The New York Times has continued its apparent bias against Israeli Prime Minister with a story Friday wrongly alleging that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress before President Barack Obama’s was notified. In fact, Netanyahu only accepted after the White House knew about the speech. The story has since been corrected online, but the incorrect version will misinform print readers today.
Here is the original claim, in the print edition:
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Thursday that Mr. Netanyahu had called him the previous afternoon to explain why he had accepted an invitation to speak to Congress without first notifying the White House. [emphasis added]
Here is the revised paragraph, online:
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Thursday that Mr. Netanyahu had called him the previous afternoon to explain why the White House had been circumvented before he was invited to speak before Congress. [emphasis added]
And here is the correction at bottom, online:
An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.
The mistake is significant. The claim that Netanyahu accepted Boehner’s invitation before the White House knew about the speech is central to the “behind Obama’s back” meme that has informed much commentary on the topic.
There is evidence that Netanyahu was in communication with Boehner about the possibility of an invitation via Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. However, that is far less egregious than the sequence suggested by the Times‘ original reported sequence of events.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak