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November 1, 2018 4:02 pm

New York Times Concedes Errors in Pittsburgh Coverage

avatar by Ira Stoll

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

The New York Times coverage of the deadly attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue is showing the Times once again challenged on basic matters of Jewish literacy.

The corrections column in Wednesday’s Times carried two concessions by the Times on that front.

One, in the “International” category, reported, “An article on Tuesday misidentified the religious leader who avoided using the word ‘synagogue’ to describe the scene of the shooting of Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh. It was Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, not its Sephardic chief rabbi.”

Another, in the “National,” category, reported, “An article on Tuesday about Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and his reaction to the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh misstated the title of the funeral lament he sang at a vigil on Sunday, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It is ‘El Malei Rachamim,’ not ‘El Rachamim.’”

It’s nice that the Times owns up to these mistakes in public and in print, but it’d be better if they were prevented pre-publication.

These two are only the latest in a long series of errors the Times has issued corrections for on news related to Israel and Jewish topics. Previous cases include:

If, say, a hospital or a factory made this many similar mistakes, it’d convene a meeting to review processes or brainstorm ways to prevent or to reduce similar errors going forward. No newspaper produced by humans on deadline is going to be perfect. But the Times could reduce these errors by being more careful, by having more observant or knowledgeable Jews involved in the editing process, or by hiring some editors more experienced with these topics.

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

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