On December 27, 2015, the New York Times shared its thoughts for a “Year in Pictures.” The Sunday Review was dominated by the waves of refugees and migrants from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) as well as pictures of terrorism that touched much of the world. For the Times, this excluded Israel.
The Times led its discussion with an opening paragraph: “This was the year of the great unravelling, with international orders and borders challenged or broken, with thousands of deaths, vast flows of migrants and terrorist attacks on some of the most cherished symbols of civilization, both Western and Muslim.”
It continued with some reviews of terrorism: “Palmyra and Paris (twice), Aleppo, Homs, Kobani and even San Bernadino, Calif…. The outrages of Boko Haram and the Shabab in Africa. The abuse of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. The war in Ukraine and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. New tensions in the skies over the Baltics and a Russian plane shot down by a NATO country for the first time in decades.
The ruins still in Gaza, a year after a brutal and inconclusive war, and Israel hunkering down in a region losing its compass. Even the energetic secretary of State, John Kerry, has given up on serious negotiations for Mideast peace.”
In a year where Palestinian Arabs repeatedly attacked Israel civilians killing dozens, the Times decided to highlight the Gaza war of a year ago and dismissed the shift of the Arabs’ battlefront to Judea and Samaria from Gaza. It was not an oversight, as relayed in the Times’ actual pictures.
The chronology of pictures of the year included a number of pictures related to terrorist attacks:
- A large picture of politicians holding hands in Paris after the January attacks (no attribution given to the killers);
- A large picture in Kenya after students slaughtered in April (attribution to “Shabab militants”)
- A small picture in South Carolina in July where “A Confederate flag was removed from the state house after the massacre of black churchgoers in Charelston.”
- A large picture from Gaza in August with a caption “Concrete salvagers in a building destroyed by the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.”
- A large picture of a victim from the Paris attacks in November (no attribution of who were the terrorists)
- A medium sized picture of mourners in Paris honoring the victims of the November murders (no attribution)
- A large picture of mourners in Lebanon from terrorist bombings in November (no attribution)
- A small picture of people in California after a December attack with a caption “A candlelight vigil commemorated the victims of a mass shooting by a radicalized Muslim couple.”
What message could a person extract from the New York Times review of the significant events of the year? Much of the same message that the Times imparted throughout the year:
- Terrorist attacks in the United States were not as significant as attacks elsewhere in the world
- The Islamic State/ISIS was not labelled as responsible for any of the terrorist attacks in the world
- The dozens of Israelis killed in the fall of 2015 were not mentioned in text nor portrayed in pictures, as the Times did not view Israelis as terrorist victims
- Gazans were portrayed as victims, a year after their elected terrorist leaders launched their latest battle to destroy Israel and kill Israeli civilians.
The New York Times became more deliberate in separating radical Islam from global terrorism, just as President Obama did and while Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump drew attention to the issue. The only mention of Islam in the picture captions was in the very final picture of the year.
The Times has always been deliberate about Israel. Israelis who were shot, stabbed and run over were not victims of terrorism. Israelis did not suffer. Israelis did not mourn.
However, Palestinian Arabs who have continued to fight for the destruction of Israel were featured among pictures of the sufferers and mourners.
If the trends continue, the New York Times’ 2016 Year in Pictures” will likely feature the western world as the radical terrorists.
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