Some days the Newspaper of Record says a lot–not always in ways you might expect. Today (3/21/13) a story by Mark Landler and Rick Gladstone about allegations of chemical weapons in Syria includes something you see often–anonymous government sources. That can often be a bad thing; but today it's pretty useful: Two senior Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, said that Israel was sure that chemicals were used, but did not have details about what type of weapons were used, where they came from, when they were deployed, or by whom. [...]
NBC's Richard Engel report that "what we've been able to confirm" is that a Syrian convoy attacked by Israel "was packed with fairly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles." It is highly doubtful that Engel could "confirm" any such thing–unless by "confirm" he means that NBC is confirming that government sources are claiming what they are claiming.
When a family of nine is killed in an airstrike, what is the proper way to grieve? That question might not occur to you, but readers of the New York Times (11/20/12) were treated to correspondent Jodi Rudoren's unusual critique of a funeral for members of the Dula family, whose home in Gaza City was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. "There were few if any visible tears at the intense, chaotic, lengthy funeral," she wrote. "Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air to signal 'Allah is the only one,' defiant chants about resistance and calls for revenge, flags in [...]
You can learn a lot from reading the Corrections box in the New York Times–often because going back to read the story that is being corrected reveals more than the correction itself. On October 20, the Israeli navy intercepted another boat attempting to reach the Gaza Strip to deliver supplies in defiance of the Israeli blockade. In the October 21 edition of the Times, Jodi Rudoren filed a story about this news. But it was what she remembered about an earlier flotilla that was most revealing. In 2010 Israeli forces launched a deadly assault on the Mavi Marmara boat, killing [...]