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October 2, 2016 7:03 am

Two New York Times Corrections Signal Problems in Coverage of Jews, Israel

avatar by Ira Stoll

Email a copy of "Two New York Times Corrections Signal Problems in Coverage of Jews, Israel" to a friend
A Star of David. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Star of David. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The corrections column of the New York Times is a fine window into the errors in the newspaper’s coverage of Israel and Jewish matters. In recent days, it has included two items worthy of note.

Friday’s correction column had this one:

The Personal Health column on Tuesday, about resilience after the death of a spouse, misstated the length of the Jewish period of mourning for a spouse. It is 30 days, not a year. (The one-year period is for those who have lost a parent.)

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That correction follows a series of similar New York Times corrections in the past six months on other matters of Jewish literacy, including whether beef tenderloin is kosher and how many pages are in the Talmud. The paper just can’t seem to write about this stuff without getting things wrong.

And Thursday’s Times correction column featured another Jewish-related correction, this one belatedly rectifying an error that I pointed out in The Algemeiner a month earlier. The original Times article had reported, “With the influence of conservative Judaism on the rise in Israel, a country long dominated by secular elites is struggling with its identity and values.” I had written in response, “What’s ‘on the rise’ in Israel isn’t ‘conservative Judaism,’ but Orthodox Judaism.”

Sure enough, on Thursday the Times belatedly acknowledged its error, conceding, “Because of an editing error, an article on Aug. 29 about a crackdown by Israel’s culture ministry on immodest dress at government-sponsored musical events misidentified the strain of Judaism that is holding more influence in the current Israeli government. It is Orthodox Judaism, not Conservative Judaism.”

The inclusion of the phrase “because of an editing error” suggests that it was an editor, and not the new Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Peter Baker, who was to blame for the mistake.

A recent Times dispatch under Mr. Baker’s byline reports, “Former President Bill Clinton, host of the Oslo ceremony that marked Mr. Peres’s greatest achievement, headed straight from the airport to visit the coffin.”

It seems to me that “Peres’s greatest achievement” wasn’t the Oslo Accord but rather Israel’s nuclear deterrent. In the spirit of the High Holidays, I am going to give Mr. Baker a pass on that one and assume that it, too, was “an editing error.”

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

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  • dot_edu

    The New York Times deserves to be utterly condemned for its multi-decade relentless bias against the Jewish State and the Jewish faith and the Jewish people.

    Jews who purchase the New York Times also deserve to be utterly condemned, and those who also advertise in it deserve even greater condemnation.

  • Joy Daniels Brower

    This is definitely a case of the editor (Algemeiner/Ira Stoll) being a more accurate and truthful source than the edited (the NY Times)! Looks as if your work is never done, Mr. Stoll! So, keep up the good work and that eagle eye!

  • henrytobias

    Oh Come on, most of the correspondents who come to Israel, from whatever medium and country, are ignoramuses. There was an example of, I think it was Dan Rather, who didn’t know anything about the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel. They don’t know and are too full of themselves to ask. Although it is not a shadow of it’s former self I suppose working for TNYT still has some prestige.

  • Peter Joffe

    The New York Times is your daily dose of New York hatred and rubbish. Don’t buy this antisemitic hate sheet. The more who buy this rag the worse it will get.

  • watsa46

    Just as antisemitic as usual. And DUMB!

  • Marshall Schwartz

    As someone who has read the Times almost every day for more than 50 years, I would like to note that I can’t remember EVER seeing the Times declare that an error was the fault of a reporter. It’s ALWAYS an ‘editing error’.

  • Efram Paul

    Peter Baker IS an editing error.

  • Brooklyn Ave.

    It really is odd that the leading Newspaper in a so called Jewish City….can’t get anything right about Jews…AND shows a definite Bias against Israel…What the h*** is going on???

  • Brooklyn Ave.

    It really is odd that the leading Newspaper in a so called Jewish City….can’t get anything right about Jews…AND shows a definite Bias against Israel…What the hell is going on???

  • brynababy

    That’s a matter of opinion!

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