web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

When Sam Ehrenhalt Told Off The New York Times


Media-Monitor-logo

Sam Ehrenhalt no doubt would have thought it ironic that The New York Times gave him such a laudatory send-off a few days after he passed away on May 31 at age 83.

The Times may have had nice things to say about Sam, but he would not necessarily have returned the sentiment.

First, to reiterate what was said in an introductory editor’s note and a closing tagline on his front-page essay for The Jewish Press on the history of French anti-Semitism, published posthumously in the paper’s June 19 edition, Sam was a longtime official at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and served as the bureau’s New York regional commissioner from 1980-1995. But it was as an activist for Israel and Jewish concerns that many of us came to know him.

A careful reader of The Jewish Press, he made it a habit to pass along tips and suggestions gleaned from his wide and varied reading. A number of Sam’s op-ed articles and letters to the editor graced the paper over the years, until he was forced to focus his attention on the illness that eventually took his life.

In a June 3 obituary, The New York Times noted, among other flattering tidbits, that Sam “was routinely consulted by the news media on an array of subjects…. Mr. Ehrenhalt by all accounts brought to his work an articulate wit and, when needed, a keen dramatic flair. To him, statistics did not exist in lifeless isolation; instead, they reflected the web of contingencies that forms the narrative of everyday life.”

But what did Sam think of the Times? Back in 2003 he shared with the Monitor a note he had recently dispatched to Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.

Sam began by informing Keller that “after close to 65 years as a reader…I cancelled my subscription last year because of [the Times’s] unfair reporting on the Middle East conflict, its inadequate reporting on the upsurge of anti-Semitism in Europe and other parts of the globe, and its failure to report on the raging incitement of hatred of Jews inundating media, schools, mosques and government institutions of Arab lands.”

He noted to Keller that he’d sent some 200 letters to the Times “detailing specific concerns on Middle East reporting,” and that they “failed to elicit any substantive reply.”

His letters, he explained, “cited unquestionable errors of fact, pejorative or other loaded language usage, misleading headlines, failure to include essential context, presentations unbalanced by pictures accompanying the reporting. The Times response, basically, was that its staff was as good as they come and doing ‘a masterly job.’ ”

But, Sam continued, “except for a few corrections or editorial notes, often inadequate, there was no indication that the Times was at all willing to consider the issues of accuracy, fairness and balance I raise. From the early days of the new Intifada on, Times reporting established a narrative of determined advocacy, interrupted only for the short time that Clyde Haberman was assigned to Jerusalem, evidenced by what was reported and what not, how it was reported, emphasis, placement, pictures, headlines – all the components of news presentation.”

Sam next offered what he called a “small, telling example” of Times-style bias:

“When the Times got into the situation of the Temple Mount its reference to Muslim concerns was finely calibrated: ‘the third holiest site in Islam.’ The Jewish connection was dismissive: ‘The site is also holy to Jews.’ That locution managed to elude the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, that it has been the holiest site for Jews since 1,500 years before the birth of Islam…. There was never a correction; reporting of this sort became a continuing pattern.”

And Sam told Keller that “after a particularly atrocious report on the annual Israel Solidarity March in New York, I concluded that I could no longer in good conscience continue my subscription.”

The Monitor doesn’t know whether Sam ever subsequently renewed his subscription to the Times, though if he had he probably would have shared with us his reasons for doing so; his silence on the matter was telling.

There are those – the Monitor included – who feel the Times’s Israel coverage, while still leaving a lot to be desired, has actually improved somewhat over the past few years. Would anyone dispute that the forceful and articulate voice of a disgruntled Sam Ehrenhalt played a not inconsiderable role in that improvement?

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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 “When Sam Ehrenhalt Told Off The New York Times”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak, January 22 2013.
New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim
Latest Indepth Stories
512px-Jerusalem_Hannukah_021210

Let us become modern day Maccabees and seize the day. Embrace the challenge. Fight for Hashem.

Motta Gur overlooks the Old City with his troops during the Six Day War

Har HaBayit is still Biyadein; Through our actions, its fate is in our hands


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/when-sam-ehrenhalt-told-off-the-new-york-times/2009/07/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: