Understanding a New York Times Israel-based journalist

A fascinating exchange between Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times and Jewish academic Jerome Slater. It’s very revealing of the mindset required to work for the leading American paper. “Balance” is key (because Israel and the Palestinians are clearly equals in terms of power on the ground.)

Perhaps the most interesting part is this from Rudoren (who is Jewish and the idea that the paper would hire an Arab in this position is seemingly incomprehensible):

My biggest concern in your note is your assumptions about me and my views. You seem to include me in a group called “liberal Jewish Zionists” and I don’t know why you do. I’m a journalist. Yes, I’m Jewish, both by birth and by choice in terms of how I live my life. But otherwise, I’m pretty category-free beyond being a professional observer. So please don’t make such assumptions.

I do not have a side in it, I am interested in telling about all sides. What I am perhaps most interested in exploring is what lives between the sides. And I don’t think it’s fair to assume that my doing that means somehow I am not taking my responsibilities seriously enough. I am working hard and long, consulting widely and deeply, and absorbing everything as fast as I can.…  The two profiles we’re discussing were two of dozens of stories I have filed since arriving.…  A lot of them have been in the “serious and substantive” vein. Others have been lighter, more featurey. I believe strongly in a diverse, balanced, well-rounded report, and will continue to try to do major analyses as well as profiles, even if the news cycle grows more intense.

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