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July 24, 2018 2:42 pm

New York Times Issues Yet Another Correction to a Jewish-Related Story

avatar by Ira Stoll

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The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Zoe Greenberg, the intrepid New York Times reporter last seen here pushing a phony story about “When Jewish Parents Decide Not To Circumcise,” is at it again, this time cheering on a lawsuit aimed at getting the government to interfere with the operation of Jewish day schools.

Greenberg’s circumcision story generated a Times correction, and her latest Times day school story also has a correction appended, this one stating, “Correction: July 24, 2018 An earlier version of this article mischaracterized how many children attend ultra-Orthodox yeshivas that do not meet secular state standards. It is not all 115,000 students, but many of them.”

It’s almost as if the Times can’t manage to write about Jewish topics without making mistakes.

How many yeshiva students are “many of them” is one of the issues under contention, a matter that the Times, alas, doesn’t do much to illuminate in its news article. The Times reports “According to a survey of yeshiva graduates and parents conducted by Young Advocates for Fair Education, only a quarter of respondents in high school said they received any secular education.”

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But the accuracy of that survey is under dispute. In a statement, Parents for Educational And Religious Liberty in Schools said the report “was itself based solely on a small group of self-selected Yaffed Facebook friends.” It’d be like asking whether The New York Times provides decent coverage of Jewish issues, based solely on a survey of my own Facebook friends.

The PEARLS statement — which the Times did not report — added, “ultimately, parents must have the right to choose how their children are educated. Today’s lawsuit asserts that the legislation will result in unlawful entanglement between government and religious schools, while at the same time seeking to use the government to outrageously attempt to deny parents the right to direct their own children’s education and upbringing.”

Are there yeshivas I wouldn’t want to send children to? Sure. But there are also New York public schools I wouldn’t want to send children to. The Times seems to spend as much, or more, time worrying about the yeshivas as about the public schools, even though the public schools fail to educate many more students. Maybe the Times editors are more concerned about the Orthodox Jewish children than about the public school children?

The comments on the Times story are largely hostile to the yeshivas, with one Times reader going so far as to write in a comment published on the Times website, “I’m Jewish and I would deport all of them if they weren’t already citizens. If you want to live like you’re in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ that’s up to you. But you’re not entitled to set up your own society within ours, making up your own rules.”

The Times earlier attempted to explain its lopsided coverage of this issue.

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

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