Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 12/08/2011: Max Blumenthal

From DG:
1) Considering the source

A few months ago, the Columbia Journalism Review published an essay Conflict in Israel? by Max Blumenthal. Stringing together a number of disparate facts Blumenthal alleged that the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief had a conflict of interest.

The public editor of the New York Times, Arthur Brisbane, concluded that while the appearance on conflict, the case for an actual conflict of interest was "slender."

After the Mavi Marmara raid, The Lede blogger, Robert Mackey, quoted Blumenthal arguing that Israel had doctored the audio of a transmission of the raid. The IDF later explained that the original audio had been edited for clarity, but not as Blumenthal alleged (and Mackey parroted) that Israel had added its own audio to make the Mavi Marmara "activists" look worse.

Finally, a few weeks ago Patrick Pexton, the ombudsman of the Washington Post quoted Blumenthal regarding a blog that Jennifer Rubin had tweeted about.

That's two public editors, a magazine devoted to journalism, and a reporter covers blogging all relied on Max Blumenthal. Why is this relevant?

Because it now appears that Blumenthal is a liar. Jeffrey Goldberg checked with a recent source of Blumenthal for a damaging story about Israel and the source claims that she never said what was quoted. (via memeorandum)

If this was the first time Blumenthal prevaricated that might be one thing. But Elder of Ziyon noted that Blumenthal's history is dodgy.

So will these guardians of media integrity (the public editors and CJR) acknowledge that someone they've relied on in the past is a liar? Or is dishonesty in criticism of Israel legitimate?

In the case of Mackey the story is different. He resents being portrayed as anti-Israel. So if his source which is critical is dishonest, will he admit it? Or does Mackey judge credibility by how critical a source is of Israel?
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