The question answers itself. In a charming little afterword Auerbach, who is a professor emeritus at Wellesley College, tells us that he first became aware of the New York Times when, as a child, his father showed him a picture of Hank Greenberg crossing home plate after hitting the grand slam that clinched the pennant for the Detroit Tigers. Greenberg, it turned out, was his cousin. A resolute creature of habit, I continued to begin each day with The New York Times as my breakfast companion.
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Along the way, I realized that the Times had a Jewish problem. Auerbach introduces his study by noting that was the year in which both the enterprising young Adolph Ochs bought the New York Times and Theodor Herzl published Der Judenstaat. Fiercely loyal Reform Jews and eventually Episcopalians of Jewish descent , they were vehemently opposed to, if not appalled by, the notion that Jews were anything but members of a religious faith. One could understand this attitude during the first half of the 20 th century, when the idea of a Jewish state could have been seen as far-fetched.
But it persisted far longer, until well after the establishment of the state. Saying so is not an endorsement and is not a criticism, but merely a statement of reality. And, as Auerbach shows, the attitudes and anxieties underlying this policy extend back a full half-century before Auerbach provides readers with so many examples of outright imbalance on the part of the paper that a reader might be justified in thinking that he is just cutting and pasting previous paragraphs with a change of locale, date, and reporter.
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Contrast, for example, the way Israeli victims and Palestinian perpetrators were treated by the paper in the following seven instances between and In Hamas bombed a bus in downtown Jerusalem, killing 19 people. In , 13 Israeli soldiers were ambushed and killed in Jenin while engaged in house-to-house fighting because the IDF did not want to drop bombs that would kill innocent civilians.
At the same time, eight Israelis were killed in a suicide bus bombing.
In reporting on these events, the paper focused on reports of an Israeli massacre of a hundred Palestinian civilians. The reports were false. In , when an Israeli Arab set off a bomb killing six Israelis at a bus stop, Times correspondent Joel Greenberg visited his village and covered his funeral.
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There was no coverage of the Israeli victims. This time the newspaper acknowledged that this was a poor choice. These are by no means the only instances of bias Auerbach documents during this year period. The paper described the SS St. The same thing happened when the Struma , a boat stranded off the coast of Turkey, sank with over seven hundred Jewish passengers aboard in Nonetheless, it should be noted that there were scores of articles in the paper that did call attention to the specific suffering of Jews.
Kristallnacht was given front-page coverage. Reports on the mass killing of Jews were repeatedly published.
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Subsequent events would prove him spectacularly wrong. It has not. Sometimes Auerbach goes too far, criticizing the paper for publishing views that, while critical of government policy, are held by many Israelis. But many Israelis, on the right and the left, both religious and secular, are deeply distressed by how those parties have used their political clout to thwart the will of the majority on numerous issues.
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Indeed, it is a key issue in the present elections. Oz, the disgruntled spymaster, and these others might have opinions with which Auerbach disagrees, and the Times has certainly tilted left in its choices, but to dismiss them as unworthy sources and contributors unnecessarily weakens his critique, which, overall, is devastating.
It was noisy, and he was speaking loudly because of his disability, as well as because of the decibel level around him.
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He was telling a story about one of his road trips. Suddenly, as happens at these shindigs, the room grew quiet.
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Thus, Dave, such a pleasant guy, never hesitated sneaking in those three little words. I admit, I do, too. Even medical conditions were subject to scrutiny, if not a proctologic examination. When Ali was training for his first title defense against Sonny Liston, he suffered a painful hernia. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery. Our Bob Lipsyte , perhaps the writer I most admired on the paper, already had filed his story for the day and had left, and could not be reached in that pre-cellphone year of I happened to be on rewrite that night, and the editors asked me to insert the medical facts.
I worked the phone in my best Page One fashion and got a rather complete medical history and explanation of what happened and why Ali who was then called Cassius Clay had to postpone the bout. One night, before the three of us went out to dinner, she showed me around their rented home on Long Island. She launched herself onto the bed, and began to roll around.
Of course, those of us who work with words are delighted when we can invigorate the language with a new phrase, or find an athlete who has a new way of saying something old and tired. Remember, I was in Seattle, and it was close to midnight in New York.
I told them what I had. However, one of the tabloids in the city actually used the real quote. And then the Long Island paper Newsday , which had a media columnist then, subsequently wrote a big story about how every paper in the city had used that f-word except The Times , which—for shame—altered the quote. That embarrassed the powers at my paper, and an edict came down from on high: Never again is a quote to be altered for any reason.
You can use brackets to show that a word has been changed, but not actually change a quote directly. I mentioned that edict to Ramsey later that week. Some years later, I was at a Jets exhibition game in Nashville. I want you to meet someone. They have a rule about me there! Good for Chuck, I thought. Glad he could laugh about that odious moment. Still, some part of me wishes I could have made history at the paper by getting the f-word past our editors.