Thursday, January 27th | 25 Shevat 5782

August 12, 2019 10:01 am

New York Times Faults One of Its Own Editors for Repeated ‘Poor Judgment’

avatar by Ira Stoll


The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A New York Times editor is in trouble for what the Times calls repeated poor judgment on social media.

The editor, Jonathan Weisman, works in the Times Washington bureau with the title “deputy Washington editor” and is the author of the 2018 book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age Of Trump.

Politico, Talking Points Memo, and Yashar Ali all report a Times spokesperson saying, “Jonathan has repeatedly displayed poor judgment on social media and in responding to criticism. We’re closely examining what to do about it.”

Weisman’s two most recent Twitter offenses relate to African-Americans. On July 31, he tweeted that Rep. John Lewis, who represents Georgia’s fifth congressional district, including parts of Atlanta and its suburbs, doesn’t represent the “Deep South.” After a backlash, he deleted the tweet, explaining, “Earlier this morning I tried to make a point about regional differences in politics between urban and rural areas. I deleted the tweets because I realize I did not adequately make my point.”

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Then, on August 7, he tweeted about a Democratic congressional primary in Ohio. He mentioned that the incumbent congresswoman there is African-American, but did not mention that the challenger is also African-American. When the challenger pointed that out, he replied that the endorsement he had mentioned included a photo.

The Root, a website about black issues, commented, “this is what white supremacy looks like.” (Though it did concede, “No one here thinks that Jonathan Weisman hates Muslims or black people and would like to kick them out of his country.”)

A Times op-ed page contributor, Roxane Gay, mocked Weisman. “Any time you think you’re unqualified for a job remember that this guy, telling a black woman she isn’t black because he looked at a picture and can’t see, has one of the most prestigious jobs in America.” Then she tweeted, “Guys Jonathan Weisman emailed me to say he thinks I owe him an ‘enormous apology.’ The audacity and entitlement of white men is … incredible.”

Weisman declined to comment about the situation to The Algemeiner. Longtime Algemeiner readers, however, won’t necessarily be surprised to see Weisman’s name surface in connection with “poor judgment.”

In 2018, we reported that several Jewish leaders and other journalists described a Weisman op-ed in the Times as “weird,” “odd,” “partisan,” or “inane.” The op-ed criticized Jewish organizations for supposedly having failed to speak out against antisemitism.

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.”

Weisman also claimed responsibility for having edited a front-page Times article in September 2018 about how the federal Education Department was handling an antisemitism case at Rutgers University. That article had significant flaws, but Weisman defended it “100%.”

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