Steven I. Weiss, in a long post defending Chabad from its critics, notes the following about reports he wrote surrounding the Rebbe's 10th yartzeit and the prominent messianism in Crown Heights:
I'm sad that some of my previous reporting of this is missing due to the inexplicable removal (to no one's apparent knowledge) of some of my items from the Forward's Website; maybe I can find some useful nuggets in my notes.
This is nothing new. Articles that contain unfavorable reports about Chabad have also disappeared from other news websites, including Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post. The New York Jewish Week ran coverage of the 10th yartzeit that was edited – without the reporter's knowledege or permission – to minimize reports of messianism. References to messianic activity that dominated Chabad's main synagogue were change to read "the basement synagogue," in order to incorrectly leave the impression that the small 2nd floor shteibel (small chapel) where little open messianism was evidenced was somehow the large, main synagogue in Chabad headquarters. The second floor chapel can legally hold about 100 worshippers. The main synagogue, which fills the basement level of the building, can legally hold several thousand.
As for Weiss's arguments in defense of Chabad, they include gems like the following:
But my conversations with messianist and non-messianist Lubavitchers have shown a wealth of possible meanings for terms like "shlita" or songs like Yechi (indeed, some Lubavitchers have commented on Miriam's original post to this effect). There's a lot to everyone's theology — especially a chasid's — and a plain, literal reading of whatever texts one's found them displaying likely doesn't get the job done. Now, call me crazy, but when I see a video that doesn't indicate some actual physical presence, and a literal, outsider reader reading of a caption says it does, I'll tend to default toward an allegorical reading.
Shlit"a is an acronym for , "May he live many long and good days." Yechi is the Chabad chant referring to the late rebbe that is uttered in Chabad prayer services and gatherings, and which is also found as a slogan printed on pictures, posters and billboards featuring the photograph of the late rebbe. It translates, "Long live our master, our teacher, our Rebbe, King Messiah, forever and ever."
What Weiss does not realize is his apologetics are no different from the apologetics used by Shabbatians defending their rebbe, Shabbatai Tsvi, and Shabbatian practice.
He also passes on the significance (or the mention!) of the Rabbinical Council of America's statement condemning Chabad messianism. The RCA is the largest Orthodox rabbinical body in North America.
So, do missing articles containing information unflattering to Chabad, along with the naiive apologetics of an up-and-coming Jewish jounalist prove media bias and deception? History will (eventually) tell.
(More on this can be found in the post immediately below.)