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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New York Times Public Editor's Office: No Institutional Anti-Semitism at the Moderation Desk

Within the flurry of e-mails relating to the decision of The New York Times to remove the anti-Semitic comment, no. 24, posted in response to Robert Mackey's "Lede" article, "Israelis Explain, and Mock, Flotilla Crisis" (, the Public Editor's Office wrote to me:

"While I hope you continue to bring these to my attention, I also hope that you can see that there is certainly no institutional anti-Semitism at The Times moderation desk. I have seen truly inappropriate and hateful comments among the many rejected comments in The Times's system. And I have seen countless comments in fervent support of Israel approved alongside those critical and harsh against the actions of the government. The Times tries to keep an open and civil dialogue amidst its various comments and I think it does a good job overall."

"Institutional anti-Semitism"? A comment stating, "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," should never have been approved by the Times moderators, and there is nothing "borderline" about the decision, as the Public Editor's Office suggested to me in an earlier e-mail.

My response to the Public Editor's Office in relevant part:

"The Times moderators in the recent past consistently posted rabid expressions of anti-Semitism (see: . . . I have never seen such expressions of hatred in online NYT comments directed against any other minority."

Are the Times moderators anti-Semitic? I cannot possibly form an opinion, inasmuch as I have never spoken or corresponded with any of them, and presumably we are talking about a group of people with different thoughts and opinions. One thing, however, is certain: They have shown themselves willing to take liberties with Jewish sensitivities that I have never witnessed with respect to any other minority, and this is a frightening trend, which although not unique to the Times, is certainly a sign of the times.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad the NYT decided that Tony Judt's op-ed today will not accept comments. One has to question the entire NYT editorial policy when they let Judt decide that "democratic" Turkey is worth calling for the U.S. to cut the cord with Israel, and completely ignore any news coverage of what is REALLY going on in Turkey.
    I got a comment approved at Mackey's blogpost on the two "peace activits" solely by focussing on O'Keefe, suggesting a journalist follow the money in figuring out O'Keefe's true intentions. At this point, the fight is not over anti-semitism, but for the credibility of Israel, and exposing Turkey's con game.