The New York Times used its pages Monday to float the content of John Kerry’s major speech outlining the Obama administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East.

The paper even allowed State Department officials to speak anonymously so that they could massage their boss’ end-of-year message.

The Times story reads:

A senior State Department official said that Mr. Kerry, who will be out of office in three weeks, would use his remarks to “address some of the misleading critiques” directed at the Obama administration. […]
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a coming speech, said Mr. Kerry would also argue that, with the notable exception of Israel, there was a “complete international consensus” against further settlements in areas that might ultimately be the subject of negotiations .

Interestingly enough, the article then claims, “it is unclear what Mr. Kerry hopes to achieve from the speech.”

Did the Times not ask its anonymous official for that information? Or was its anonymous official only willing to speak so long as he could benefit the State Department?

What’s the point of allowing a government official to speak anonymously, and to do so in in terms that favor federal officials, if you can’t answer basic questions like, “What’s the purpose of this speech?”

Anyway, though the Times fails to get an answer for that question, it does go to great lengths explaining why Kerry is now giving the speech. The paper’s nameless source claimed the secretary of state wanted to give the speech earlier, but was held back by White House officials.

The source also said Kerry wanted to give the speech last week, but changed his mind after “Egypt, under pressure from Mr. Netanyahu, postponed voting on” a United Nations resolution “condemning Israel’s continued building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

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The United States, for its part, abstained from voting on the resolution, which the Times reported “infuriat[ed]” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The report, which does little more than float Kerry’s upcoming speech to test for reactions, ends with the say-so of yet even more anonymous officials, this time supposed aides to the secretary of state himself.

“Mr. Kerry’s desire, his aides said, is to focus the discussion on several of the long­running disputes that have upended decades of negotiation attempts: where to draw borders, how to establish security, the status of Jerusalem, how to handle mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states. Each is filled with land mines, and Mr. Kerry’s speech will no doubt contain many of the code words that mean so much to both sides, and that have hardened so many positions over the years,” the Times reported.

In reporting, there are times when it’s necessary to grant sources anonymity so they can speak without fear of retaliation. This Kerry article does not really seem to justify that.

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John Kerry rips Israel in speech advocating two-state solution

Top Story

‘We cannot defend and protect Israel if we allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed’

12/28/16 11:55 AM

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