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Friday, June 4, 2010

Anti-Semitism Again in "The Lede" at The New York Times: An Open Letter to Andrew Rosenthal

Dear Andrew,

You will recall our past correspondence concerning the posting of anti-Semitic online comments by The New York Times. You even personally examined the examples that I provided to you and removed many of the offending posts.

In case you haven't noticed, anti-Semitism is back "big time" at the Times. Even more ludicrous is Robert Mackey's attempt to justify the "moderation" process of the Times, which tolerates this racism.

In response to his "Lede" article, "Israelis Explain, and Mock, Flotilla Crisis" (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/israelis-explain-and-mock-flotilla-clash/), Robert Mackey, the author of and person responsible for the column, writes in response to reader's comment no. 19:

"The Web site is behind on explaining the comments policy fully, but there are many other reasons besides being off-topic or abusive that comments are not approved and published. The main one is simply repeating points already made by other readers, but in general the discussion is moderated and if a comment seems to add little to the thread, or is inflammatory, attacks other readers, the author or The Times, it will not be posted. I also tend not to post too many comments that contain factual errors or seem to me to be based on misreadings of the blog posts."

If a comment is inflammatory it will not be posted by Robert Mackey, who appears to take "credit" for "moderating" the comments in response to his column? Andy, have a look at comment no. 24 written by "farmboy", which states in relevant part:

"Israel lies all the time, and as I understand it lies are not considered sinful by the Orthodox if they serve to advance the cause of the chosen people."

Does Mackey wish to claim that this comment is not anti-Semitic and inflammatory in the extreme? I sent the following comment in response thereto, which states in its entirety:

"Mr. Mackey, you state: "in general the discussion is moderated and if a comment seems to add little to the thread, or is inflammatory, attacks other readers, the author or The Times, it will not be posted."

Is it your contention that comment no. 24 from 'farmboy' is not racist, vulgar and inflammatory?"

Needless to say, my comment was censored by the person "moderating" these comments. Query: Was Mackey responsible for the posting of farmboy's comment and the censorship of my comment?

Equally absurd is Mackey's contention, "I tend not to post too many comments that contain factual errors". Get a load of comment no. 53 by Zach, which states in relevant part:

"Israel doesn't much care for justice, but it does know how to win, as it's been doing so since 1917."

I will let you decide whether this comment is "inflammatory"; however, as is known to all, Israel became a state only in 1948.

Robert Mackey declares after comment no. 15:

"As a reporter and former fact-checker with no reason to side with either the Israelis or the Palestinians, I am simply trying to get some sense of what did happen based on very limited scraps of evidence at hand."

If Mackey is indeed responsible for the "moderation" of comments in response to his column as he himself suggests, I question his claim that he has "no reason to side with either the Israelis of the Palestinians" and further ask whether he should continue to be allowed to "moderate" comments in response to his column, given the flagrant anti-Semitism expressed in comment no. 24.

I welcome your feedback.

Best,
Jeffrey

8 comments:

  1. Disgusting behavior on the part of The New York Times. Does Mackey moderate comments to his own column? Isn't there something unethical about this?

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  2. If Mackey actually moderates the comments to his own column, this former "fact-checker" doesn't even know when Israel declared its independence . . .

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  3. Did Rosenthal get back to you? I already cancelled my daily subscription to the Times and will no longer buy their Sunday paper.

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  4. No, Rosenthal did not respond. Nor did the Public Editor of the Times. Nor did Mackey.

    Perhaps they think that in light of Helen Thomas's recent comment that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14), that their conduct is angelic.

    As I noted in an earlier blog entry regarding anti-Semitism (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/04/obama-opens-floodgates-of-anti-semitism.html), Obama has let the genie out of the bottle.

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  5. I have just sent the following e-mail to the Public Editor of the Times. Will I hear back from him? Given my past experience with him, I am not holding my breath (I am still waiting to receive the opinion promised by his office concerning whether Roger Cohen's "What Iran's Jews Say" fell within the Times' ethical guidelines):

    Dear Mr. Hoyt,

    I have not heard back from Mr. Rosenthal in response to my e-mail below.

    As such, I kindly request your opinion whether the following comment posted by the Times is inflammatory and racist:

    "Israel lies all the time, and as I understand it lies are not considered sinful by the Orthodox if they serve to advance the cause of the chosen people."

    In addition, please inform me whether Mr. Mackey is responsible for "moderating" comments to his own column and if so, whether: 1. NYT readers should be informed of this practice, and 2. whether in your opinion this constitutes ethical journalism.

    Yours truly,
    Jeffrey

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  6. In his column, former NYT fact-checker Mackey questioned the authenticity of the recordings in which persons from the Gaza "peace" flotilla told the IDF, “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz,” and, “We’re helping Arabs go against the U.S., don’t forget 9/11 guys.”

    For Mackey's information and edification, the IDF has made available the unedited tape (almost 6 minutes long) containing these comments: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-clarifies-go-back-to-auschwitz-recording-edited-but-authentic-1.294432

    I suppose this is no worse that what Helen Thomas said. In the Obama era, expressions of anti-Semitism have become the social norm.

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  7. Mackey goes to much greater effort to come close to accusing the IDF of fabricating the audio tape in his new blogpost:
    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/photographs-of-battered-israeli-commandos-show-new-side-of-raid/

    plus, he just can not let go of Caroline Glick's satire.
    K2K

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  8. I just would like to say that I enjoy your comments in the NYT.
    I've been fighting Mackey for some time. Several weeks ago, I woke up to his FOUR articles in row dedicated to bashing Jews in JEWISH state and a really antisemitic orgy which followed. According to Mackey's pompous declaration, his blog deals with international, national and local news (all of them). In reality, it's Israel, Israel, Israel.

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