Thursday, April 9, 2020
There Are Dead Rabbis All Over Jersey But The NYT Hasn't Done The Story & Won't Say Why
To: Clifford Levy, Metro Editor NYT
Fr: William McGowan
Date: April 7, 2020
Re: NYT COVID Coverage of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood, NJ
Hi Cliff: I'm a journalist and author in NYC. Wrote Coloring the News and Gray Lady Down, among others. Contribute to a variety mainstream publications. Doing a freelance piece (either for CJR , WSJ or City Journal) focused on how identity politics has infected mainstream media coverage of Coronavirus.
Looking at the NYT lack of coverage abt Orthodox Jews in Lakewood NJ and the anti Semitism it has triggered in the form of social media outrage, FB deplatforming and at least one arrest. Five rabbis from Lakewood have died, among more than two dozen rabbis in the Metro area of NY and NJ. Police say enforcing stay-at-home orders are a "daily" challenge. Ambo drivers taking Orthodox Jewish corona victims (I use the term "victims" advisedly) to Philadelphia bc area hospitals are overflowing and local med staff not in the best of moods given the defiant, irresponsible conduct of their Jewish neighbors who just haven't demonstrated that they believe "We're all in this together."
Questions, for the record:
*Has the ADL put any pressure on you, personally or institutionally, not to report this story in a timely and unbiased manner? If so, who? Oren Siegel? Jonathan Greenblatt?
*Is there a certain ethnocentric anxiety on the part of you or any other Times editors that has fed a reluctance to do what shd be an obvious story in the timely manner it shd be done given the urgency of the crisis and the need for the public to have this kind of information?
*Has NJ Gov. Phil Murphy's office played any role in this lack of reporting? If so, is this accession to censorship?
*Has AG Sulzberger had any convos on this with you or other editors in the running to succeed Dean Baquet?
Pls know, I'm not alleging any kind of conspiracy theory or tropes here, al la the Protocols. Just looking for answers that any journalist worth is salt wd ask in the face of the Times lack of attention here. Other than a story a few weeks ago abt the FDNY busting up a Hasidic wedding in Williamsburg, the only Times person who has gone near this issue is Bari Weiss and she did so only in the most ethnocentric and ethnically defensive manner.
Thanks. Stay safe.
William (Bill) McGowan