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11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

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11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

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11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

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11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

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11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

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11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

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  Does the NY Times Factcheck Op-Eds?
AN ISRAELI WRITER MAKES "A MISTAKE"?

Does the NY Times Factcheck Op-Eds?

Bogus evidence showing Arab apathy towards Palestinians

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Originally published on Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Ask the New York Times to publish a correction pointing out that Efraim Karsh's August 1 op-ed about Arab ambivalence towards Palestinians erroneously treated an unscientific website poll as if it were a meaningful survey of public opinion, and misrepresented even its findings.

On August 2, the New York Times published an op-ed arguing that Arabs do not care much about Palestinians--and that this is a good thing, especially for Palestinians. But the argument relied on a "poll" of the Arab world that does not exist.

The piece, by historian Efraim Karsh, intended to show that the "conventional wisdom" about the Israel-Palestine conflict--that Arabs "are so passionate about the Palestine problem"--is wrong. His main evidence is this: "What, then, are we to make of a recent survey for the Al Arabiya television network finding that a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents have no interest in the Palestinian/Israeli peace talks?"

But the "survey" was actually a website readers' poll, the kind one might find on many news websites--and the kind of thing no one would take as a serious expression of public sentiment on any issue.

Even this largely meaningless data was misrepresented by Karsh, as he conflated concern about "the Palestine problem" with interest in "Palestinian/Israeli peace talks." As James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute (Huffington Post, 8/2/10) pointed out:

The actual question makes no mention of "Palestine" or "Palestinians." Rather, it asks respondents about their level of interest in the "Middle East peace process"--to which 71 percent indicate "no interest." Given the lack of results and the repeated disappointments and frustrations experienced during just the last two decades of the so-called "Middle East peace process," this lack of interest displayed by respondents in the Al Arabiya website question is hardly surprising.

After recalling various incidents where Arab governments have abused Palestinians, Karsh closed the piece by arguing that "it is a positive sign that so many Arabs have apparently grown so apathetic about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict"--a clear misreading of the unscientific "poll" Karsh was citing. He concluded that "the sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement."

Karsh's claim that the Arab public is presently "apathetic" about the plight of Palestinians rests on an unreliable Internet poll, and on excluding other polling that would suggest precisely the opposite. According to the Zogby/University of Maryland poll of Arab public opinion (5/09), 76 percent of respondents put "the Palestinian issue" as either the "most important" issue or as one of their "top 3 priorities."

In a piece about how the Times edits op-ed contributions (7/31/05), the section's editor David Shipley assured readers that articles are fact-checked: "While it is the author's responsibility to ensure that everything written for us is accurate, we still check facts--names, dates, places, quotations. We also check assertions. If news articles--from the Times and other publications--are at odds with a point or an example in an essay, we need to resolve whatever discrepancy exists."

The Times should adhere to that standard in this case.


ACTION:

Ask the New York Times to publish a correction pointing out that Efraim Karsh's August 1 op-ed about Arab ambivalence towards Palestinians erroneously treated an unscientific website poll as if it were a meaningful survey of public opinion, and misrepresented even its findings.

CONTACT:
New York Times
Op-Ed Page Editor
David Shipley
shipley@nytimes.com


Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to fair@fair.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.



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This story was published on August 4, 2010.

 

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