analyzes. Gettleman recounts the last text message, with time-stamp, Gal Abdush sent to her family.

During this time Abdush’s husband, Nagy, was with her and sent his own texts to the family, also time-stamped. Four minutes elapsed between Gal Abdush’s last message and the time Nagy Abdush messaged the family to report his wife’s death — a message Gttleman did not mention.

Nagy Abdush made no reference to rape. He sent his own final message 44 minutes later — a message Gettleman’s report does mention.

Did one or more Hamas militiaman rape a woman in the presence of her husband, then, in one or another sequence, murder her and burn her, then murder the husband — all not in 44 minutes, as the Gettleman piece implies, but in four?

Since Gettleman published, Abdush’s family, evidently irate, has accused him of distorting the evidence and manipulating them in the course of his reporting.

“She was not raped,” Mira Alter, Gal Abdush’s sister, wrote on social media a few days after Gettleman published. “There was no proof that there was rape. It was only a video.”

This is how it is for the 3,700 words Gettleman gave his investigation, which also carries the bylines of Anat Schwartz and Adam Sella.

There are witnesses who change their stories once, twice, or several times. There is a witness proven to have lied in similar circumstances. There is the testimony of a rescue organization with a compromised relationship with the Israeli military and an extensive record of corruption widely reported in Israeli media.

There is a witness who told Gettleman he saw two teenage girls lying naked and alone on the floor of a house, one of them with semen all over her back, while it was later proven they were burned so badly they were hard to identify and they were found not alone but in the embrace of their also-burned mother.

B-Movie Perversities

And so on. You have descriptions of all kinds of unimaginable, B–movie perversities — militiamen playing with severed breasts, militiamen walking around with armfuls of severed heads — that rest upon “witnesses” whose testimonies, given how often they shift or do not line up with what was eventually determined,  simply cannot be counted as stable.

And then there are the official statements. Among the most categoric of these is one from the Israeli police, issued after the Times published “‘Screams Without Words’” Dec. 28 and asserting that they have found no eyewitnesses to rapes on Oct. 7 and see nothing in media reports such as the Times’  constituting evidence of systematic sexual violence.

I rarely urge readers of this column to read The New York Times — some, indeed, write to thank me for reading it so they don’t have to.

On this occasion I think reading the Gettleman pieces is a good idea — but only back-to-back with The Grayzone’s work. Mondoweiss, a U.S. publication that reports on Israel and Palestine, has also done work worth reading. It is a chance to see what sclerosis looks like when placed next to vitality.


Blumenthal and Aaron Maté, his colleague at The Grayzone, began scrutinizing the Times’ reports on alleged sexual violence immediately after Gettleman’s first piece appeared Dec. 4.

Two days later The Grayzone published a detailed account of ZAKA, the discredited rescue organization that featured prominently among Gettleman’s sources.

Three days after “‘Screams Without Words’” appeared Dec. 28, Blumenthal and Maté aired a 42–minute podcast exposing the long list of inconsistencies in it they had by then identified.

Two weeks later, on Jan. 10, The Grayzone published a lengthy letter it sent to the Times urging it to address the many defects and ethical breaches in Gettleman’s pieces.

“The Times report,” the letter began, “is marred by sensationalism, wild leaps of logic, and an absence of concrete evidence to support its sweeping conclusion.” The Times has since been silent — publicly, if not internally.

The Times could hardly have worked itself into a more awkward corner over the “‘Screams Without Words’” disaster had it tried. It seems to have been some while building, and to have exploded as follows into the mess now before us.

Unease as to the Times’ coverage of Israel, inside and outside the Times building, is a long story.

Times correspondents whose children serve in the IDF, correspondents with apparently improper relations with lobbies such as the Anti–Defamation League: These kinds of things have over the years prompted critics to question the paper’s proximity, where it puts itself in relation to the Israel story, the balance of its coverage.

“The Times could hardly have worked itself into a more awkward corner over the ‘Screams Without Words’ disaster had it tried.”

Nearer to the present, there had been sustained criticism of the paper’s Gaza coverage emanating from the newsroom well before Gettleman’s piece appeared.

A Jan. 26 piece in The Intercept, citing newsroom sources, described “a rolling fight that is revived on a near-daily basis over the tenor of Times coverage of the war in Gaza.”

This seems to have reached high-decibels acrimony as The Daily, the Times’ premier podcast, became involved. The Daily is where the paper showcases what are supposed to be its better enterprise pieces, as those with lots of original reporting are called, and it scheduled a segment based on “‘Screams Without Words’” for release on Jan. 9.

Joe Kahn, the Times’ executive editor, had already touted the piece in an internal memorandum as among several “signature pieces of enterprise on the Israel–Hamas war” and described it as executed “in a sensitive and detailed way.”

Pulling the Podcast

Kahn may have leapt before he looked. The Daily’s producers soon pulled the segment as the defects began to accumulate in the piece Gettleman and his colleagues filed. They subsequently wrote a revised script addressing some of the problems — inserting qualifiers, The Intercept reported, and altogether leaving ample room to question, if not doubt, the factual certainty Gettleman wrote into his prose.

The revised segment is now “paused,” whatever that turns out to mean. This leaves the paper effectively stuck with a Hobson’s choice that makes me marvel: It can run the original segment, pretending discredited work remains valid, or it can run the rewritten segment, so discrediting the Gettleman report by itself.

Max Blumenthal thinks the crisis inside the Times reflects a deep divide between the newsroom, where there seems to be a surviving cohort of conscientious  journalists, and the upper reaches of management, where the paper’s ideological high priests reside.

I have not been inside the Times building in well more than a decade, but there is a history to support this thesis. It goes at least as far back as the 1950s, when Aurthur Hays Sulzberger, as publisher, signed a secrecy agreement with the Central Intelligence Agency and gave tacit approval to correspondents who wanted to work for the agency.

But we have to look beyond the tall glass building on Eighth Avenue to grasp the magnitude of the crisis Gettleman has precipitated.

His careless work, to put the point mildly, has exposed a process that is prevalent across the mainstream. CNN, The Guardian, MSNBC, PBS, various others: They all followed the same procedure as they reproduced the “systematic sexual abuse” story as the Israelis gave it to them.

We are face to face now with the destructive power of corporate media as they dedicate themselves to serving the interests of the policy cliques who run the imperium and its appendages.

Face to face, too, with the responsibilities that fall to independent publications in consequence of so basic a corruption as this.

“We have to look beyond the tall glass building on Eighth Avenue to grasp the magnitude of the crisis Jeffrey Gettleman has precipitated.”

“These are lies that kill,” Blumenthal remarked on that segment of Rising noted earlier, “because these lies, fabrications, distortions, half-truths, and exaggerations of facts are intended to generate political consent for Israel’s genocidal assault in Gaza. They need to be called out.”

Is there a truer way to make the point?

Credit when due.

The Times has published a handful of pieces over the past couple of weeks that are exceptional, at least relatively so, for their balanced treatment of the Israel–Palestine crisis in all its fullness.

Suddenly there is a history to it that extends back more than four months. Suddenly Palestinians have voices that have things to say. Suddenly they are living, breathing human beings. How rare is this in the pages of the Times?

I was alerted to this spate of pieces — they cannot be read as a purposeful series — on the last day of January, when Roger Cohen published a long report from the West Bank under the headline “‘We Are Not Very Far From an Explosion,’” in which the paper’s Paris bureau chief, long sympathetic to Israeli perspectives, describes the vicious ugliness of fanatical Israeli settlers and IDF soldiers incessantly attacking West Bank townspeople simply trying to hold on to what they have. It is a moving piece of work.

A day later the Times published “The Road to 1948,” which consists of a many-sided debate moderated by Emily Bazelon, who lectures in law at Yale. The people talking to one another in this lengthy presentation — and Bazelon manages the exchange with a light, unintrusive hand — take the Israel–Palestine question back to the British Mandate in 1920.

There are many perspectives here, not all worthy of endorsement. The piece is good, certainly, in explaining how the British favored Zionist organizations as precursors of a state while giving no such status to Palestinians.

But the simplifying thought that “this is a national conflict with religious elements,” or that arriving Zionist settlers and Palestinians have something like equivalent claims, seems to me an insidious gloss. Still, the Times has taken readers back a century.

The next day came a news piece, “In the West Bank, Palestinians Struggle to Adjust to a New Reality.” In it, Yara Bayoumy and Rami Nazzal describe onerous new restrictions the Israelis have placed on the movements of West Bank residents since Oct. 7.

Last Sunday, the paper published “Portraits of Gazans,” photographs by Samar Abu Elouf with text by Declan Walsh and Abu Elouf. These pictures seem to me a little sanitized, as if they are meant to disturb liberal American sensibilities but not enough to disgust them or get them into the streets with placards.

Good enough, but too tame next to the images that land the horror in one’s gut as one finds easily enough on social media and in independent publications.

On Tuesday morning, something interesting: “What Israeli Soldiers’ Videos Reveal: Cheering Destruction and Mocking Gazans,” featuring a small parade of bylines, has the Times finally getting around to publishing some of the astoundingly crude video IDF soldiers make of themselves as they rampage through the Gaza Strip. 

Why now? There is no avoiding this question, given how assiduously the Times has indeed avoided this kind of material until this week. Why this string of pieces somewhat, or more out of character for a newspaper that has so long stood among American media as Israel’s most influential apologist?

It is a good question, and I do not have a certain answer. Looking at this phenomenon narrowly, these rapid-fire pieces might reflect the pandemonium and ire abroad in the newsroom.

Have those reporters and editors disgusted by the Gaza coverage and riled by the Gettleman piece prompted an editorial change of heart? Maybe. Possible. Did the paper rush these pieces into print as a form of post–Gettleman damage control? Very possibly. Maybe the Times has at last decided Israel has asked too much of it. A little far-fetched, but let’s keep it on the list.

We should recall the Times’ coverage after the al–Aqsa Mosque crisis in the spring of 2021. Just as it is doing now, it published a lot of pieces sympathetic to the Palestinians and sharply critical of the conduct of Israelis.

But over time it became clear this was merely a temporary shift, a back-foot defense the moment required. Three years later the Times gives us Jeffrey Gettleman. Plus ça change.

My mind goes back to the Vietnam war in search of an explanation for these pieces. Some readers may recall that the Times — a much different newspaper then — began in the late 1960s to publish highly critical work by correspondents who were soon noted for it: David Halberstam, Malcolm Browne, Neil Sheehan.

In the trade and in the reading public these people were awarded badges of courage for their integrity, and fair enough, although they opposed the war less out of principle than a shared judgment the U.S. could not win it.

I have long thought the tenor of the Times’ Vietnam coverage changed because, by the time the above-mentioned correspondents and others like them were filing stories with Saigon datelines, a deep divide had appeared among the policy cliques in Washington and its was permissible to write against the Pentagon’s Southeast Asia folly.

Is the Times responding similarly now? The mood has changed in Washington, or is changing. There is a divide on Capitol Hill that grows gradually more evident.

Think of all these open letters U.S. officials, some senior, are signing and circulating to express their objections to the Biden regime’s reckless support for a reckless nation’s crimes.

Has the Times, in its typically indirect way, written and sent a letter of its own by way of the pieces that match not at all the Israel Jeffrey Gettleman offers Times readers?

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Journalists and Their Shadows, available from Clarity Press or via Amazon.  Other books include Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored.

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This article is from ScheerPost.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

58 comments for “Patrick Lawrence: Crisis at the NYT

  1. remo
    February 15, 2024 at 23:21

    I re-read..trying to find who paid us the 30 pieces of silver ? When ? how we surrendered while IDF laugh in the faces of exploded children. What power does the nazi Zionist Israel draw upon, to do genocidal murder ? Leni Riefenstahl called it ‘the submissive void’. Others, ‘learned helplessness’. Is the power drawn from confusion ? by manipulated ignorance of History ? ..Myth makers.Phillip Zelikow. Murray C Bernays. Arlen Specter writing the official narratives?

    Now. Whats to do . Because they just keep on going and going and going. Killing and killing and killing. Their stupid fking children dancing on the graves of GAZA. Soon a million souls will be in the desert and the world can rally and pitch tents.

  2. February 15, 2024 at 17:15

    The final blame that needs mentioning falls on those millions of Times readers and subscribers. “Don’t give your money to people who lie to you” should be the cardinal rule for the socalled intellectual class who willfully pay to be deluded, when 50 years of NYT prevarications, distortions and lies should have convinced them to stop paying.

    But they insist on taking the NYT as the ultimate authority because it serves and supports their own prejudices and arrogance.

  3. C.Parker
    February 15, 2024 at 12:04

    An excellent book written in 1967 by Gay Talese, The Kingdom and The Power, allows the reader a peek into the workings of the New York Times. The first chapter describes how Adolph Ochs made the Times one, if not, the greatest newspapers. Ochs purchased the declining New York Times in 1896. He implemented several changes such as its writers must remain impartial, truth and facts were most important-over being first to report, no pictures only print, reporters were made aware that the welfare of the nation and its people were at stake.

    In 1896 when Ochs purchased the Times its circulation was down to 9000. In 1935 at the time of Adolph Ochs death the daily circulation had reached 465,000. That number had doubled by the time The Kingdom and The Power went to print.

    Adoph Ochs motto was “To Give the News Impartially, Without Fear or Favor” and the Times reporters whose respect for the weight of the word became the NYTimes highest paid journalist at that time.

    This changed by the 1960’s having something to do with reporters being allowed entry into the Washington Bureau. I wonder how many of today’s New York Times reporters have any idea of what made that paper the paper of record.
    What a shame seeing the Times tumble so low, taking with it memories of those great reporters whose work made it the nation’s bible.

    • Caliman
      February 15, 2024 at 18:07

      It is (almost) inevitable … an illustration of Nietzsche’s “when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back at you” … when you cover the powerful, unless you religiously keep yourself at arm’s length a la I. F. Stone or Bob Parry, you will be co-opted and become part of the system.

      The Times is a dues-paying member of MICIMATT … an important element of the middle “M” media, which ties the other cretins together with plausible narrative. It is indispensable to the powers that be.

    February 15, 2024 at 04:57

    even the NYT caling for a ceasefire? the Apartheid Zionist Jews slowly getting caught out for their lies BUT HEY HO the West still sending AID to the Apartheid Israel State Still supporting the GAZA GENOCIDE!! what AID?? it cannot be food as there are over 120 UN AID lorries waiting to enter GAZA at RAFAH alone. OH ITS BOMBS MISSILES AMMUNITION TANKS ETC we are sending to carry killing women and children BUT HELLO we are giving them a LUNCH BOX whilst we are killing them with our ARMS AID!! SUNAK you are no different than BLAIR the IRAQ GENOCIDE killer who should be in jail along with the Devil BUSH both confirmed LIARS who walk free the WEST are HYPOCRITES!! THE ARABS are COWARDS they have choosen self over others, comfort and ease over sacrifice. SHAME on you ARABS you have betrayed ISLAM!! Muhammad your GOD will judge you when your earthly life ends!!

  5. Francis Lee
    February 15, 2024 at 03:51

    ”We are face-to-face now with the destructive media as they dedicate themselves to serving the interests of the policy cliques who run the imperium and its many appendages.”

    Well said Sir.

  6. John Mitchelson
    February 14, 2024 at 23:49

    As Max has pointed out, Ali Abunimah’s work at the Electronic Intifada has also been invaluable in exposing the grotesque fraud perpetrated by the New York Times in service to the illegitimate occupying entity in historic Palestine.

  7. WillD
    February 14, 2024 at 21:50

    NYT has become a daily ‘comic’, a cheap rag, publishing fictional stories about real-world events, with absolutely no regard for facts and truth. It is devoid of integrity, ethics and of standards of reporting. It has joined the gutter press, sinking lower and lower into a cesspit of propaganda, lies and disinformation.

    What does this say about its editors, journalists (so-called) and most importantly its readers?

  8. February 14, 2024 at 20:32

    This is a long overdue, devastating article, devastating because of its accuracy. Of course, while Israeli quotidian atrocities comparable only to those of the Nazis highlight the unreliability of the NYT, they are but the tip of a very old iceberg going back to the Pulitzer-Hearst era of yellow journalism. While the NYT has had a few brief episodes of admirable journalism, historically they have been rare exceptions. I note that Israel is not the only master to whom the NYT answers, obviously so is the Democratic Party and the Deep State, something Republicans who criticize its coverage of their hero, Donald Trump, might want to consider when the duopoly acts in concert, as it does with respect to the Ukraine as well as Israel, and with respect to the Chinese province of Taiwan, and with respect to Iran, and yes, with respect to the events that led up to January 6, 2020.

  9. Patrick Powers
    February 14, 2024 at 18:41

    In November 2017 the New York Times had a headline article declaring men biologically inferior. In the same issue they deplored the world’s failure to engage in healthful premarital sex, and declared all country musicians to be bigots. I saw no benefit in being exposed to such trash. Ever since I have refused to read the New York Times. That was such an improvement that shortly after followed a boycott of all mainstream media.

    I pity the ignorant who are defenseless against this.

  10. Alan
    February 14, 2024 at 17:32

    I lost all faith in the Times during the buildup to the Iraq War in 2002-2003, when it served as the chief promulgator of the WMD lie. Since then, the “paper of record” has covered itself in mud and filth on other critically important stories including, but not limited to, the Russiagate hoax and the war in Ukraine, beginning with the US supported Maidan coup by Ukrainian Neo-Nazis in 2014. The blatantly biased coverage of genocide is Gaza is blowing up in the Times’ face, but I fully expect it to weather this storm and then carry on as before.

  11. February 14, 2024 at 16:22

    Thank You Patrick and CN

  12. bardamu
    February 14, 2024 at 16:06

    I am surprisingly relieved, probably more than evident, to read a public declaration that the NYT is not the paper of record.

    In a few months, I will mark 21 years since I quit purchasing the Times, reluctantly seeing that its WMD reporting was just a lie.

    I missed and still miss sitting a coffee and the paper spread out, considering what to bring to class. But I was not happy to have brought my naivete, and nothing in the flotsam since has tempted me back. A possible revolt among the galley oarsmen is the sweetest news I have heard from the Times.

    To the escapees!

  13. Susan Siens
    February 14, 2024 at 16:03

    Ditto, Carolyn!!!!!

  14. Susan Siens
    February 14, 2024 at 15:33

    I have never been able to get a copy of Ufkotte’s Bought Journalism as the CIA suppressed its publication in the U.S. That said, I think what Ufkotte said in an interview applies here. Once he was bought — and he didn’t initially realize he was being bought because the technique is subtle — articles in a major German newspaper had his byline on them but he DID NOT WRITE THE ARTICLES. Ponder this when you’re critiquing sleazy bought journalists at the NYT.

  15. RulesSlidingGlobally
    February 14, 2024 at 14:45

    “The relationship between the Times and Israeli authorities is now exposed to more light than was ever supposed to shine on it.” facilitated by some “investing” in torches.

  16. J.E. Henningsen
    February 14, 2024 at 14:23

    Great article, Patrick Lawrence. Kudos to Grayzone and to Joe Lauria and Consortium News. Thank you for publishing the truth about this catastrophe. And,
    Shame on all who do not have the guts to stand up and recognize what is happening in Palestine.

  17. mgr
    February 14, 2024 at 13:37

    The Times reporting on Ukraine has been essentially the same, the same playbook; the “immaculate conception view of history,” nothing before a partisan selected date has any bearing on current events. This is puerile deception. And, of course, embracing completely untrustworthy partisan sources to further its deliberately chosen deception. How convenient. What a piece of shit it is.

    What the NYT is doing in Gaza and Ukraine is not journalism, just deliberate deceit. It is worse, far worse, than any tabloid “news” because it masquerades as a respectable news outlet. It is anything but respectable. In fact, it is a major contributor to America’s fall. Almost every time you read anything in the NYT, you know less than you did before. It’s the mushroom treatment (keep them in the dark and feed them shit). In these circumstances, how can you trust anything, that it says at all? You can’t. There may still be conscientious journalists at the NYT but they are not in charge. Junk the NYT and sell it for scrap. The sooner the better.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      February 14, 2024 at 14:36

      “Keep them in the dark and feed them shit”. Yep. That’s what they do.

    • Susan Siens
      February 14, 2024 at 15:44

      Totally in agreement, mgr. The NYT is not a respectable newspaper, and one must ask if there is a single respectable newspaper in the entirety of the United States. I have no sympathy for people who work in crap media; they made their bed and now they can lie in the shit they dish out to the public.

  18. Edward Q
    February 14, 2024 at 13:22

    Alfred Lilienthal described the history of how the NYT turned into a zionist propaganda outlet in his book, “The Zionist Connection”. In the 1950’s, the NYT refused to run an ad for an event for Yitzak Shamir, because of his bloody history. This resulted in a boycott of the paper. Faced with bankruptcy, the NYT caved in to the boycott and replaced some of its staff with zionists. It has been careful to promote Israeli views since then.

  19. Voltaria Voltaire
    February 14, 2024 at 13:06

    Well said! WELL SAID!!!

    As to why the NYT has ever so slightly changed their tune in a miniscule fashion- perhaps they are experiencing a little bit of the terror they have pushed on their readers for so long. There are two journalists doing life sentences currently for their part in the Rwandan Genocide. It’s common for the puppet masters to kill the messengers. It’s common for the Mob Boss to sacrifice their enforcers first. This is what Biden is doing with his sanctions on a few Israeli settlers. This is what Netanyahu is doing with his IDF. It’s the owners of the mainstream lying mouthpieces that need to be fully investigated. Horror of horrors will be found there, but not easily.

    And for it said in a different but no less truthful light, with TONS of source documentation – the 7th Annual Fake News Awards:

    May the Truth Tellers prevail!!!! With nothing to gain but a much better future for all of us!!! And everything to lose if the lies continue.


    • Susan Siens
      February 14, 2024 at 15:46

      And how do you tell the truth-telling journalists?

      They’re out on the street, hats in hands, begging for money.

      • Ian Perkins
        February 15, 2024 at 11:24

        When they’re lucky enough not to be killed or imprisoned.

    • Valerie
      February 14, 2024 at 18:15

      Bravo, bravo, bravo.

  20. Nelson Betancourt
    February 14, 2024 at 13:03

    Who did Julian Assange kill with his WikiLeaks truth and revelations, and how many people have been killed with Gettleman’s lies and fabrications? Who deserves to be in prison?

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      February 14, 2024 at 14:37

      Assange killed no one. Ever. Gettleman, on the other hand . . .

  21. David Johnson
    February 14, 2024 at 12:43

    Excellent article. My only criticism is your omission of Jeremy Scahill, one of the founders of the Intercept and a tireless worker for Palestinian rights, including the same kind of work done by both Blumenthal and Mate. I think credit should be given to all. Thank you

  22. February 14, 2024 at 12:43

    As Biden turns from Netanyahu, the NYT marches alongside.
    A move towards Bennie Gantz. All blame for the destruction and cruelty will be laid at the feet of Netanyahu and some of his cabinet. Maybe they will even be prosecuted for war crimes.
    Israel, the state, will go free. Palestinians will be forgotten. The unworkable ‘two state solution’ will forgotten.

    It’s a concerted work of propaganda

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      February 14, 2024 at 14:39

      The Palestinians will not be forgotten by me. I have many Palestinian friends.

  23. Charles E. Carroll
    February 14, 2024 at 12:40

    Thank you for this excellent article.
    I have noticed over the past five days a slight change of tune. Some of the war hawks are making statements I think are padding the way for plausible denial of their Israel support and the genocide in Gaza.
    It’s going to happen. Genocide Joe and his looser Generals will be remembered in history for their support for this terrible tragedy.
    I hope all the highly paid bomb makers in America sleep well. They and our politicians are guilty too.
    Free Palestine!

    • Susan Siens
      February 14, 2024 at 15:50

      You might be interested in my brother-in-law’s story about workers in Ohio who build the Patriot missiles. He said they are known for cheering every time we use one. As a working-class woman from a union family, I knew what blue-collar fascism looked like in the 1960s as the unions were gung-ho for bombing Vietnamese peasants.

  24. John Zeigler
    February 14, 2024 at 12:17

    Truth is the first fatality of war, it has been accurately said. Governments lie, Carl Sagan said. Lyndon Johnson is even now remembered for the Vietnam debacle than anything else, as Biden will be remembered as the willing co-conspirator in the butchery of Palestinians. He has gambled and lost.

    • February 14, 2024 at 13:49

      Patrick Lawrence is a hero, I wish I had penned these brave truths myself. The New York Times is in step with the Harvard Board of Fellows – fellow Zionists and fellow Racists. Historic Dark Truths. I’ve been invited to do an OP-ED based on my Podcast chronicling the Dark Truth about slavery and racism in America, and the racist Harvard, just like our country that was built on the slave-economy. Perhaps they are entertaining my talk about slavery and racism because they think it is a sufficiently distant past. It isn’t! That Zionist and Racist Board of Fellows that tied Dr. Claudine Gay in knots for not being a better Zionist and doing a better job of “suppressing pro-Palestinian” demonstrators – then resorting to an anti DEI and overtly racist assault on her are central to my next podcast. There goes my OP-ED, but there also goes The New York Times.

      Michael Klein, Producer
      Radio Free Earth, an Apple Podcast Channel


    • February 14, 2024 at 14:20

      It was I.F. Stone, the legendary independent journalist, who famously asserted that “All governments lie,” though Sagan might have agreed.

  25. Litchfield
    February 14, 2024 at 12:09

    Mr. Lawrence,

    Thanks for this very much needed piece.

    As to why the NYT is suddenly showing some integrity, I wonder whether it has occurred to you that this “new integrity” may be linked to the ICJ ruling.

    Light bulbs are going on for a lot of people, also in DC, who suddenly perceive the developing image of themselves as war criminals, complicit in genocide. Whoops!

    Can you spell “limited hangout”?

    • rosemerry
      February 14, 2024 at 14:12

      Where is this sudden integrity? Yesterday on the duran, Jeffrey Sachs explained how he had offered an article to the NYT (which of course he knows well) and it was rejected. When he next offered another, referring to the accuracy of his first, he was told “the Editor would not allow this” while KNOWING it was the truth. How can this paper have any credibility?

  26. firstpersoninfinite
    February 14, 2024 at 11:53

    Excellent commentary, Patrick Lawrence. And yet the fact remains: the whole point of honesty in reporting is lost when dishonesty goes on for the length of time necessary to provide coverage for Israel’s prime objective. If they won’t report the truth of history or the truth of events when it happens or when it is relevant, then it can only be assumed that they are actually hiding the truth on purpose and are a propaganda arm of American interests. A nation of 340 million people has no reason to be hijacked by a nation of 7 million people unless it chooses to do so in support of its own interests, no matter how misguided they may be. It can only be fulfilling a narrative that will not be allowed to be questioned ever, facts be damned. Meaning always usurps factual truth because truth is changeable, yet meaning is the only force behind recognition of what is allowed to be true.

  27. February 14, 2024 at 11:34

    What little credibility the NYT had remaining at the time was lost forever after 9/11 with all its bullshit about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and the need to invade Iraq. Anyone who reads the NYT is wasting his time and anyone who pays for that rag is simply prolonging its death

    When the NYT started to lose its credibility, I couldn’t say. But looking back on its coverage of the Vietnam war (which was less than sterling), I would have to say it’s been going on a long time.

    The NYT is not a newspaper and hasn’t been for a long time. It is simply a propaganda sheet for those in power – no better than the old Pravda of Soviet times.

    • February 14, 2024 at 12:46

      I read the science pages. But you don’t need to pay. My 7 year grandchildren can get behind the crude paywall

      • Susan Siens
        February 14, 2024 at 15:53

        Maybe I should try this for the food section, although the last time I bought a paper (well before the genocide began) even the food section was badly written and edited.

      February 14, 2024 at 15:45

      I agree. I lost respect for the NY Times when Judith Miller became the prime propagandist for the terror-bombing and invasion of Iraq in support of the Bush II/Cheney/Rumsfeld Axis of U.S. Evil. The Times’ pro-Zionist slant has only increased my contempt for its slanted “news” reporting.

  28. Joy
    February 14, 2024 at 11:32

    Is it time for the Times to have to register as a foreign agent? hxxps://

    My most recent effort is how to get 18 U.S. Code § 1091 enforced. This is the statute that incorporated the Genocide Convention into US domestic law. It’s a criminal statute, and, therefore, has to have someone enforce it. Wouldn’t it be great to have the Biden Administration charged and arrested for this? I urge everyone to come up with any and all ideas and efforts to make this happen.

    The Department of Justice is the entity that would normally enforce such a law, but the DOJ is part of the administration that should be charged. Who is able to get this to happen? Citizens’ arrests during protests of administrations officials would make for good political theater at minimum.

  29. Marcus Davidson
    February 14, 2024 at 11:12

    Gettleman knows he’s in trouble and has enlisted the support of ex Facebook exec Cheryl Sandberg to bail him out… (that is Sandberg with him on stage in the video) Sandberg is an arch Zionist, who is trying to save the New York Times as well as Gettlemann from the deluge of criticism they have received… She is also trying to feminize the Fake Hamas Rape Story to turn Palestinians and Muslims into sexual monsters

  30. February 14, 2024 at 10:40

    Dear Patrick,

    Thank you for this marvelous SheerPost post. Although I love it, I am concerned about “We are now able to watch videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating as they murder Palestinian mothers and children, as they dance and sing while detonating entire neighborhoods, as they mock Palestinians in a carnival of racist depravity one would have thought beyond what is worst in humanity — and certainly beyond what any Jew would do to another human being.”

    Surely there is every kind of Jew, just as there is every kind of Christian and every kind of Muslim, etcetera. The soldiers you describe are Jews who understand that the unadulterated meaning of “Thou shalt not kill” is ‘Thou shalt not kill fellow Jews’. For the details on that understanding, please watch a video entitled “Thou Shalt Not Kill … Whom?” at:


      February 15, 2024 at 04:32

      This line in Patrick’ piece seems to be misunderstood by several readers. Patrick is in no way criticizing Jews or is being anti-semitic in anyway, in fact he is praising Jews who would never do such things to another human being.

      • Ian Perkins
        February 15, 2024 at 11:36

        Maybe he’s praising THOSE Jews who would never do such things to another human being.

        I firmly think it’s at best poorly worded – “certainly beyond what ANY Jew would do to another human being” sure reads like NO Jew would do such things, when in fact “We are now able to watch videos of Israeli soldiers” (presumably mostly Jewish) doing precisely those things.

          February 15, 2024 at 20:32

          Just the opposite. He is saying that anyone who would do such things has betrayed his or her Jewish faith, therefore it is not what any Jew would do to another human being.

  31. Vera Gottlieb
    February 14, 2024 at 10:17

    Not even to line the birdcage would I use the NYT. It is on a pedestal it most certainly DOES NOT belong.

    • Susan Siens
      February 14, 2024 at 15:59

      You wouldn’t want to expose the poor bird to toxic garbage! That said, Vera, I have read your references to your family’s history. I think all of us SETTLERS need to consider how indigenous people feel when we say the U.S. is a “nation of immigrants.” For some reason, indigenous people find this insulting.

  32. hetro
    February 14, 2024 at 09:41

    “Think of all these open letters U.S. officials, some senior, are signing and circulating to express their objections to the Biden regime’s reckless support for a reckless nation’s crimes.”

    Could we have a review of these letters? What they are, where they are?

    • Charles E. Carroll
      February 14, 2024 at 12:45

      Plausible deniability. These guys will be circulating. Getting as far from the genocide they can.

    • Ian Perkins
      February 15, 2024 at 00:59

      NYT, ‘More Than 500 U.S. Officials Sign Letter Protesting Biden’s Israel Policy’ (November) and ‘Over 800 Officials in U.S. and Europe Sign Letter Protesting Israel Policies’ (February)
      – neither article appears to be paywalled

  33. Piotr Berman
    February 14, 2024 at 09:35

    I observe two parallel and connected processes. One is the role of lobbies in American and, more broadly, Western governance. A lobby has two functions: convince an interest group to fund it by cataloging the interests of that group and presenting a plan how to further it, and then proceed with PR and (usually) legalized corruption of the political process. This has a very pernicious effect: powerful funders of a lobby are humans who are not 24/7 thinking in one direction, like more profit for their industry or more impunity for Zionist project, however small, they tended to have vestiges of human perspective. A lobby has a single purpose, and its PR eventually alters the thinking of its funders too, normalizes abnormal.

    Over the years, the influence of lobbies was raising higher and higher, and the outcomes are more and more visibly catastrophic. Biden administration, devoid of a human brain at its center, follows lobby scripts, including “AIPAC” (actually, a complex amalgam of lobbies that work in the same direction, but the same is true for “MIC” and, perhaps most powerful in monetary terms, “medical” lobby).

    The parallel process was radicalization of Israel and its government. Some claim that there is no distinction between liberal Zionists and radical Zionist, both define their purpose as getting as much possible to the benefit of the Jews as they perceive it — a heaven which is safe because of utter domination over Arabs inside and outside — with an important difference of what they view as possible. Liberal Zionists would advocate smaller expansion of settlements, fewer repressions etc. expressing a worry that “small Israel” (indeed, not that large) may loose support. But due to indefatigable works of “AIPAC”, the liberals were proven wrong again, and again, and again. In the face of that reality, liberal Zionists lost political support, and most of them lost liberal convictions, while ever more radical groups were gaining.

    NYT is a political creature, and like entire body of our politics, it got penetrated by lobbies, but now, like the entire collective West, it faces the question: as the genocide is ongoing, its completion may have negative consequences of magnitude that is hard to predict. What if the number of victims of bullets, bombs and starvation reaches hundreds of thousands? So establishment voices are slowly emerging to the effect that something should be done to stop it. But the momentum behind heedless support of the radicals ruling Israel may be to hard to overcome.

  34. susan
    February 14, 2024 at 08:45

    We really need to take a look at the MSM in this country overall. If you go into any of their sites it is all hogwash designed to keep us distracted. Stop watching and reading the slime that slithers from these sites and start to really educate yourselves on the actual TRUTH. As long as you continue to support these MSM good-for-nothings, the longer their propaganda will continue to rule not only this country, but you…

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      February 14, 2024 at 14:42

      Never forget that it was Bill Clinton who signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which removed the ban on monopoly ownership of newspapers and radio/TV stations. Since then, the mainstream became owned by just a handful of conglomerates who control editorial policy and censor anything offensive to the oligarchs.

  35. February 14, 2024 at 08:26

    Thank you Patrick. We all remember the NYT lies about WMD blasted out by Judy Miller. The NYT has been doing this for virtually all of its existence. When they do decent reporting it is always on topics that don’t hurt the powers that be. But they have never had a stomach for speaking truth to power because they are part of the power structure.

  36. Carolyn Zaremba
    February 14, 2024 at 05:28

    Brilliant article, Patrick. Kudos to Grayzone, too, whose reportage I’ve been following.

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