What presidential campaign reporting is to political junkies, the naming of a new New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief is to the most vociferous partisans in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's red meat for people on both sides.
The Times is arguably the world's most influential newspaper and the Jerusalem job is among its most visible perches. That means only the thick-skinned need apply. I'm talking rhino-hide thick.
Just about every story produced by the Jerusalem bureau -- for which the bureau chief is deemed responsible by friend and foe alike -- is perceived by partisans to be of ultimate importance in the closely watched, extraordinarily complex and seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It matters little if yesterday's story went your way, or that tomorrow's may as well. We're talking about virtually daily conflict reporting in which every ephemeral sentence is subject to microscopic scrutiny. Because who knows when some verb or noun chosen hastily under deadline pressure will sway world opinion?
The charges of bias fly fast and furious. And they come, at one time or another, from just about every faction -- from the far-right and the far-left, from Israelis and Palestinians, from those in-country and those outside it. From every angry troll with a keyboard.
(Nor does the partisan crowd seem to know or care that editors may chop copy for length, may change verbs or nouns on a whim, choose the accompanying art, and write the headline. The person in the byline always gets the blame.)
Oy, the pressure -- which I've written about before.