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NYT Apologizes Over Article on Slain IDF Soldier

New York Times apologizes for using a picture of the mother of the terrorist who murdered soldier Eden Atias.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/21/2013, 5:16 AM

Pvt. Eden Atias, hy"d
Pvt. Eden Atias, hy"d
Flash90

The New York Times has apologized for the picture it chose to go along with an article it published about last week’s brutal murder of IDF soldier Eden Atias.

Rather than showing a photo of the soldier, the article entitled “Attack on Israeli Worsens Tensions With Palestinians” instead featured a photo of the 16-year-old terrorist’s mother as she was visited by her relatives.

On Tuesday, the newspaper’s public editor Margaret Sullivan posted a blog in which she admitted that using the mother’s photo was the wrong decision.

“The photograph was an emotional and sympathetic portrait of a distraught Palestinian woman, whose son had killed an unsuspecting young Israeli soldier on a public bus. Although it was a powerful image (in fact, partly because it was such a powerful image), it was a poor choice, failing to put the focus where it belonged,” wrote Sullivan.

She went on to quote some of the angry letters she had received by readers who were upset by the photo.

For example, Allan Lieberman of Long Island wrote, “In the eyes of The New York Times, Israeli victims of terror are mere footnotes to a one-sided narrative of Palestinian suffering and Israeli responsibility for that suffering.”

Freya Morrison of Toronto wrote, “Using a photo of the murderer’s mother to represent the item regarding the fatal stabbing of Eden Atias is the epitome of slanted journalism and bad taste. Let’s get it straight. The Israeli soldier is the victim here. How dare you make it appear otherwise?”

Sullivan added that she had spoken to two senior editors at The Times and that both agreed that the photo “was a regrettable choice.”

“This did not represent the essence of the story, which was clearly the moment of the Israeli soldier being stabbed,” Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor in charge of photography, was quoted as having said.

The New York Times has been a vocal critic of Israel and of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Last week the newspaper published an editorial attacking Netanyahu for his opposition to a proposed deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran that would allow it to continue uranium enrichment.

“Unfortunately,” said the editorial, “the inconclusive negotiations have given an opening to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who excoriated the proposed agreement as the 'deal of the century' for Iran before it is made public, to generate more hysterical opposition.”

A previous editorial said Netanyahu’s forceful speech in the United Nations was "aggressive," and noted that Netanyahu used "sarcasm" and "combative words" to portray Iran's president Hassan Rouhani as a "charlatan."