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August 22, 2016 11:46 am

The New York Times Is Too Busy Ogling ‘Bikini Moms’ to Bother With the Crown Heights Pogrom

avatar by Ira Stoll

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A young Jewish boy and his father after being beaten by a black mob in the 1991 Crown Heights riots.

A Jewish boy and his father, beaten by a black mob in the 1991 Crown Heights riots. Photo: Wikipedia.

It’s starting to look like a pattern: the Times post-Holocaust Holocaust obsession is crowding other Jewish-related news out of the newspaper.

Since we last remarked upon this problem with the Times earlier this month, the newspaper has piled on with even more coverage of World War II and its aftermath, while neglecting or ignoring contemporary news.

Astonishingly, the Times has provided no coverage at all in its print pages, at least so far as I can tell, of the 25th anniversary of the Crown Heights riot. This is a stunning lapse that puts the Times far behind its competitors. The Wall Street Journal had a story. The Daily News had a column. The New York Post had a column by Seth Lipsky. The New York Times, by sharp contrast, had nothing at all in print; online it ran a couple of dispatches provided by the Associated Press news wire. Meanwhile, a Times metro staff reporter who might have otherwise been free to cover the Crown Heights story was instead busy at a beach club. In the fifth installment of an ongoing series, he was reporting breathlessly on “topless sunbathers,” and ogling at what the newspaper describes as “striking” “bikini moms,” women that other viewers might simply find leathery.

Had the Times bothered to cover the Crown Heights anniversary, it might have had to confront its own failure back at the time, a journalistic travesty memorably described firsthand by Times veteran Ari Goldman in a 2011 Jewish Week article headlined “Telling It Like It Wasn’t.”

Nor was the Crown Heights anniversary the only big Jewish news the Times missed. Remember Avigdor Lieberman, the defense minister whose appointment by Prime Minister Netanyahu whipped the New York Times into a frenzy of panicked opposition to this “extremist” and “far-right” personality? As Mosaic (an online publication edited by the shrewd Neal Kozodoy) and David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy both noticed and reported, Lieberman’s “first major initiative regarding the West Bank has been to expand the access of Palestinians living in Areas A and B (under, respectively, complete and partial Palestinian Authority control) to economic opportunities in Area C, which remains under direct Israeli control.”

In other words, the Times put a lot of effort into hyping up fear about Lieberman’s supposed extremism. But when Lieberman makes the Times look foolish by acting to make life better for West Bank Palestinian Arabs and contradicting the Times’ dire predictions, the Times ignores it.

While ignoring the Crown Heights anniversary and the Lieberman initiative, the Times has been busy indulging its after-the-fact obsession with the Holocaust, documenting even the most incremental developments at length. The past few days of the Times have included:

  • A 1,300 word article by a child of Holocaust survivors who claimed “I grew up hearing other American Jews speak of Palestinians in pre-genocidal ways.”
  • An 800-word dispatch from Poland under the headline “Nazi Gold Train May Not Exist, but That Doesn’t Stop Diggers.”
  • A 600-word story from Berlin headlined “Auschwitz Survivors, in Their 90s, Urge Germany to Act on War Crimes Case.”
  • An 800-word antiques column about a Polish-Jewish artist last heard from in a postcard sent from “Majdanek, a concentration camp near Lublin, Poland.”
  • A 450-word review of a German-language movie about “Bauer, a German Jew, serving as an attorney general in West Germany in 1957. Part of his work is to track down former Nazi officials, and he’s increasingly thwarted by superiors and underlings who are still sympathetic to the Third Reich.”

Was it all this post-Holocaust Holocaust coverage that meant there wasn’t room in the Times to remember the Crown Heights riot or to report on Avigdor Lieberman’s initiative? Or was it the five-part series on the beach club including the “bikini moms” who the Times reporter finds “glamorous”? No one can say for sure, but it is certainly a disappointment to anyone relying on the Times for accurate or comprehensive coverage of today’s Jewish story.

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

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Every NY daily had several pages of coverage for several days. They covered a press conference by Mr. Rosenbaum upon his arrival for the 25th anniversary , the meeting between Mr Rosenbaum and Mr Cato and the memorial service held by Zmt Rosenbaum at the site of his brothers killing.
    Every major TV outlet NY 1, NBC CBS WABC FOX NEWS11 News 12 including a live interview with Mr Rosenbaum on good morning NY was done during this time, again multiple times.
    So the question remains , where was the NY Times, maybe their motto should me all the news that fits to read!
    It’s a wonder that Mr Rosenbaum still makes front page stories after 25 years, but not for the NY times , not even on their back pages!

  • Myron Slater

    We all know how the NY Times has always been anti-Israel and antisemitic. It’s a rag that caters to the Jew haters, and does not”print the truth, nothing but the truth”.

  • Bruce Kugler

    It is the same with NPR, only worse bias reporting on almost nothing about Israel from the point of view Israeli’s, and selectively focusing on, and highlighting the “victim’s” Palestinian perspective. The way NPR gets around this is to have occasional programs aired on the Shoah, which is insulting and patronizing, and done I’m convinced, for one reason only – to keep Jewish contributions from mostly older Jews flowing in. Here, here, Jew, here’s another one on the Shoah, we’re sensitive to the concerns of Jews. Nothing, dada, about the hell kids are facing on campus’ throughout the U.S., and the behaviors and intent of Justice For Palestine, the whacky Divestment movement, etc. Abbas tells his people to go out and cut Israeli Jews, they do, and NPR condones it through it’s silence. And the most hurtful thing are not non Jews, but those of us, Jews, who can’t distinguish those who only mean harm to Israel and Jews from those attempting to protect a people and their country once again. The NY Times is right in there afraid of appearing to “Jewish,” too concerned about it’s own. How come women don’t have that problem, or African Americans, Hispanics, other minorities, as much as Jews do ? Why is our shame and guilt so debilitating in not being able to protect ourselves when it’s evident there’s a threat ?

    • Bruce Kugler

      Are we all meschuga ?

  • stevenl

    NYT leader of mass media antisemitism. It is becoming slowly irrelevant. I know several people who have cancelled their subscription.

  • Would it be too cynical to suspect the New York Times of intending to cause “Holocaust Stories Fatigue”?

  • Dov

    The other NY newspaper called The Post has always published pictures of women in hardly a stich of clothing, and the Times finally figured out that to sell papers, they have to lower themselves like the Post. So the Times has now come out of the closet and shown the world that it is and always was the rag newspaper in NY.

  • Gary Dalin


  • Mark Solomon

    Another outrage – this morning’s NPR news reported that the Crown Heights riot occurred because of the “deaths” of a young black boy and a Jewish man. Not only do they obfuscate cause and effect (the Jewish man was murdered during the riot – it was not a cause of the riot), but they imply a moral equivalency between the accidental death of Gavin Cato from a car accident, and the deliberate murder of Yankel Rosenbaum by a raging mob. And not one word about the incitement of the black community to violence by the so-called civil rights activist and Obama advisor Al Sharpton.

    Mainstream American media has long ceased to be a source of reliable reportage on issues of concern to Jews. Thank G-d for the Algemeiner and other resources for Jewish news.

  • Ari Gold

    Crown Heights today is not defined by racial. Today it is seen as the ground zero of gentrification, which is bringing into the area a steady influx of upwardly mobile whites from all over the world. Real estate developers and apartment building owners see these newcomers as growing bank accounts. And the rich get richer as the poor and the unemployed (mostly blacks) are forced to leave long-time dwellings for cheaper residences, often outside the city.