Bill Donohue is up in arms against the New York Times for giving the business to bad Catholic priests while shielding bad rabbis. I fear Bill has overlooked some important coverage.
The casus belli is N.R. Kleinfeld’s story on Msgr. Kevin Wallin, who in three years fell from star of the Bridgeport hierarchy to alleged drug-dealing gay sex orgiast. A classic tale of decline and fall, the 2,745-word feature ran on the front page of Wednesday’s Times. Plus there was a 751-word article that ran on page A-19 a month ago.
Meanwhile, Donohue points out, two New York rabbis have been arrested this year for sex offenses against teenagers, and all the news about them that’s fit to print is one inside story each, with a combined total of but 828 words. Obviously, the Times (Jewish-owned, dontcha know), is sticking it to the Catholics, covering for the Jews.
But soft. There, in the last graph, he notes that the arrest of one of the accused rabbis
came less than two weeks after another member of his ultra-Orthodox Jewish group, an unlicensed therapist, was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman from the time she was 12. By the way, a rabbi who publicly criticized this rapist had a cup of bleach thrown at him, burning his eyes and face. It never made the front page of any newspaper.
Ah yes, that would be Satmar rabbi Nechamya Weberman. Back on December 11, the Times devoted just 671 words on page 30 to the bleach-throwing incident. As it happens, the incident was also mentioned in a same-day editorial, which proclaimed that Weberman’s conviction “sends a strong and overdue message to Williamsburg’s tightly knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, which has shielded such abusers from legal scrutiny.”
And then, on January 29, there was Joseph Berger’s 1,174-word story on the Satmar “modesty police,” shadowy goon squads who enforce dress codes and rules of conduct and who regularly referred the objects of their attention to Weberman. “They operate like the Mafia,” Rabbi Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University, told the Times. The modesty police had drawn excellent coverage from the New York Jewish Week. Let the record show that the Times story appeared on the front page.
Lest we forget, the Times also published a 1,080-word report in December on two rabbis accused of abusing boys at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys back in the 1980s. That story, which was broken by the Jewish Daily Forward, led to Marc Oppenheimer’s January 4 religion column, “No Religious Exemption When It Comes To Abuse.”
So, in fact, the Times has not been burying stories of rabbinical abuse of late. So, as is too often the case, Bill Donohue’s is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.