Kerry's Criticism of Palestinian Terror Scrubbed From New York Times

New York Times building
November 21, 2014

The New York Times edited out all mentions of a statement made by secretary of state John Kerry that condemned Palestinian leaders for calling for "days of rage" against Israel and called the synagogue attack "an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder."

An analysis of the New York Times in the Times of Israel shows that parts of this statement that initially appeared in stories regarding the terrorist attack were scrubbed from the stories before the paper went to print.

It was an important and newsworthy indictment by one of the highest ranking US officials. But readers picking up a copy of The New York Times this morning learned nothing about it. That’s because the newspaper, whose reporters had at one point quoted the most dramatic portion of Kerry’s condemnation, first replaced it with a less pointed passage, and later excised any reference whatsoever to the comments. [...]

Very early in its coverage of the incident, The New York Times quoted Kerry’s call on the Palestinian leadership "to condemn this in the most powerful terms."

A few hours later, shortly before 8 a.m. (EDT), the most damning and newsworthy of Kerry’s statement was added to the copy. "Secretary of State John Kerry of the United States called the attack ‘a pure result of incitement,’" the newspaper acknowledged.

But then the backtracking began, until the story was ultimately reshaped to better fit the newspaper’s world view. Around noon, the quote of Kerry blaming the attack on Palestinian incitement disappeared from The New York Times website. It was replaced with a quote in which Kerry called on Palestinians to condemn the attack and "restrain any kind of incitement"—not quite as powerful as the Secretary of State assigning responsibility for the attack directly on the Palestinians and their leaders, but still at least an acknowledgment of his attention to incitement.

By the morning, all traces of Kerry's statement had vanished from the paper.

By the time the paper went to print, the word "Kerry" didn’t appear in a single Mideast news story. The word "incitement" appeared twice — in both instances, it was a reference to Mahmoud Abbas’s allegation that Israel is supposedly guilty of incitement against the al Aqsa mosque, a holy Muslim shrine built on the holiest site in Judaism.