Four Worst Ways the New York Times Slimed the Jews in 2022
It was an ugly calendar year for The New York Times in terms of coverage of issues related to Israel and Jews—so ugly that choosing the four worst specific examples is a challenge.
Looking back, though, it’s possible to group the worst Times outrages of the past year into four overarching themes.
Cheerleading the Iran nuclear deal: The Times mischaracterized President Biden’s campaign promise about re-entering the Iran nuclear deal and also passed along, unchecked, a false claim that doing so would have no domestic political cost. The paper initially refused to publish an ad with language critical of the deal. The Times made support for sanctions-relief for Iran a key issue in its editorial endorsement in a Democratic primary election in a Manhattan congressional district. The Times relentlessly, breathlessly, incrementally hyped the claim that a new deal was on the way. January 12, 2022: “…the US and Iran Inch Closer to a Nuclear Pact.” January 31, 2022: “US and Allies Close to Reviving Nuclear Deal With Iran….” March 8, 2022: “Iran Nuclear Deal Nears Completion…” Thank goodness, it didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the Times misled its readers, wasted their time, and squandered whatever remained of its own credibility.
Error-prone Jerusalem bureau chief Patrick Kingsley and his colleagues: The Times has a Jerusalem Bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley, who, when he was appointed in October 2020, was known to have had a history of mistakes in writing about Israel. Kingsley’s own articles for the Times and those from the bureau this year were repeatedly riddled with factual inaccuracies about everything from Israel’s capital to the legal status of the West Bank. Some of them the Times corrected in print and online. Others were left uncorrected. The most whopping correction may have been the “editor’s note” about the fish tale that Israel had somehow devastated Gaza’s fishing industry, the Times article’s main premise, which turned out to be false.
The war on Hasidim: The Times has an ax to grind against fervently Orthodox Jews, particularly those of the Hasidic variety, whether in Israel or in the United States. The newspaper’s obsession with finding faults with yeshiva education has consumed years of Times investigative reporter and editor energy and acres of newsprint, including that devoted to a Sunday staff editorial riddled with contradictions and contempt. Thirty years after the Crown Heights riot, the Times still can’t get the basic story straight. On the bright side, at least one Times journalist did acknowledge, in print, that “at the height of the Covid pandemic, journalists, politicians and health officials in New York focused on Orthodox religious zeal” and that the Jews were “often unfairly” singled out for criticism.
The New York Times’ most favorite Jew, Peter Beinart: The Times began the year devoting four paragraphs in a news article to quoting its own regular opinion page writer, Peter Beinart, who in 2020 renounced Zionism. The Times kept publishing Beinart’s flaky opinion articles at about the same rate they had before he was downgraded from “contributing opinion writer” to guest essayist. Throughout the year, Times news articles also regularly relied on Beinart as an expert analyst about the American Jewish community. At year end, the Times style section featured a lengthy, adoring article about Jewish Currents, at which Beinart is an editor. Again, Beinart was quoted. It was a reminder that at the Times, the news-opinion distinction is no obstacle when there’s any opportunity to bash Israel.
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.