The New York Times has been waging a not-so-subtle war on Trump’s “Fake News” campaign with its full page messages, such as the one above. Or this one.
Clearly, this is a very thoughtful campaign by the Editors at the New York Times to discredit Trump’s war on facts and on the news media. Good for them.
We should be asking ourselves, however, why the NYT Editors chose to focus on “truth” and not “facts.” Some might argue that “truth” and “facts” are synonymous, there is no difference. In an ideal world, I might agree.
The wise ones know we don’t live in that utopia.
We live in a world where the media giants, the consolidated empires like the Sinclair Broadcast Group, massage and filter and repeat ad nauseum the “truth” they deem fit to share.
Few media sources disseminate outright lies and fabrications. There’s an element of “truth” in every story, whether you find it on Fox News, Rachel Maddow’s show or The New York Times. (I can hear my liberal friends howling “you can’t compare Fox News and The New York Times in the same breath!”)
What’s new is the relatively recent attack on the “truth” our commander-in-chief doesn’t like. He prefers the way Fox News massages the “truth” rather than the mainstream media that criticizes him, even trying to punish journalists with whom he disagrees.
But don’t be fooled. Both Fox News and The New York Times massage the truth to fit a worldview that they want you, the news consumer, to digest and accept.
One small example.
In the Spring of 2014, I read a New York Times story online that referred to the Gaza Strip as “occupied.” This story was published years after the State of Israel had formally removed its settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and Israel’s position was that it no longer “occupied” Gaza.
I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that The New York Times was not parroting Israel’s line, but instead acknowledging international law in a back-handed sort of way. Under international law, since Israel maintains “effective control” over the people of Gaza, it occupies the Gaza Strip.
A few hours later I returned to that same article online and found that the Editors had removed the term “occupied” and “occupation,” followed by a short disclaimer at the bottom noting that the original version had been a mistake. Over the next month, I engaged in a volley of letters back and forth with the Editors about this change. The New York Times Editors’ response to me is here.
Anyone who has been following The New York Times’ coverage of Israel-Palestine for any length of time understands that the paper massages the facts, at times more subtly than at other times, to favor Israel’s perspective.
If Americans are interested in the “truth” as presented by Israel and The New York Times, then some facts will be highlighted and other facts ignored or deliberately buried, as in the case of Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is occupied; the State of Israel is the occupation power; the future of the Palestinians and Israelis depends on Americans understanding the facts.
Then let’s tell The New York Times and every media outlet that we want the FACTS. With the facts we will be the judge of what is the truth.