New York Times Mideast Bureau Churn

May 24, 2008 Published under Israel, Media and Alternative Media, Palestine

The New York Times periodically rotates bureau chiefs and reporters across cities and regions.  When tracking the Jerusalem bureau, it is interesting (and sad perhaps) to notice a trend where many of them arrive with a positive outlook and are moved elsewhere after they start adopting an increasingly dour (if not pathologically cynical) perspective with regards to peace prospects.  Steven Erlanger used to write extremely insightful and diverse stories, then slowly gave in to total bleakness, and now I notice he is writing out of France, as he has eased Isabelle Kershner into the position.  She seems to be much more balanced on the topic.  Will she also be overcome by despair before too long?  I recall years ago noticing how Clyde Haberman went through this arch of perspectives, from positive to balanced to pessimistic.  Peter Bennett seems to have avoided the curse, but it is quite hard, perhaps impossible – and arguably it is a sign of dark wisdom.

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