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.”
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