The ever-cowardly New York Times – a paper that sat on stories of serial child sexual abuse in the haredi community and whose coverage of the massive ICE raid at Agriprocessors has focused mostly on the issue of illegal immigration while largely avoiding detailed reporting on Agriprocessors misdeeds, has wimped out again.
The NYC paper that manages to avoid mention of Agriprocessors' Chabad connection – when Chabad's world headquarters is based in Brooklyn – couldn't handle mild criticism from Agriprocessors' supporters in the comments section of a Times Magazine blog post.
Here is the post as it now stands, along with the comments:
July 17, 2008, 10:57 am
PETA TV: The Meat-Is-Murder Files
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Can online video make you thin?
Maybe. If the thinspiration videos didn’t make you lose your appetite, the sickening animal-rights stuff on PetaTV and Go Veg might.
A lot of the film is from the 2003 meat-industry exposé, solemnly narrated by Alec Baldwin, called “Meet Your Meat.” I was going to post another one of those gross-out, animal-carcasses-on-parade videos, but I’m not sure what the status of those shock-vids is. Are they old, biased, staged, in litigation, too hot to handle?
Or are they right on the money — and should be putting people out of business and off meat for good?
And yet. If you find these videos on PetaTV or Go Veg, you should see for yourself. I’m all for ideologues cataloging video online that purports to show the real story. Everyone gets to make a case, and exposés and even propaganda should never be against the law.
UPDATE, July 18: Parts of this piece have been edited. Initially, I misattributed insights about these videos to a colleague who is at work on a piece about kosher. I regret the mistake.
5 comments so far...
1. July 17th,
What in the world does “supposedly Kosher” mean?!
There are Kosher certifiers who certify the meat as being Kosher - what credentials do you or the person you are quoting have to imply otherwise?
— Posted by Zalman
2. July 17th,
What’s the point of this? Ignore it, go see it, what are you trying to say here?
— Posted by Don Nolley
3. July 17th,
I;m all for video and lettign people make up their own minds, but people who don’t work in factories and white collar moralists should not be telling the American public what to eat - for one they probably can afford Hebrew National hot dogs over the cheaper “meat franks.”
Talk about elitist!
And to all you vegetarians: try buying fresh produce in the city on a REAL WORLD budget. It’s a quality of life issue. That said, one day animals will grow on trees, and this Darwinian nightmare (thanks God!) will be over.
The videos are very entertaining, BTW (If you liked the SAW movies I’d be curious to hear your opinion)
— Posted by meatatarian
4. July 18th,
Thanks for good responses.
My point in linking to Go Veg and PETATV is to call attention to recent video sites that express a point of view.
Embedding videos on nytimes.com means that The New York Times is essentially broadcasting those videos. I’m not prepared to program controversial videos on our site when I can’t tell how they were produced or edited.
Links to videos, and particularly links to sites, are another story. They invite readers to investigate for themselves, just as movie and book reviews invite readers to see and read for themselves.
Viewers who find the meat industry and its foes of interest might seek out these videos for a sense of one side of a controversy. This blog has always tried to demonstrate how polemicists increasingly make their cases with online video and online video archives–as opposed to books, pamphlets, position papers, documentaries, protests, demonstrations, boycotts, strikes, etc.
If anyone has anything to add about the accuracy of these videos–how truthfully or deceitfully they represent the meat business–I’d appreciate it.
— Posted by Virginia Heffernan
5. July 18th,
One more note: By “supposedly kosher,” I meant literally that we suppose that meat processed at kosher slaughterhouses to be kosher.
If these videos are accurate, the meat at this particular processor may not conform strictly to kosher regulations. But the video might not be accurate, or the industry’s critics might misunderstand kosher regulations.
Since I can offer no more reporting on the subject of kosher slaughterhouses and processors, I have cut this section from the post.
Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.
— Posted by Virginia Heffernan
So, even though the Times (almost**) broke the story of the PETA video and broke the story of the USDA's findings against Agriprocessors and in support of the allegations made by PETA based on that undercover video, this "reporter" for the Times Magazine can't leave her reference to that video and to Agriprocessors in her blog entry.
The reporter working on the "piece about kosher" is Samantha M. Shapiro. I hope this action by the Times Magazine doesn't presage her article – although I think it probably does.
[Hat Tip; Heeb n' Vegan.]
** Why "almost"? Because the Times got cold feet and held the story an extra day while editors fretted over the implications of the story for the Times image. As people close to media issues in NYC have long known, the Times doesn't like to do stories that could make the Times appear to be "antisemitic" (as opposed to anti-Israel).
A running joke in the media world is to count the number of fluff pieces about haredim the Times runs after being forced by circumstances to report haredi crime. The last ratio I heard is 1 to 8. That would be one real news story that reflects badly on haredim to eight fluff pieces.
In this case, JewishWorldReview.com beat the Times to the Times' own exclusive story while the Times editors fiddled.