Stupid New York Times tricks

An obituary the New York Times recently published illustrates how averse that journal is to giving credit to Donald Trump for anything good, while maintaining a claim on journalistic integrity.

In its obituary of Jakiw Palij, “a former Nazi concentration camp guard who lived for decades in New York City and resisted deportation for 14 years,” the Times waited 17 paragraphs into an 18 paragraph article before acknowledging:

The Trump administration made his deportation a priority, announcing in August 2018 that Germany would receive Mr. Palij. The same day, officials escorted him from his home, and he was flown to Münster, in northwestern Germany.

As most newspaper editors and writers understand, this means that only a small percentage of readers will ever see these key words, even though they are the most politically significant and currently relevant aspect of Palij’s story. It could easily have been in the lead paragraph, and almost certainly would have been prominently featured had the Obama administration made his deportation a priority. This hideous man had resisted deportation for 14 years, after all, so expelling him was not easily or quickly accomplished. It is an achievement that reflects well on President Trump.

But of course, the narrative favored by the 90% of the media that is hostile to Trump is that he is some kind of Nazi, or a “white supremacist,” or an anti-Semite.

By reporting awkward facts but burying them, the NYT is able to claim that its coverage is comprehensive, while sheltering readers from facts that counter its preferred narratives. Since the Nazis are part of this story, it bears comparison to the way that paper covered the Holocaust: by burying it. As Marlow Stern wrote in the Daily Beast years ago:

Between 1939 and 1945, The New York Times published more than 23,000 front-page stories. Of those, 11,500 were about World War II. Twenty-six were about the Holocaust.

So why did “the paper of record,” which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is said to have combed through every morning, decide to bury the bulk of its Holocaust coverage deep inside the paper, nestled between advertisements?

(adapted from The Daily Beast)

Stern directs readers to the documentary film, Reporting on the Times:

As an example of the Times’s paltry coverage of the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of approximately 6 million Jews, the film points to a story published in the paper July 29, 1942, about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. The story bore the headline “Warsaw Fears Extermination,” was published on Page 7, and was not even a stand-alone story, instead consisting of a handful of paragraphs nestled next to an ad for Emerson spinet pianos.

“It was a bad judgment call,” former Times reporter Alex Jones (’83–’92) says in the film. “It was something that mattered as much as anything as far as news judgment, and The New York Times blew it.”

According to the documentary, the Times’s editors made a conscious decision to bury the paper’s Holocaust coverage. The paper had long been a mirror of society, and in 1942, the majority of Americans harbored anti-Semitic views.

To say that the majority of Times readers “harbor” anti-Trump sentiments is to understate the situation. The paper remains a practitioner of the same trick as it used to obscure the great historical crime that was as uncomfortable to its readers then as praiseworthy actions of President Trump are today.  The fact that the Holocaust is central to both evasions brings the story full circle.

Hat tip: David Paulin