New York Times now promises ‘Anti-Semitism sensitivity training’ for its staff
The New York Times is handling the controversy over its anti-Semitic cartoon exactly the opposite of the reigning wisdom on crisis management. Were the issue of the rising tide of Jew-hatred not such a matter of life-and-death concern, the Times’ handling of the crisis over its publication of a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon – one with echoes of classic Nazi propaganda -- would be a matter of high comedy.
The newspaper that considers itself the premier provider of political insight for Americans has managed to bungle its own crisis management. Lanny Davis, a White House advisor on crisis management when Bill Clinton faced the crisis of being impeached, laid out the widely-recognized fundamental point of effective crisis management in this book:
Instead of getting on top of the issue, the Times has continually stonewalled, and continues to stonewall on the important details. It still continues to hide the identity of the editor who approved the publication of the anti-Semitic cartoon, and, although it now promises “punishment” to the editor, the nature of that punishment also remains a secret.
Dylan Stableford of Yahoo News tweeted out the information that “sensitivity training” is in store for Timesmen and Timeswomen and all the other categories of gender identity recognized by the Grey Lady:
UPDATE: In a memo to staff, the New York Times' publisher says the editor who selected an anti-Semitic cartoon is being disciplined, and the paper is "updating our unconscious bias training to ensure it includes a direct focus on anti-Semitism" https://t.co/cmYWsf4Y8G pic.twitter.com/NbHw4QKQ3o— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) May 1, 2019
The sad reality is that most diversity training is counterproductive. So, we can expect resentment of Jews to be heightened among staff members subject to this sort of thought-reform, based on the odds. The main impetus for diversity training is not belief in its effectiveness, but the need to be seen to be “doing something” – particularly important as a courtroom defense against lawsuits alleging discrimination.
Many AT readers are familiar with the ways in which the Times has dragged out this crisis, instead of following Lanny Davis’s sound advice. For a quick review, Breitbart offers this summary and rough timeline:
The Times last Thursday printed a cartoon that showed Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu as a dog wearing a leash and with a Star of David on the collar leading a blind President Donald Trump who was wearing a skullcap around the world. The cartoon, which is blatantly antisemitic, mimics literal Nazi propaganda from 1940 when the Nazi regime in Germany published images of a Jewish man leading around British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Pic 1: The Jew leads Winston Churchill.— Kay Wilson (@kishkushkay) April 28, 2019
Nazi Germany 1940.
Pic 2: The Jew leads #DonaldTrump @nytimes USA 2019. pic.twitter.com/on0Nj6NueO
On Saturday, the Times retracted the cartoon and issued an editor’s note that did not include an apology for it. Under immense further pressure on Sunday, the Times then issued an apology and announced an internal investigation into the matter, promising changes. But on Monday it was revealed that the Times on Saturday published a second insensitive cartoon bashing the Israeli Prime Minister–and in response to that second one the Times defended it and said it was not antisemitic but also, under more pressure, publicly confirmed it has now ceased its licensing agreement with its cartoon distributor and will no longer be publishing any cartoons in its international edition.
In addition to Sulzberger’s latest memo to New York Times staff, the Times editorial board hammered its own newspaper for printing “bigoted” imagery that fails to learn the proper lessons from history.
The Times needs to go for radical transparency, identifying the editor who published the first and second anti-Semitic cartoons, and do an inventory of the material it has published that has been objected to as anti-Semitic (there is a lot). And then it needs to start firing people.
It won't. And the problem will get worse. At this point, that is to be expected, which really implies that the Times doesn't want to change.