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November 14, 2016 12:26 am

New York Times Coverage of Jews, Israel, Is as Slanted as Its Coverage of Trump

avatar by Ira Stoll

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President-elevct Trump on 60 Minutes. Photo: Screenshot.

President-elevct Trump on 60 Minutes. Photo: Screenshot.

Some of the best illustrations of anti-Jewish bias by the New York Times come when the newspaper writes the same story about Judaism and another religion or culture. Then we have the chance to compare the results side by side.

I’ve written in the past about the issue of women-only hours in public swimming pools. When the separate swimming time was established to accommodate Muslims in Toronto, the Times praised it as a “model of inclusion.” When a pool in Brooklyn did it in part to accommodate Orthodox Jewish women, the Times wrote an editorial denouncing the practice and suggesting that the Jews smelled. Similarly, a Times column denounced the use of chickens in a Jewish ritual, but another Times article reported on a Senegalese ritual involving caged birds without making any objections on behalf of the welfare of the birds.

Yet the Times just seems to keep spitting out these examples of double standards in coverage, and the Jews seem to just always come out with a worse deal than the other groups the Times is writing about.

Example number one comes with New York Times arts section coverage of two different exhibits. One had to do with Jews: an exhibit at the New York Historical Society titled “The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World.” That article appeared inside the arts section of the newspaper. It ran for a mere 1100 words and was accompanied by three photographs. It concluded with a vague warning about “the kind of religious fervor that promotes a kind of violence against certain groups.” It wasn’t clear what religion that referred to, but it certainly was a negative reference.

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The second article was about an exhibit that had to do with Muslims: “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.” That show, even though it is at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., not in the New York Times prime readership area of New York, rates a review from the Times on the front cover of one of its weekend arts sections. Not only does the review of the Muslim exhibit get better placement than the review of the Jewish exhibit, it gets more space: nearly 1700 words, accompanied by seven photographs, covering a full page inside the paper and half of the section front — about three times as much newsprint as was devoted to the Jewish exhibit. And rather than warning ominously about the link between religion and violence, as the Times review of the Jewish exhibit did, the Times review of the Muslim exhibit was an unqualified, breathless, salivating rave: “It’s a glorious show… art of a beauty that takes us straight to heaven. And it reminds us of how much we don’t know — but, given a chance like this, will love to learn — about a religion and a culture lived by, and treasured by, a quarter of the world’s population… everything seems to glow and float, gravity-free… miraculously beautiful things.”

Two other recent examples of the Times double standard involve topics I have touched on earlier. The Times review of a new novel by Jonathan Safran Foer faulted it for being too particularly Jewish. “This aspect of the novel makes it feel a little restricted,” the Times reviewer complained. Yet a Times review of a movie about black people carried this passage:

Only after I had seen “Moonlight” for a third time — and only after a European acquaintance pointed it out to me — did I notice the almost complete absence of white people from the movie. I don’t bring this up to suggest that the movie or my admiration for it in any way “transcends” race. Nor do I want to damn this film, so richly evocative of South Florida that it raises the humidity in the theater, with the faint praise of universalism. To insist that stories about poor, oppressed or otherwise marginal groups of people are really about everyone can be a way of denying their specificity.

Got that? The Times faults the Jewish novel for not being about everyone, but praises the black movie for precisely the same quality. It’s a double standard, just as with the Times reviews of the two different museum exhibits.

Finally, after a recent piece I wrote about the Times’ weird coverage of a new Yasser Arafat museum in Ramallah, a reader tweeted to remark that she had recently visited the stunning Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv. “Dare I search NYT archives for coverage?” she asked. I did and didn’t find anything. It’s possible there was such coverage and I missed it or couldn’t find it in the Times archives, but if not, it sure looks like the Times found the opening of the Arafat museum news fit to print, but not the Rabin center.

As these examples mount, they erode the credibility of the Times just as surely as its front-page headline from last Sunday, “Hillary Clinton Appears to Gain Late Momentum on Surge of Latino Voters.” That story, published the Sunday before the election, reported, “Democrats continued to hold the upper hand, thanks in part to the changing nature of the electorate in the most crucial states.” The Times coverage of Jews and Israel is about as fair and balanced and accurate and reliable as its coverage of the presidential election was, which is to say, not very.

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


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  • cpa cpa

    This Jew stopped paying for a subscription to the NY Times years ago for this very reason. So ok, some of the recipes from the food section are excellent, such as from writer Melissa Clark, and science writer Andrew Pollack always hits it out of the park.

  • bopperman

    This kind of bias against the Jews is exactly why we in the ” Flyover ” country of America refer to it as ” The New York Slimes ” !

  • bargouti

    Trump should thank the NYT they did everything that they could to put Trump into the White House…With their usual biased and unreliable skewed reporting on Donald Trump….

  • Nemesis

    The entire editorial staff of the NYT can line up and kiss my Zionist ass.

  • peace2you2016

    The NYT editor has pledged to return to more truthful and balanced coverage of events in the future. That soul-searching viewpoint was commendable. I think it lasted about a day or two. About as long as it took for the Liberal trolls and pundits and so-called “press” to recover from their historic loss. I guess the violence and riots helped to clear their minds and get back on track.

  • Heidi Rechteger

    Mr Stoll, what you and the rest of the people who thought Trump would be good for us are blithely ignoring is that he is supported by, and surrounding himself with, White Nationalists who are virulent anti-Semites. He just appointed to a top White House position one of those people, One Steven Bannon, a known Jew hater. Open your eyes, my brothers and sisters. Jared Kushner and the rest of the Judenraht will not save us, or Israel.

  • watsa46

    The US “Prada” will slowly move to the dustbin of history. An arm of the liberal Jews!
    A problem for Trump and Israel. They will deal with it.

  • Peter Joffe

    The NYT has proven again that it is a mouth piece for barbaric Islam Please do not support this satanist rag. Close it down as it has long past its closing date.