web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Shameful Post


Menacham Stark ZL

Menacham Stark ZL
Photo Credit: VIN / Eli Wohl

Ten years ago, a young man took his life in Florida. His parents, who lived in New York, sat shiva with their other children. A journalist from a South Florida newspaper called me with questions about the suicide. His story, he said, would help educate the public and prevent similar tragic deaths, especially copycat suicides by friends.

It seemed an important story to write. I conveyed to him that copycat suicides are rare, do not happen immediately, and that kids mourn for each other.

I said I would be happy to discuss the issue further, but only after the family got up from shiva. It was inappropriate, I said, to write about the boy while the family was still sitting shiva.

He responded that as a journalist he had an obligation to cover the story. I pressed again, telling him the mother of the boy was in serious shock and that if she read his story during shiva it could seriously affect her emotional state.

The journalist was nonplussed. He said his obligation was to journalism more than to a mourning family.

His newspaper published the story.

One evening during the shiva, the grieving mother could not sleep and went online, where she read the story recounting the horrors of her son’s suicide. Sure enough, she experienced a serious emotional reaction.

This crystallized for me that for some journalists, the “story” takes precedence over everything else. And no, it was not about educating the public and preventing suicide tragedies – that was merely this journalist’s entry point, a self-rationalization.

The New York Post’s front-page headline on Sunday, January 5, concerning the brutal murder of Menachem Stark, reminds us of the primal motive of many journalists no matter the cost and consequence to a victim’s family and friends.

A grieving widow and her young children were sitting shiva the day following Menachem Stark’s burial. The Post chose, on that very day, to run a front-page photo of Menachem Stark dressed in chassidishe garb along with the screaming headline “Who Didnt Want Him Dead?”

With that reprehensible headline, based on allegations and unnamed sources, the Post acted as tabloid executioner, transforming a murder victim into the guilty party and tormenting his mourning family even further.

This wanton “journalism” is as cruel and inhumane as are Stark’s killers.

What professional obligation, what standard of journalism, did the Post meet? What value of reporting was delivered to its readership?

As a result, rightful condemnation rang forth from every corner of New York City and beyond. Community leaders, elected officials, tweeters, bloggers, and others chastised the Post throughout the day.

The Post’s response? “We stand by our story.”

To the general public, the Post headline is soon to be forgotten and of little value.

To the Stark family, it is permanently embedded in their psyche and of great emotional harm.

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.

4 Responses to “A Shameful Post”

  1. Dan Silagi says:

    It was an obvious mob hit. The cops will solve this case sooner or later, probably sooner, and the kind of man Menachem Stark was will be known to all.

    I don't believe in street justice, but on the other hand, I don't believe in honoring a slumlord, either, especially one who made his building so uninhabitable for his tenants that they were evicted by the Board of Housing, and then when the tenants tried to recoup their security deposits, Stark absconded. That is not the mark of a mensch, or someone for whom I'd use the honorific "Of Blessed Memory" about. I stand with the Post on this.

  2. DURING SHIVA THE FAMILY SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT ALONE TO GRIEVE. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  3. Knowing the stereotypes that exist out there, I wouldn't have run the story with that picture or the headline. Even if they don't care about the grieving family, it's just wrong to promote a negative stereotype like this (which they avoid doing when the victim is from another minority group). And the title of the article is about the same as saying "He had it coming." His ethnicity shouldn't have been an issue, but they made it front and center.

  4. Dan Silagi says:

    There are excellent reasons for that negative stereotype, Roasted. And they have nothing to do with his ethnicity, but with his evil behavior, and that of the cult he belonged to..

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Bibi and Obama: Head to Head
Obama Declares War on Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Bibi and Obama: Head to Head

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

Father Gabriel Naddaf with soldiers

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

More Articles from David Mandel
Mandel-031414

Alcohol on Purim is viewed by many as the drinking equivalent of the Autobahn: no limits, no control.

Menacham Stark ZL

A grieving widow and her young children were sitting shiva after Menachem Stark’s burial.

Over the years, our community has become greatly enriched by the proliferation of a diversity of gemachs.

Yet there is one gemach that, to the best of my knowledge, is not found in any community but that now more than ever would benefit us the most.

What can a yeshiva do to institute practices that will help prevent any form of abuse?
Our community has become a focal point of scrutiny for not responding with greater fervor to the allegations and occurrence of sexual abuse. Not only does this create pain and suffering for victims and their families, it greatly undermines the very institutions built to help protect them. Yeshivas are bedrocks of our community, not only for education but also as a safe harbor for our children.

Ten years ago, If you had asked a victim of sexual abuse what he or she wanted most, the answer would have been, “I want my abuser to apologize, to acknowledge that it was his fault and not mine.” Today, if asked that same question, the victim would speak of prosecution and justice.

We play the odds all the time, don’t we? We may not consciously think about it as such, but in effect we do. Hashem rules the world and controls the odds; we have to do our hishtadlus. We get behind the wheel of a car, board a plane, or cross the street knowing there are risks such as car accidents, plane crashes and pedestrian injuries.

It is time to take back the term “children at risk.” Educators and mental health professionals popularized the term about ten years ago and we need to withdraw it. Labels can be helpful on clothing and shoes but not on children.

Rav Pam, zt”l, said the best antidote to divorce is a good marriage.

Unfortunately, there is no denying that divorce has become considerably more of a problem than historically was the case in our communities. Thankfully, the phenomenon is receiving some much-needed attention.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-shameful-post/2014/01/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: