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The deep rot at the New York Times

Ashley Rindsberg is an American novelist, media commentator, essayist, and journalist based in Israel. His 2021 book, The Gray Lady Winked, offers a shocking account of how the New York Times’s misreporting, distortions and fabrications have radically altered history. Here is what some reviewers have said about this book:

Rindsberg’s timely book deals with the abuse of information for political purposes – Adi Schwartz, The War of Return

”Those who still trust the New York Times…should look into the Gray Lady’s rich history of pumping out Big Lies….America’s “newspaper of record” has serially misinformed its readers, often with disastrous consequences…No paper with a past like the Gray Lady’s can be trusted to deliver “all the news that’s fit to print,” or to identify “fake news.” – Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies New York University

In an interview with The Sunday Guardian, Rindsberg talked about several incidents of egregious journalistic transgressions by The New York Times, the self-appointed beacon of American journalism. Here are a few direct quotes from this interview:

On anti-Hindu bias

“The Times’ coverage of India is almost Orientalist—it’s almost as if it’s a backward place characterized by nationalism, violence, and sexual assault.”

“I read in an article somewhere, where they just flatly stated that there’s a rampant rape culture in India. And I was like, what? So, I actually started to look at the statistics to see what they meant. And you look at the statistics, and they’re a fraction of cases from what the US or Western Europe experiences. How can you make an assertion like that when the statistics are not even close to being there?”

“So that was what I wanted to understand. I think on the broad level India (is portrayed as) being this nationalist kind of bully. And I think on a more specific level, it’s an anti-Hindu approach. I have a list of headlines here from the New York Times.”

  • Why India’s farmers fight to save a broken system.
  • Under Modi, a Hindu nationalist surge has further divided India.
  • What the rape and murder of a child reveal about Modi’s India.
  • Death is the only truth (that’s a quote) watching India’s funeral pyres burn.
  • India’s battered free press.

“And you go back to China and you look at the China reporting for example, on the pandemic. In August of 2020, there the New York Times is celebrating China’s victory over Covid and taking the CCP’s statistics of Covid deaths at face value. The statistics the CCP provides are absurd, but the New York Times prints them, gives them that credibility. So you think to yourself why is there this division in how they cover China and how they cover India? Why is one being shown as this sort of progressive place that has managed to conquer a pandemic and the other this backward place characterized by funeral pyres and rape—and that’s what I’m trying to understand.”

In a different interview (see the YouTube video above), Rindsberg speculates on NYT’s reasons for the anti-Hindu bias:

“…at least a part of that answer is [that] it challenges their worldview. When they look at a country that is succeeding on a model that they don’t necessarily agree with, which is…India in more recent history is more capitalist [and at the same time] is also pluralistic, without losing national identity. And that’s something that, I think, fries The New York Times’ brain.”

“I do think there is also something that is more subtle and more insidious, that goes back a very long way in the New York Times stretching to the early 20th century when they were covering …Hinduism and Hindu beliefs and practices in a way that is absolutely shocking…So you have to think to yourself, there is something that’s maybe in the groundwater, culturally at the New York Times, that is racist, just to put it plainly.”

More excerpts from The Sunday Guardian interview

Coverage of Nazi Germany

“New York Times reported on the eve of World War Two that Poland or Polish forces had invaded Germany and sort of given Germany license to retaliate, at least initially.”

“Nazis really favoured the reporting coming out of the New York Times bureau in Berlin. And the reason was because the Times bureau chief, Guido Enderis was a Nazi sympathiser, and Nazi collaborator, he actually worked with them. That was something that was on record. And that was something that the New York Times management and ownership were made aware of. And they threatened to sue the whistleblower in response.”

“The New York Times did not cover the Holocaust. They would bury tiny little stories about the murder of 600,000 Jews in Poland or Russia. They would keep it off the front page.”

Stealth Soviet sympathizer?

“Stalin murdered five to seven million people in order to consolidate power in Russia in the early days, and he did it by engineering a famine in the Ukraine, in part. And the New York Times helped make that go away by just denying it.”

“The New York Times really seeing a market in or being part of a business consortium that saw enormous market in the industrialising Soviet Union in the 1930s, and wanted to make that potential into a business reality….So they had this incentive to be pushing for US recognition of the Soviet Union. And it was a major stumbling block if Stalin had just murdered 5 million people as he had, so they removed it.”

Coverage of China

“So when we think about the Uyghurs, you are saying where is the front page coverage?”

“Why was the New York Times so invested in discrediting the lab leak from the very beginning? From February of 2020, when we barely knew there was a pandemic circulating around the world, they were already discrediting the lab leak as a conspiracy theory and they were calling it racist. For the next year and a half they pursued that one (the racist theory).”

“You look at the New York Times’ business relationship with China, that they have been trying to get access to the Chinese news market for the last 10 years. And when they’ve run afoul of CCP, either policies or preferences, they’ve been blocked. And the Times is well aware that if they ever want to get that (access) back, they need to toe the party line quite literally.”

Truth be damned

“Leslie Harris, Professor of African American History at Northwestern University, an African American woman, who was used by the New York Times as a fact checker for some of these core claims—like the claim that the American Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery. Though it was a claim the New York Times was trying to make and she told them you cannot say that; it’s completely false. And they printed it anyways. And this is because the interest there was not the truth, it was not accuracy, it was not fact gathering, it was explicitly changing the narrative. And that was in service of a marketing strategy that the Times has laid out for itself.”

On Washington Post’s soft coverage of China

“And when you’re asking about the Washington Post, as an example, it’s now a cultural institution, a newspaper owned by effectively one man. And that man, Jeff Bezos has extremely deep interest in China. We’re talking about half of all the top 10,000 sellers across Amazon are Chinese. We’re talking about the most important market for their biggest division, which is Amazon Web Services, that accounts for half of their profit annually, that market will be made or broken by their ability to compete in China. And China has the ability to just say no to them.”

by Dr. Jai G. Bansal

(This article was first published on on Arpil 25, 2022 and has been republished in full with permission)

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