New York Times cries “fake news” about real news from Palestine

You may remember the reporter and anchor Campbell Brown, who worked for NBC and then CNN before the latter dropped her for low ratings (I liked her reporting). She then took to writing op-eds and turned herself into a well-known advocate for school choice, becoming more openly conservative along the way.

Now, as Nellie Bowles just reported in the New York Times (click on screenshot below), Brown was hired last year by Facebook to act as a media liaison and fix the company’s tarnished reputation as a purveyor of news.

One of the projects in which Brown is engaged is producing news shows for Facebook alone—shows featuring name anchors. I don’t know whether this is wise, or will succeed if it’s tried, but at any rate this post is not to criticize Brown, but rather Nellie Bowles and the New York Times.  For in her article, Bowles holds up as “fake news” the report that the Palestinian government pays terrorists for killing Israelis, both civilians and soldiers. Here’s what she says (my emphasis):

Facebook — with its reach of more than 2.2 billion users — already holds enormous power over the news that people consume. But now it is making its first venture into licensed news content. Facebook has set aside a $90 million budget to have partners develop original news programming, and Ms. Brown is pitching publishers on making Facebook-specific news shows featuring mainstream anchors, according to two people involved in or briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details were confidential.

Once those shows get started, Ms. Brown wants to use Facebook’s existing Watch product — a service introduced in 2017 as a premium product with more curation that has nonetheless been flooded with far-right conspiracy programming like “Palestinians Pay $400 million Pensions For Terrorist Families” — to be a breaking news destination. The result would be something akin to an online competitor to cable news.

As Tablet magazine points out in two pieces (here and here), however, this is not fake news or a “far-right conspiracy theory, but is in fact true. It’s well known to anybody who even knows a bit about this situation (the figures are publicly available) that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays stipends not only to Palestinian terrorists who are convicted and languish in Israeli jails (the money goes to their families), but also to families of “martyrs” who kill Israelis—both soldiers and civilians. Here’s some information from the two Tablet pieces, which also notes that the PA budgeted $403 million for this purpose in 2018:

Every year, the PA has released a similar sum, roughly over one billion shekels (approx. $320 million dollars) per year for the past four years. I’m only providing the past four years as an example, but if we went back further, we would see that the number has also been higher than one billion. Due to international pressure, the Palestinian Authority decided that it was unable to directly pay the money, and so from its budget, through a trick that satisfied many international entities, they transferred the money, not directly to a ministry responsible for payments to prisoners, but to the PLO so that the terrorists’ salaries could be formally paid through Palestinian National Fund, which was declared afterward by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to be a terror-supporting organization. But this money all comes from the Palestinian Authority’s own budget.

The PA’s official support of terror is a deliberate and official act of state: It occurs on the basis of PA laws that have been passed since 2004, and provide legal grounds for payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of Terrorist killed carrying out terror attacks against Israel. These are explicit PA laws, which mandate payments to prisoners of war, or as they call them “al-asra”; a normal prisoner is “sijir” in Arabic. “Prisoners of war and released prisoners of war,” says the second clause of the law,“are an inseparable part from the fighting sector of Palestinian society.” On that basis, the PA has determines that Palestinian terrorists are entitled to “heroic treatment and recognition.”

I’m appalled that the New York Times (which I see as becoming increasingly authoritarian Leftist) would impugn a fact as a “conspiracy theory”. If you don’t believe the Tablet, do some Internet digging yourself.

And, by the way, these payments are illegal under international law. But of course Western media, committed to its narrative, chooses not to mention this.  Only one country in the Middle East is repeatedly accused of violating international law. But you won’t find Israel paying IDF soldier, or anyone else, a bonus for killing Palestinians. From the Tablet:

. . . Palestinian payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists who died carrying out terror attacks stand in complete contravention to all signed agreements in the Oslo Accords, and they stand in complete contravention to international law. The problem is that until now the international community and Israel have willfully overlooked the problem of the Palestinian Authority terror payments. There is a fear in Israel and abroad that if Israel or the West acted against these payments that the PA would collapse, resulting in even greater security chaos. In addition, the international community has excused these payments by defining them as social welfare payments to families, and not as to what they really are, rewards for terrorism, and incentives to commit future terror attacks.

h/t: Malgorzata

32 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    This is why I dropped my subscription to the NYT. It is going down the same rat hole as all of the others.

  2. Craw
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the official NYT line that columnists don’t need to be accurate?

  3. D Hayes
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Washington Post fact checkers came up with this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/03/14/does-the-palestinian-authority-pay-350-million-a-year-to-terrorists-and-their-families/?utm_term=.add1b69901ff

    And the Wikipedia page gives a useful report on the source of controversy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Authority_Martyrs_Fund

    In summary, it is not a “right-wing conspiracy” but, to be fair, is probably a Right-Wing Exaggeration. On the other hand, calling an exaggerated estimate a “conspiracy” or fake-news is itself incredibly misleading–likely more misleading than the $400m figure.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the links. Very interesting.

  4. Paul S
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    They’ve added a correction.

    “Correction: April 23, 2018
    An earlier version of this article erroneously included a reference to Palestinian actions as an example of the sort of far-right conspiracy stories that have plagued Facebook. In fact, Palestinian officials have acknowledged providing payments to the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis or convicted of terrorist acts and imprisoned in Israel; that is not a conspiracy theory.”

    • ariel
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      So…. is Brown fake news or is it the NYT? 🙂

    • BJ
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      But nobody ever reads corrections 😦

      • rickflick
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Paul S did.

  5. Timothy Bagley
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Does it fall to the question of the reliability of one’s sources for news from Israel?

    For a different view of this question:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/03/14/does-the-palestinian-authority-pay-350-million-a-year-to-terrorists-and-their-families/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c527e1936a81

    • Paul S
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      There’s a few problems with this including the Palestinian claim that the terrorists are prisoners of war. Neither Palestine or Israel has declared war.
      This would be that same as incarcerated Latin Kings claiming they’re prisoners of war.

  6. BJ
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Inconvenient truths are now labeled “fake news” by the left. Anything that goes against the narrative is a “right-wing conspiracy.” Once again, the side for which I used to have some respect has simply decided to engage in a race to the bottom, while lamenting the tactics and claiming to be above them.

    The NYT used to be a lot more supportive of Israel (by “a lot more supportive,” I simply mean that they didn’t frequently lie about what was happening there in an effort to condemn Israel and prop up Palestine in the public consciousness), but it seems that, as a younger/less centrist/more activist/more regressive group of reporters takes over, that commitment to some truth is being thrown overboard. This appears to be what happens with any media outlet as younger lefties take over from older ones, and journalists schooled in the “try to be objective” theory are replaced by those schooled in the “use your platform for activism” theory. Many left and center-left institutions I used to respect have slowly but surely fallen to this, and it seems to be a downward spiral that keeps gaining speed once is begins. I read the NYT for many years before cancelling my subscription, and it has only become worse since I did.

    • Craw
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      “Demographic change” is a right-wing fake news conspiracy. Age is socially constructed.

    • Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      When I was growing up and the NYT was delivered to the house, it seems every edition had a pro-Israel story on Page One, below the fold, usually lower right.

      Someone could write a book on the sad tale of how the Left became anti-Semitic.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t “fake news” a Donald Trump conspiracy theory?

      • BJ
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Not anymore! That’s the point.

  7. glen1davidson
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Rather ironic when NYT’s story on a fake news story is a fake news story.

    Glen Davidson

  8. Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    OT: It looks as though Count Dankula of YouTube dog salute range got off with a fine.

  9. rom
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The article retracted the conspiracy comment.

  10. Richard Sanderson
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Standards at the New York Times have been dropping for a while, like they have with much of the formerly liberal media. I say *former*, because, like the Guardian, Salon, Vice, Buzzfeed, etc. it has become much more regressive in recent years, and increasingly hostile to progressive and liberal values.

    Emotion and narrative are more important than facts, these days, for much of the media.

    • tomh
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      But fortunately not for commenters and critics.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      I hope this is the last gasp of postmodernism. Once things settle down, we’ll be back to plain old modernism.

    • Martin Levin
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      But how does that you FEEL?

  11. Diane Garlick
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    sub

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I think this post is a bit of an overreaction. The disputed statement appears parenthetically, between en dashes, buried in the tenth paragraph of a piece that looks to run about 3,000 words, and it’s been the subject of a published correction. The contention referenced therein is an exaggeration, although there’s no gainsaying that the Palestinian government engages in the reprehensible practice of paying substantial sums to those who engage in violence against Israelis. I see no reason to doubt the writer’s statement that the claim made its original Facebook appearance on far-right programming. The author of the piece, Nellie Bowles, isn’t someone I follow closely, but from what I’ve seen of her, she seems to cover the tech and Silicone valley beat without much regressive-left embellishment.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      “Silicon valley” — guess all those Trump paramours comin’ outta the woodwork have me thinking of the other substance. 🙂

    • Posted April 25, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Apparently because of the generally apolitical subjects of Ms. Bowles’ contributions her bias has escaped the editors’ attention. However, I find it worrying that you pick a random “tech-sis” and find such a view.

  13. Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Also note the asymmetry. It doesn’t justify any reprehensibility from either side, but when it exists and is not mentioned it makes one wonder. (One side receives explicitly military and diplomatic aid in addition to money; the other “just” money and less.)


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] so much, as it happens. As the blog Why Evolution Is True notes, these payments are real. The annual budgets are often hundreds of millions of dollars. Anyone who […]

  2. […] so much, as it happens. As the blog Why Evolution Is True notes, these payments are real. The annual budgets are often hundreds of millions of dollars. Anyone who […]

%d bloggers like this: