Saturday, June 28, 2008

Boston Globe reporter's emails reveal anti-Israel bias

Hillel Stavis of Solomonia has uncovered an email exchange revealing a shocking lack of objectivity in Boston Globe reporter Victoria Cheng's coverage of the so-called "Cambridge Peace Commision". It seems that Cheng, a city desk reporter who may be a bit out of her depth in covering the complexities of international affairs, had some trouble maintaining a healthy skepticism with respect to the conclusions of a "fact-finding mission" to Bethlehem concerning Israel's security barrier conducted by the commision and some supportive Cambridge residents.

At her editor's instructions, in order to maintian the appearance of objectivity, Cheng buried in her unquestioning transmission of a report on the evils of Israel's security barrior, a very mild defense of the barrier by Nancy Kaufman of the Jewish Community Relations Council. A delegate to the Cambridge Peace Commision wrote Cheng in response that "Nancy Kaufman recycles the myth that the wall that pens Bethlehem's population is for Israel’s security…" A Commisioner wrote to Cheng complaining that the defense of Israel's policy "struck a discordant note" in an otherwise good report.

Here from Solomonia, is what Cheng emailed in response:

Reporter Cheng, far from having her hackles raised by partisan letter writers telling her how to do her job, was remarkably compliant and in obvious sympathy with her critics. Including Nancy Kaufman's rather tepid defense of the security barrier as a defense against terror attacks was not Ms. Cheng's idea, she wrote. You see, it was her editor's fault. Had she had her way, no dissenting views would have been presented in her column. Here is an excerpt from Ms. Cheng's email dated December 23rd, 2007:

After I submitted my version on Tuesday, my editor got back to me and said that his 'defensive driving' antenna was signaling that we might want to include a quote from somebody who was in favor of the wall. I added this quote in response to his request…In an effort to present a view that might contrast with the quote from the Jewish Community Relations Council, I added Cathy's [Cathy Hoffman, Director of the Cambridge Peace Commission] statement about humanized exchanges with Palestinians.

Ms. Cheng concludes by writing,

…I am sincerely sorry that I couldn't do justice to your trip and I thank you for the understanding you have expressed thus far...please also accept my apologies.


In a separate email, the Globe reporter further ingratiated herself to the political pilgrims:

I did indeed speak to Nancy Kaufman and the quote is from our conversation. I understood the problems with what she said at the time [emphasis added] and want to assure you that I would have included more nuanced contextualization of her quote if not for the extremely tight word count.

In closing, Ms. Cheng writes:

I would prefer if you do not mention what I told you about how editing for this article unfolded in the specific detail I revealed to you...I would rather you present it as my simply having told you that I added the quote from the Jewish Community Relations Council in response to a request from him [her editor].

I hope this does not make your task more difficult and I wish you the best of luck. Let me know if I can help out in any way.

Warm wishes,

Read the whole story, including links to background concerning the Cambridge Peace Commision's anti-Israel activism under the aegis of the municipal government, here: Solomonia: Emails Reveal: Boston Globe Reporter Sucks Up to the Cambridge Peace Commission.


Anonymous said...

For the record, Victoria Cheng is a freelancer who writes for a bunch of outlets, not just the Globe. You might let her editors know about this.

Anonymous said...

After this exposure of the Globe e-mail exchange, the Cambridge Peace Commission deleted all their servelist e-mails which were previously publicly archived. As soon as the light has been shined on these "peaceniks", they are scurrying like rats, trying to cover their tracks.


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