An Orthodox Jewish advocacy organization is urging the Pulitzer Board ahead of their annual awards on May 8 to think carefully before awarding the New York Times for what they described as biased reporting about the Jewish community and specifically Jewish yeshiva schools.
“Between September 11, 2022, and March 2, 2023, the New York Times has engaged in a relentless campaign of overwhelmingly negative depictions of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, their educational institutions, and their lives,” reads the open letter issued last month by KnowUs.org.
Agudath Israel, an umbrella group founded in 1922 that represents various Orthodox Jewish communities, launched its KnowUs campaign in January in response to the New York Times’ reporting about various Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish schools.
The campaign includes billboards posted around Manhattan — including one next to The New York Times Building — and a website with information disputing the paper’s reporting.
Beginning in September, the Times began to roll out series of investigative stories about Orthodox boys’ schools — also known as yeshivas — and devoted particular attention to the Hasidic Jewish community associated with Orthodox Judaism.
The articles claimed some yeshivas faced poor scores on standardized tests and provided scant secular education while receiving significant public funding, which the paper claimed leaves graduates “unprepared to navigate the outside world” and prone to “end up addicted to drugs and alcohol.”
Agudath Israel leaders have maintained that the Times’ coverage lacked balance by focusing too much on the individual negative experiences at some yeshiva schools while neglecting to give the Orthodox Jewish community adequate opportunity to showcase their potential benefits.
“Any constructive, legitimate issues these articles may have sought to raise were buried by misleading statistics; an unethical lack of transparency of the Times’ sources; lack of balance; omission of critical context; questionable credit-taking for subsequent events; and repeated engagement in negative association fallacy,” the organization’s letter to the Pulitzer Board said.
The letter goes on to note how antisemitic attacks — especially against Orthodox Jews — have risen in the U.S. to unprecedented levels. The number of antisemitic hate crimes doubled from 2020 to 2022 and are more frequent than hate crimes against all other minority groups in the city, according to the New York Police Department.
Attached to the letter is an extensive appendix that offers examples of “numerous, serious infractions of journalistic ethics” allegedly perpetrated throughout the Times’ coverage of the community.
“Sometimes the media gets things wrong. It happens. But this was egregious,” KnowUs director Avrohom Weinstock said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.
“The New York Times targeted the entire Orthodox Jewish community, unrelentingly, over months, based on demonstrably misleading statistics; an unethical lack of transparency regarding sources; recycled antisemitic tropes; an utter lack of balance; questionable credit-taking; and other journalistic breaches,” he continued.
“All this at a time Hasidic and Orthodox Jews are getting beaten in the streets in record numbers. This crusade by the Times needed to be firmly called out.”
Adding that it would be “unconscionable” for the Pulitzer Board to award the Times for their reporting, Weinstock added, “If the Pulitzer Board then decides to reward the Times for its distorted coverage despite the facts brought to light, that says more about the Pulitzer Board than it does about anything else.”
Neither the New York Times nor the Pulitzer Board responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
To see more about the Orthodox community’s response to the New York Times’ investigation, click here.
Fox News Digital’s Kassy Dillon contributed to this report.