Whose Opinion Matters? A Look at the New York Times
Does the New York Times Publish All the Opinions that are Fit to Print?
Are major media giving undue preference to anti-Israel opinions? Is there an obligation to publish pieces representing both sides of controversial issues?
HonestReporting typically focuses on how Israel is covered in the news sections of the mainstream media, but opinion pages also greatly influence perceptions of Israel.
This is the first in a series of HonestReporting reports that will examine which opinions various news organizations decide are worthy of publishing. We start with the New York Times, where we found that the overwhelming number of editorials, columns and op-eds represent perspectives that object to Israel or Israeli policies. Any reader exposed to these views, almost exclusively, over the course of twelve months will undoubtedly form a perspective skewed with a bias against Israel.
The Role of Opinion in Journalism
Publishing opinions — whether their own or from outside experts — allows the media to expose the public to different ways of looking at and understanding current events. As long as it is clear to the reader that this is opinion rather than fact, editorials, columns and op-eds have an important role to fill in news reporting.
With that in mind, we reviewed a whole year’s worth of opinion pieces from the New York Times. We analyzed almost 100 editorials, columns and op-eds. Any opinion piece where Israel or the diplomatic process was the subject was studied. While one can argue the impact of a single article critical of Israel, there is no question that a year’s worth of material from a variety of different sources will make an impact.
Our conclusion? The New York Times publishes anti-Israel opinions far more than those supporting Israel or critical of the Palestinian Authority.