Jared Kushner Has an Israeli Investor and the New York Times Is on the Case
The New York Times devotes a top-of-the-front page headline and a full page inside the newspaper — accompanied by a map, a chart, and five photographs — to a breathless expose of the not-really-that interesting fact that an Israeli individual named Raz Steinmetz has invested in some real estate deals with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Why is this even newsworthy at all, let alone newsworthy to the point that the Times article includes reporting credits from seven different Times newshounds? For all the Times reportorial muscle involved, the paper doesn’t tell readers how much money Raz Steinmetz invested with Kushner, either as an absolute sum or relative to Kushner’s other investors or lenders or to the overall value of Kushner’s properties.
If it’s foreign influence on American politics that the Times is concerned about, it’s totally hypocritical from a publication whose largest financial owner is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
Much of the article is devoted to a discussion of Raz Steinmetz’s uncle Beny Steinmetz against whom the American billionaire and left-leaning political activist George Soros has been mounting a campaign. But the Times doesn’t demonstrate that Raz Steinmetz’s uncle’s activities have anything to do with Raz Steinmetz, let alone with Mr. Kushner or Mr. Trump.
As if to illustrate the confusing-to-nonexistent rationale for the story, the headline on it changed.
The print headline is “Mogul in Israel Helped Finance Kushners’ Rise.” That headline isn’t even accurate: Kushner had “risen” well before the initial investments by Raz Steinmetz that the Times describes.
The online headline is “Bribe Cases, A Jared Kushner Partner and Potential Conflicts.” That headline is a stretch: the “bribe cases” are at this point just charges; there’s been no conviction. And the reported person being investigated isn’t “a Jared Kushner partner” but “Jared Kushner’s partner’s uncle.” What is accurate is the reference to “potential conflicts.”
The Times is correct to describe the conflict as “potential” rather than actual. Given all the actual real news out there in the world, you’d think the Times would devote its formidable investigative resources to pursuing that, rather than chasing around “potential” news, even if the potential news does happens to involve the uncle of a person who is from Israel. (And they say Trump is xenophobic!)
The Times coverage isn’t even exclusive: it appears in the April 27 issue of the paper, but Bloomberg News published its own article on the topic, by a former New York Times reporter, at 1 a.m. on April 26. Bloomberg managed to complete the assignment with two reporters, while the Times needed seven.
More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.