When it comes to right and left, The New York Times has always known where it stands. Liberal dogma was literally invented in the Gray Lady’s backyard.
When it comes to good and evil, though, The New York Times is one confused puppy. Founded in the waning days of the Civil War, The Times has never quite left the battlefield. Their atrocious coverage — coverage? More like a news patch — of the Chalamish massacre that has shaken Israel, the Jewish world and every human being with a heart, makes for a shrug and a c’est la vie. This is The Times. When a Jew is killed in a terror attack they pair the story with some Palestinian mother wailing over her son’s accidental killing. They won’t change, so why try?
But here’s why that shouldn’t be the reaction. The Times’ power of persuasion among a certain class in America makes it a dangerous tiger to ignore. It is important that The Times be called out fiercely for devoting a mere two paragraphs to the butchery of the Salomon family, Hy”d. It is critical that they be informed that the violent manner of the three kedoshim’s deaths is not “what appeared to be a terrorist attack” — but a brutal jihad by a people in a battle to the death for control of the world.
The Times couldn’t devote more resources to Chalamish because of their strange obsession with Russia and the president. I would note that Friday’s terror attack comes weeks after Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The plot thickens.
The term “yellow journalism” was coined to describe how the New York World and the New York Journal competed with each other in the early 1900s to roil up the masses against Spain over their treatment of Cuba. The result was chaos.
The Times’ gray journalism is a close second. President Trump’s war on fake news and the “Failing New York Times” resonates precisely because it is so.
In a tweet that got little traction in the midst of the momentous events taking place, President Trump revealed last week that irresponsible reporting by The Times led directly to foiling a plan to kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The U.S. in 2015 had planned a raid in which they had intelligence that the Islamic State “caliph” was in a certain location. The Times then reported about the raid and al-Baghdadi was able to escape in time.
Other news wires were equally culpable on Chalamish — The Associated Press referred to it in their headline of “3 Palestinians, 3 Israelis Killed in Violence Over Holy Site” while CNN had this head-stunner, “3 Israelis Killed in Stabbing; 3 Palestinians Killed in Clashes.”
How about, “Lincoln, Booth, shot in theater”? Or, “Twin Towers collide with airplanes”?
But The Times’ gray journalism is more egregious, as their history shows.
Only those battling a perception must continue to insist that they’re publishing “all the news that’s fit to print.” In truth, The Times has been leaving out news fit to print for a long time. They’re filling up the space with fluff and “collusion” instead.
The Times has been getting it wrong about Israel ever since the state’s establishment. But they’ve been getting it wrong about Jews ever since the newspaper’s inception.
The first news item of significant impact on the Jewish community came in 1913, when Georgia pencil manufacturer Leo Frank was arrested and charged with killing Mary Phagan, a Christian girl in his employment. The entire case reeked with anti-Semitic undertones and overtones, yet The Times devoted a mere three briefs to it.
It seems incomprehensible today that a major trial which wracks Atlanta to this day, an event which led directly to the establishment of the Anti-Defamation League, could be ignored with such impunity by a paper with national aspirations.
Ultimately, The Times rallied to Frank’s side, but only after his conviction on flimsy grounds in a trial strongly suggestive of anti-Semitism. Over the following 18 months, The Times published hundreds of articles and editorials about the case. While some of the pieces were balanced, many more were one-sided in Frank’s favor, quoting defense lawyers at length, while failing to seek comment from anyone connected with the prosecution.
“Frank Convicted by Public Clamor,” read one Times headline. Other articles included, “Friends Plea for Frank,” “Georgians Urged to Plead for Frank” and “Atlanta’s Mob Spirit.”
In a trend which would continue through The Times’ at-arm’s-length relationship with Jews, their coverage succeeded in convincing the Northern elites of the judicial outrageousness of Frank’s plight but further infuriating the Southerners whose minds needed to be changed.
Frank was ultimately sentenced to life in prison. In a tragic set of circumstances which remains unsolved to this day, he was abducted as he was being transferred to a prison and hanged by a mob of vigilantes. Hashem yinkom damam.
The next major New York Times foray into subjective journalism came in the Holocaust.
The Times’ first mention of Adolf Hitler came in their Nov. 21, 1922 edition. It’s an incredible read — an American newspaper describing in real time the early rise of a future dictator.
Not knowing the outcome, you would praise the piece, penned by reporter Cyril Brown, as an absorbing one — “thoughtful,” in Times parlance. Their sole saving grace is that papers are dumped at the end of the day, leaving their pretend punditry to the dry sands of history to judge.
Brown, in true Times fashion, makes the case that “Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so violent or genuine as it sounded.”
“He is credibly credited with being actuated by lofty, unselfish patriotism,” Brown writes. “He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish. The keynote of his propaganda in speaking and writing is violent anti-Semitism. … So violent are Hitler’s fulminations against the Jews that a number of prominent Jewish citizens are reported to have sought safe asylums in the Bavarian highlands, easily reached by fast motor cars, whence they could hurry their women and children when forewarned of an anti-Semitic St. Bartholomew’s night.
“But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.”
“Several reliable, well-informed sources” — now, where did I hear that last?
The Times’ 95-year-old errors wouldn’t be so terrible if they weren’t so repetitive. Page 16 in the Times should be memorialized in the Holocaust Museum — it’s where so many reports on the murder of Six Million were buried.
History tells us: Yes — Leo Frank’s freedom was lynched by the jury. Yes — Adolf Hitler was a monster from the outset. Yes — the Holocaust was real.
And yes — this attack in Chalamish was terror. Yes — the murderers are monsters, not freedom fighters.
In September 1996, The New York Times ran a statement about its Holocaust coverage: “The Times has long been criticized for grossly underplaying the Holocaust while it was taking place. Clippings from the paper show that the criticism is valid.”
So much of the predictions put forth by Israel-supporters over the years have been borne out in recent years. “Don’t ignore suicide bombings in Tel Aviv or you’ll find them on the streets of Paris and Stockholm.” “Condemn Islamist mass killers or they’ll appear in your cities.”
We can imagine a Times correction sometime in the future, published from a bunker somewhere on Long Island. Their preferred candidate had become president, ended the war on terror and allowed a million Muslim refugees on these shores (no doubt welcoming them at the foot of Lady Liberty, sobbingly reading off the poem by Emma Lazarus to “give me your tired, your poor…”) The huddled masses have taken over.
The Times will issue a statement: “The Times has long been criticized for grossly underplaying the terrorist threat to the Western world, starting with its egregious coverage of the terrorist war on Israel in the 20th and 21th centuries, while it was taking place. Clippings from the paper show that the criticism is valid.”