Top Media Prize Snubs New York Times Series on Yeshivas
By Meir Sternhill
The falsehood-riddled New York Times series on yeshivas was denied a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious recognition in the media industry, offering a measure of relief to Jewish groups who had criticized the string of 18 articles as one-sided and deeply erroneous.
The Times, it was suspected, timed the articles for the end of 2022 to garner a prize for investigative reporting. Beginning on September 11 and running through December 26, the 18 articles made a raft of absurd claims, such as that yeshivas were “flush with taxpayer cash,” that yeshivas routinely deny their students a well-rounded education, and that corporal punishment was common.
Some of the articles splintered off to side subjects, such as an error-laden focus on Kiryas Joel and claims that yeshivas require students to get an autism diagnosis or be sent away.
The focus on the Orthodox community, coming amid the worst bout of antisemitic violence in modern recorded American history, has concerned groups ranging from Agudath Israel to the Anti-Defamation League, which issued rare criticism of the Times for its coverage.
KnowUs.org, a website set up by Agudah to counter the misinformation, said it was gratified that the Times reporters who did the investigative series, Eliza Shapiro and Brian Rosenthal, were denied the high-profile credit.
“While there is no way of knowing with certainty why the much-ballyhooed series did not receive a Pulitzer Prize,” the site said in a statement, “the news that The Times was not awarded for its one-sided and erroneous portrayals of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews was greeted with much appreciation and relief in Orthodox Jewish circles.”
KnowUs had sent each member of the Pulitzer Prize board a 30-page letter explaining how the Times had based its coverage using misleading data, ignoring sources who had positive information, and quoting the head of the anti-yeshiva group Yaffed as a concerned mother instead of an activist.
The Times has not commented on the numerous journalist malpractices employed by its journalists.
Instead, the 2023 Pulitzer for investigative reporting went to the Wall Street Journal for the paper’s “sharp accountability reporting on financial conflicts of interest among officials at 50 federal agencies, revealing those who bought and sold stocks they regulated and other ethical violations by individuals charged with safeguarding the public’s interest.”
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