web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Selective Labeling

The furor over the New York Post’s outrageous coverage of the murder of Menachem Stark, including its repeated and irrelevant references to Mr. Stark’s being a chassidic Jew, focused the community’s attention on that particular story. But similar things regularly slip under the radar.

While the facts underlying those stories don’t approach the gruesomeness of the Stark murder, they all share the element of gross stereotyping. This becomes clear when similarly negative stories about non-Jews routinely omit any ethnic or religious labeling.

Several days after the Post’s Jan. 5 Stark front-pager that elicited so much public criticism, the tabloid ran a story with the headline “Four Orthodox Jewish men arrested for court pix of sex accuser.” Not to be outdone, the New York Daily News headlined its version of the story “Brooklyn Hasid claims fraudster tweeted pic of sex abuse victim.”

What, exactly, did the religious persuasion of the subjects have to do with the events being reported on? Indeed, nothing in the stories provided a clue. And as we noted in a Jan. 10 editorial (“The New York Post and the Stark Murder,”), the Post’s Jan. 5 Stark story began with the introduction of Mr. Stark as a “millionaire Hasidic slumlord.” We also drew attention to an August 2012 Post story headlined “Drug-Cash Rap vs. Hasid Trio.”

Tellingly, a quick Google search reveals a wholly different approach when non-Jews are the subjects. Last October, the Daily News ran a story about someone described as “One of the worst landlords in the Bronx [who] is facing jail time after failing to make hundreds of repairs to an apartment building that has fallen into ‘deplorable’ disrepair.” But there was nothing about the landlord’s religion or ethnicity. Nor was the headline that accompanied the story any help. It read, merely, “Judge orders filthy Bronx landlord to jail.” To be sure there was a picture that accompanied the article, but it was of one of the building in question.

And last week the News ran a story headlined “Brooklyn slumlord, who blocks boiler from being repaired, slapped with jail, $382G in fines.” There was a picture of the “slumlord,” who appeared to be a person of color. But there was no mention of ethnicity or religion in the story which, online, ran to five pages.

There was also a story in the News last April about events on an American Airlines flight from Miami to New York that was headlined “Man charged with molesting sleeping female….” No mention of the ethnicity or religion of the alleged perpetrator, nor was there any in the story itself. (We were, however, provided with the man’s name, which suggested Indian or Pakistani descent, and a picture of an American Airlines plane.)

One would have hoped that the pushback that ensued after the Post’s Stark coverage would have had an effect, and apparently there was some – but only to a point. Last Friday, the Post ran a story about how police now believe Mr. Stark was killed over a $20,000 debt to a contractor. The piece was headlined “Police eye contractor owed $20K in slumlord’s murder.” Gone was the deplorable “Hasidic” reference. Yet the Post seems bent on not letting go of the image of Mr. Stark as some evil tormentor of tenants. Hence the buzzword “slumlord” even in a story inconsistent with the original theory that the murderers may have been disgruntled tenants.

(And it was after the Stark episode that the News ran with its regrettable reference, mentioned above, to the “Brooklyn Hasid” and his claim about the fraudulent tweeting of some pictures.)

However, in sharp contrast to the Post, this is how the News headlined its story on the latest developments in the Stark case: “Despite owing millions to creditors, Brooklyn landlord, Menachem Stark, killed over single $20,000 debt: Police.” Plainly “landlord” is an equally efficient and certainly less pejorative identifying device than “slumlord.”

It’s time we insist that Orthodox Jews be treated with fairness. While some in our community do not always do us proud, their activities are personal and not reflective of some institutional or communal proclivity. And they should be portrayed as such. We have had enough experience with group libels and their fallout.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Selective Labeling”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Yeshiva boys learn Torah together at Beit Midrash Derech Chaim.  Due to their participation in a pre-army intelligence program, the IDF requires their identities to remain secret.
Exclusive: First IDF Cyber-Defense Program Opens at Yeshiva
Latest Indepth Stories
Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Michael Oren, Israel's Former Ambassador to the United States

ALLY is a terrific read because Oren has a mission: Defending&protecting the Jewish State of Israel.

George Soros: No friend of Israel

George Soros: “European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States”

President Obama

Sources say seemingly irreconcilable differences between the 2 main parties, Washington and Tehran.

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

Those who suggest further capitulation to Iran are wrongly harming the interests of the West.

Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

More Articles from Editorial Board

Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?

The court’s finding that the president has exclusive jurisdiction in recognizing foreign countries might have been be apt if the issue at hand were a congressional attempt to grant recognition to “Palestine” as a state.

It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.

Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”

Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/selective-labeling/2014/01/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: