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March 22, 2016 7:33 am

On the Question of Trump’s ‘Antisemitism,’ the New York Times Contradicts Itself

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Donald Trump delivering his address at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. Photo: Youtube/Screenshot.

Donald Trump delivering his address at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. Photo: Youtube/Screenshot.

Two articles in the New York Times, published on successive days, have served up diametrically opposed accounts of whether people think Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, is antisemitic.

Monday’s article, by my former New York Sun and Forward colleague Jonathan Mahler, reported, “Virtually no one thinks Mr. Trump is anti-Semitic.”

Tuesday’s article, which carried the joint bylines of Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman, reported that Trump mentioned in his remarks at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that his daughter Ivanka “is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.”

The Tuesday Times article goes on: “The remarks reflected Mr. Trump’s genuine frustration at being labeled anti-Semitic by some critics.”

Who are these “critics”? The Times doesn’t say. But it is a jarring juxtaposition. One day, the newspaper tells us that “virtually no one thinks Mr. Trump is anti-Semitic.” The next day, the paper turns around and announces, to the contrary, that enough “critics” have labeled Mr. Trump “anti-Semitic” to have genuinely frustrated the candidate himself.

How the Times was able to determine that Trump’s frustration was genuine is another interesting question, one upon which, alas, the newspaper doesn’t share any answers with readers.

Perhaps the use of the word “virtually” allows both of these Times articles to be accurate simultaneously in some hyperlegal, technical sense. A reader could also come away with the impression, though, that there’s either some kind of internal dispute within the Times on the topic, or that the second-day crew unearthed “some critics” that Mr. Mahler’s first-day dispatch overlooked. It would be a fine area for some additional reporting by the Times. Perhaps the paper will see fit to issue a correction to one of the two articles.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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