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New York Times Refuses Ad Opposing Iran Nuclear Deal, Demanding Changes: ‘We Can’t Accept Paragraph Two’

avatar by Ira Stoll

Opinion

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

The New York Times is refusing to publish a full-page advertisement advocating against a new Iran nuclear deal unless the advertiser changes it to remove references to Iran murdering Americans.

“The New York Times has done everything to block the ad … trying to knock the stuffing out of the ad so there is nothing left,” the founder of the World Values Network, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, told The Algemeiner. “They want us to do an ad that doesn’t say that Iran did anything wrong.”

In a Friday afternoon telephone call between a New York Times advertising representative and Boteach, the Times representative told Boteach the language in the ad saying Iran had murdered Americans needed to be softened. “You are accusing a country. You cannot do that,” she said. “You can’t say it directly.”

Boteach responded, “For some reason you guys are protecting Iran. It just sounds like the New York Times is protecting Iran. I don’t get it.”

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The Times representative responded, “This is the only way the ad will run.”

Boteach responded by saying the Times’ policy was bizarre and disgraceful. “I’ve never been told to remove facts to protect a terrorist country. You are tying our hands from even mentioning the people who killed American soldiers.”

The ad representative said the policy had been set by higher-ups. “It’s not up to me,” she said.

When Boteach pointed out that the newspaper’s home page said “Russia” was invading Ukraine, the ad representative said that the paper’s news and advertising divisions have different standards.

The Times took a red pen to the ad, already revised in response to the paper’s feedback. “With this one, we can’t accept paragraph two,” the Times ad sales representative said. She also had problems with “the quote underneath the picture.”

An email from a Times ad sales rep, obtained by The Algemeiner, said, “The team is asking for you to remove the 2nd and 5th paragraph as those are the main places where it accuses countries of crimes and we cannot accept the ad with those in it.”

Boteach says the World Values Network, a frequent Times advertiser, usually pays tens of thousands of dollars for the full page ads. One version of the ad reviewed by The Algemeiner was headlined, “Mr. President, as you impose crushing sanctions against Russia, please don’t remove them from Iran.”

The second paragraph of the ad that drew objections from the Times originally read:

Iran and its Revolutionary Guard, the IRGC, have engaged in the same practices — threatening neighbors with annihilation and murdering civilians around the world — for 40 years. From the imprisonment of American hostages in our Embassy in 1979, to murdering 19 US Air Force Personnel in Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, to thousands of American soldiers murdered and injured in Iraq, the Iranian regime and the terrorists of the IRGC have caused rivers of American blood to flow, all while promising that Israel would be exterminated.

Later on Friday, a spokeswoman for the New York Times, Danielle Rhoades Ha, told The Algemeiner that “a revised version of the ad is scheduled to be published in tomorrow’s paper.”

The Times news columns have been cheerleading a US return to the Iran nuclear deal. A deal would provide a $700 billion subsidy in the form of sanctions relief to the terror-sponsoring nation that has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, in exchange for unverifiable short-term promises of a pause in work on nuclear weapons.

The Times previously had to be shamed into eventually canceling the luxury “Times Journeys” tours it was operating to Iran with Times-journalist tour-guides accompanying participants who paid prices up to $135,000. Meanwhile, a regular Times op-ed contributor is facing federal criminal charges as a paid Iranian foreign agent, a fact that the paper hasn’t yet deigned to disclose to the newspaper’s readers.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

 

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