web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Jerusalem light rail train, crossing the Chords Bridge near the Central Bus Station.
Jerusalem Light Rail’s New ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Arab Violence
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Editorial Board

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

Given the vitality of Hamas, Israel can hardly rely on the commitments, even if sincere, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas for its security.

Is the president oblivious to polls saddling him with some of the lowest presidential popularity rankings in recent history?

The Jewish Press mourns the passing of Rose Lesser, a”h.

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: