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October 30, 2018 2:02 pm

New York Times Promo for Antisemitism Podcast Draws Complaints

avatar by Ira Stoll


The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

As The New York Times expands its offerings to audio, video, “virtual reality,” and mobile alerts, so too the job of the press critic expands to encompass more than merely the daily print offering.

The latest case in point is promotional language for an episode of the New York Times podcast “The Daily.” The text asserts, “Until recently, many American Jews believed that antisemitism was a European problem, one the United States had left behind.”

The news editor of The Jerusalem Post, Lahav Harkov, said that’s nonsense, pointing to a 1999 shooting at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, a 2006 shooting at a Seattle Jewish federation, and a 2014 shooting at a Kansas Jewish Community Center. She might also have mentioned the 1991 Crown Heights riot and the 1994 Brooklyn Bridge attack that killed Ari Halberstam.

“The Times is making an inaccurate assertion that this is a reflection of all US Jews,” Harkov wrote on Twitter in a criticism that garnered hundreds of likes and dozens of retweets.

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The guest on the Times podcast is a Times editor, Jonathan Weisman, who has a history of bizarre stumbles on the issue of antisemitism, as previously documented in The Algemeiner.

The executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Boston, Jeremy Burton, tweeted, “The ‘problem’ with Weisman’s take — going back to the books & promos: He had a profound, real & personal experience of anti-semitism in 2016. His exploration & analysis starts from there & he tends to miss much of the broader realities pre-2016.”

The Times promotional language does say “many,” not “all.”

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy the crowd of Times critics on Twitter. “How come with these things, and many comments about ‘American Jews’ that people use words like ‘many’ without any need to have any data? There’s no evidence that many American Jews think anti-semitism is a “European” issue. We are told ‘facts matter’ but then…no facts…” wrote the op-ed editor of The Jerusalem Post, Seth Frantzman.

A columnist for The Forward, Bethany Mandel, said of Weisman, “The level of his ignorance is frankly astounding.”

In 2015, Weisman claimed responsibility for a New York Times chart that labeled Jewish senators and congressmen opposed to the Iran deal in the color yellow. He advised Jews upset about it to “chill out.”

The Times later published an “editor’s note” undercutting Weisman. It conceded, “Many readers and commenters on social media found that aspect of the chart insensitive. Times editors agreed and decided to revise it to remove the column specifying which opponents were Jewish.”

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. 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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