First we have this expert, Michael Scheuer, who the New York Times often uses for his expertise on Middle East issues:
Israel is not only an unnecessary and self-made liability for the United States, it is an untreated and spreading cancer on our domestic politics, foreign policy, and national security.
The New York Times has given Michael Scheuer (former CIA agent who made his name -- well, sort of -- as "Anonymous" in a book about why the west is losing the war on terror) space for op-eds, and has routinely used him as an expert that can be relied upon to report about terrorism and the Middle East.
The Times search engine shows Michael Scheuer's name appearing over 2300 times in the paper.
Now we have another "expert' that the Times routinely uses to "explain" the Middle East to Americans. From the Weekly Standard:
Professor Juan Cole, in a rant against the influence of the Israel Lobby on American foreign policy, suggests that progressives set up an alternative to the nefarious influence peddlers who promote the interests of the Zionist regime at the expense of the American people. The name he suggests for this new organization: The America First Public Affairs Committee.
America First was, of course, the name of the isolationist and anti-Semitic group that became a powerful force in American politics during the 1930's and early 1940's. One would expect Juan Cole to be aware of this history. Not only is he an expert on the history of America's relationship to the Middle East but he also teaches at the University of Michigan. Detroit, which is close to Ann Arbor where the university is located, was the epicenter of anti-Semitic forces-led by the very influential Father Charles Coughlin- who promoted anti-Semitism (with help from Henry Ford) and isolationism in the face of the rise of the threat from Nazi Germany.
There is another parallel between Juan Cole and Father Coughlin. Not only do both promote anti-Semitic canards but both also dismissed concerns about the threat of genocidal adversaries who threatened not only Jews but Western civilization. Juan Cole, for example, was the "expert" used by the New York Times to dismiss the idea that Mahmoud Ahmadinajed meant what he said when he called for the destruction of Israel and America.
This was not ambitious enough for the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who boasts of his plans to destroy America and Israel. In widely reported remarks, he called for Israel to be wiped "off the face of the earth". Even media outlets distinctly unfavorable to Israel reported this boast. Less frequently quoted remarks from the same speech called for the destruction of America. However, alone among major and minor media outlets, the Times displayed an unseemly alacrity in ignoring the clear meaning of his remarks and has been promoting the view that this destruction was not what Ahamdinejad advocated.
The paper, in an article that ran in its influential Sunday edition, presented an almost delusional benign view of Ahamdinejad's words that virtually no one accepts (even groups with a history of animosity towards Israel): Ahmadinejad is merely calling for "regime change" in Israel. Somehow, the image of Ahamdinejad espousing the ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not ring true. Who did the Times find to validate its absurd view?
How many times has the Times referred to Juan Cole ? 1940 times. He was former president of the Middle East Studies Association which may account for the Times reliance on his views; but the MESA has been roundly criticized as a politicized group of academics who push an agenda rather than engage in reputable scholarship. The fall of the prestige of the MESA has led to the founding of an alternative academic group , with the assist of one of the world's most lionized scholars, Bernard Lewis.
I reiterate, why can't the New York Times find Middle East experts who don't have a visceral loathing for Israel and Jews and who don't promote anti-Semitic canards?