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How The NY Times Shapes The Narrative It Wants

How The NY Times Shapes The Narrative It Wants

There is a devastating article at The Jewish Weekly by a former NY Times reporter Ari Goldman, who was on the scene as a primary source reporter for The Times during the Crown Heights riots in New York City in 1991.

Al Sharpton sought to take advantage of the riots, proclaiming “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”  A little more than a decade later Sharpton would be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

Goldman observed the one-sided violence which was overtly anti-Semitic, and reported that information back to The Times, but was shocked when The Times sought to portray the violence as both racially (not religiously) motivated and directed equally by each community against the other:

In all my reporting during the riots I never saw — or heard of — any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions. To show Jewish culpability in the riots, the paper even ran a picture — laughable even at the time — of a chasidic man brandishing an open umbrella before a police officer in riot gear. The caption read: “A police officer scuffling with a Hasidic man yesterday on President Street.”

I was outraged but I held my tongue. I was a loyal Times employee and deferred to my editors. I figured that other reporters on the streets were witnessing parts of the story I was not seeing.

But then I reached my breaking point. On Aug. 21, as I stood in a group of chasidic men in front of the Lubavitch headquarters, a group of demonstrators were coming down Eastern Parkway. “Heil Hitler,” they chanted. “Death to the Jews.”

Suddenly rocks and bottles started to fly toward us and a chasidic man just a few feet away from me was hit in the throat and fell to the ground. Some ran to help the injured man but most of us ran for cover. I ran for a payphone and, my hands shaking with rage, dialed my editor. I spoke in a way that I never had before or since when talking to a boss.

“You don’t know what’s happening here!” I yelled. “I am on the streets getting attacked. Someone next to me just got hit. I am writing memos and what comes out in the paper? ‘Hasidim and blacks clashed’? That’s not what is happening here. Jews are being attacked! You’ve got this story all wrong. All wrong.”

Read the whole article by Goldman.

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Comments

Sharpton is rumored to be starting a “Worst Jew in the World” segment patterned after Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World.”

Maybe Mr. Goldman and Professor Jacobson will be the first inductees.

LukeHandCool (who is Jewish … in spirit).

I read this article early today and the first question that came to my mind was “why has it taken Ari Goldman 20 years to write the truth?”

    VetHusbandFather in reply to Joy. | August 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Actually I think this is a good indicator of what is happening in liberal Jewish communities. Up until now liberal Jews seem to have overlooked some of the antisemitism of the leftist movement because they agreed with most of the liberal platform. But recently, the left is becoming so blatantly antisemitic that liberal Jews cannot ignore that piece of the liberal identity any longer. I don’t think this means that they were flock to the Right, but at the least it means they won’t look the other way anymore, and will start calling out the extreme left for what they are.

I will gladly purchase a copy of the New York Times – as long as it is the last edition of that formerly storied newspaper.

No institution in America right now is so richly deserving of a fatal case of the economic principle of creative destruction as the Times.

The damage that newspaper has wrought upon the Republic is simply devastating.

    DINORightMarie in reply to turfmann. | August 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I’m waiting for Obama to bail out the NYT as “too big (and IMPORTANT!) to fail” – thus guaranteeing his own propaganda arm.

    They are supposedly bleeding red ink, hemorrhaging money and subscribers.

    Haven’t heard about that for a while. But I expect it. Of course, they are still carrying his water, so why mess with agitprop success?

      retire05 in reply to DINORightMarie. | August 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      No one person had done more to drag the NYTimes down the drain than Pinch Sulzberger. And he now owns very little of it. The man, who was last year’s wealthies man in the world, a Mexican named Carlos Slim, now owns controlling interest in the Times, having bailed them out after they tried massive layoffs and property sales.

      Sulzberger is a Fabian Socialist, and those who have been close to him, even professionally, know that.

      Now the Times is even charging for internet access to certain areas. Why? Because they are broke, even with the infusion of millions of $$ by Carlos Slim.

        eMVeeH in reply to retire05. | August 12, 2011 at 2:35 am

        FYI, Carlos Slim is one of the top three wealthiest men in the world. Slim’s full name is Carlos Salim Helu. He is of Lebansese descent. His parents are Maronite Christian.

I can not speak for Mr. Goldman. I don’t know him. I do think I understand, somewhat, his silence.

He had a faith in the New York Times. He was reluctant to break with that faith even when it was clear that the editors were betraying the trust of the public at large and most particularly the large Jewish population who had the most right to understand the truth, the hate, the outpouring of violence.

I’m sure he is wiser today. None of us should ever take anything as sacred until we test it in the fires of history and fact and science.

Faith should be kept with gods, not man. Man and his institutions should always be tested. They are so often found wanting.

I would read turfmann’s copy, out of mere curiosity, but never purchase it with real money.

I stopped reading the NY Times years ago, when I found myself with people and in places being covered by the Times: in every case, the Times report was incompatible with what I witnessed with my own eyes.

Come to think of it, that was a pretty good lesson.

As I recall the Crown Heights violence, few New Yorkers had any doubt about who was committing the violence, whatever the Times wrote. Goldman’s editors were pushing a heavy boulder uphill with that one. One result of the riot, after all, was that Mayor David Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor and an exceedingly nice guy generally well liked by white voters, held his police back, allowing the anti-Jewish violence to run rampant, and was promptly turned out of office. Times support in thaf election did him no good.

Still, Goldman’s testimony makes clear how Times editors seek to shape the narrative — that is, tell lies — and it no doubt works on issues where the truth is not so glaringly obvious.

BTW, the killer of Yankel Rosenbaum, Lemrick Nelson, was acquitted of the crime:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemrick_Nelson

I can’t find anything about it on the web, but I seem to recall David Dinkins attending a party celebrating that acquittal.

I was gratified to learn later in the linked article that Nelson himself was stabbed with an icepick last year, unfortunately not fatally.

Survived? Pity.

I was hoping to think of him being reincarnated as Casey Anthony’s next child.

DINORightMarie | August 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I seem to remember an article over the last 2 years where the NYT editors were explaining how they “frame” their stories before they have all the facts, that this is the common method of “journalists” today. It was something pretty scandalous, and the NYT had it 180 degrees off. And they were called on it by bloggers. Arrrgggghhhh. I wish I could remember what it was!

Apparently, from what I remember, this is how journalism is taught today. That is the fundamental problem, IMHO. It is a foregone conclusion that the story must be framed, so reporters can help the readers understand the back story. Like we are all too stupid to figure it out given the facts.

I think it was about Major Nidal Hassan, perhaps…. And the “no-terrorist ties” and not mentioning the “Allahu akbar!!” shouting when he massacred his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood.

Am I right? Any help on this?

I recall that the Bolshevik Revolution, and Bolshevism in general in the US had considerable support among at least a cadre of progressive Jews. This I always found hard to understand, in light of the brutal treatment and scapegoating of Jews by the Soviet government and Communist Party—worse, say some than the Czarists they replaced.

Principles are something to be followed because they are principles: I get that. When those who purport to espouse those principles violate them in actions, the logical response is to abandon not the principle, but the violator. In this instance, The NYT, the Obama Administration and, of course Obama himself are perfect examples of intellectual Progressives in theory, and thuggish class warriors and race baiters in fact.
Lose these people, Progressive Jews; you’re better, and Lord knows, smarter than that. Continue to lend them your verbal and financial support, and get what you deserve in the form of officially tolerated antiSemitism and policies contrary to the continued existence of Israel.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 12, 2011 at 1:26 am

In about 1987 I was listening to The Australian public radio -on its midday 5 minute opinion piece. A very adamant man was speaking of the Syrians being massed on the Golan Heights about to attack Israel. Then & after -this was not correct -though of course Syria would always have some forces there -but this was clearly propaganda.

I later learnt he became more radicalized & adopted dress & customs & a name change that put him in the ultra extreme Jewish ranks -a rarity here.

I cannot change history but if that young driven man had moved to Israel instead of NY then he may have not only lived but lived to his beliefs.

NY is a trap.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 12, 2011 at 1:37 am

-Of course that man was Yankel Rosenbaum.

I did not agree with his radio speech but I certainly remembered him. He could have been great. Why NY Yankel?

NY is Sodom & Gommorrah.

“Shaping?” That isn’t shaping, that’s outright dishonesty. Fish wrap and pet cage liner.

    orangemtl in reply to Owego. | August 12, 2011 at 9:37 am

    No, that’s completely consistent. How do you wrap a fish? You SHAPE the NYT around it.
    See? They are nothing if not consistent.

What does it say about liberal-leftist principles when they’re characterized by a chronic loathing of Jews and sneering at Christians while fawning over Muslims, a love of communism and leftist totalitarians, a constant stoking of class and racial resentments and divisions in service to a political party, policies that excuse and encourage underclass pathology and dependency, a contempt and dismissal of flyover/ Walmart middle America, a politicized and distorted “science” as in the climate debate, the politics of personal destruction as an acceptable tactic, the celebration of dissent for liberal causes and demonization of opponents’ right to protest, and partisan slant to outright lying presented as academic truth, objective journalism and Hollywood entertainment?

Absent any anti-semitism, just where are the intrinsic fairness and intellectual rigor in today’s liberal platform that attract so many Jews?

Sorry, the previous was in reply to VetHusbandFather’s cpmment @7pm yesterday:

Actually I think this is a good indicator of what is happening in liberal Jewish communities. Up until now liberal Jews seem to have overlooked some of the antisemitism of the leftist movement because they agreed with most of the liberal platform. But recently, the left is becoming so blatantly antisemitic that liberal Jews cannot ignore that piece of the liberal identity any longer. I don’t think this means that they were flock to the Right, but at the least it means they won’t look the other way anymore, and will start calling out the extreme left for what they are.

[…] Legal Insurrection: There is a devastating article at The Jewish Weekly by a former NY Times reporter Ari Goldman, who was on the scene as a primary source reporter for The Times during the Crown Heights riots in New York City in 1991. […]

I lived in Detroit for nearly two decades and spent several years working for the city government. Both here and generally, one of the more distressing and dismaying things I have noticed about the black community’s leadership is that even among those who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be termed anti-Semitic, actual anti-Semitism is not considered a disqualification or even anything to be chided for.

Louis Farrakhan, for example, sold out the local arena not long ago and apparently got a very warm welcome. In our two local black newspapers I saw nothing in the coverage that even mentioned his vile and overt hatred for Jews. And of course, Al Sharpton is still considered respectable company.

Yet the least expression of anything that might possibly be termed racism is greeted by calls that the person involved be drummed out of whatever position he happens to hold and forever more be excluded from the company of the decent.

Are we against bigotry per se or just certain kinds of bigotry? The answer, alas, is obvious, and you don’t need to look at the Holder DoJ to find it.

    Alan Kellogg in reply to Alex Bensky. | August 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    It’s a thoughtless adherence to racial unity, especially when such adherence supports racism and bigotry of the worst possible sort. One black man is accused for doing wrong, you’ve as good as accused all black man of the one man’s crime.

[…] “How The NY Times Shapes The Narrative It Wants.” […]

Once the late John W. Campbell Jr. (then editor of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact) observed that rarely is there ever two sides to a story. More often there are as many sides to a story as there are people involved, and sometimes there is one side, the right side.

Journalists have been poorly served by this short sighted insistence on telling both sides, when journalism would be better served by an insistence on getting the facts. Regardless of who they serve and support. Journalism is ripe for a revolution, and the sooner it happens the better off everyone will be.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Alan Kellogg. | August 13, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Yep. Mainstream media journalism is so tediously and predictably formulaic … it might as well be a branch of chemistry.

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