NBC has been excoriated for implying a recent spate of anti-Semitic violence arose from “civic sparring” between expanding Orthodox Jewish communities and their neighbors in New York. But the rage doesn’t quite grasp the problem.
The network coined the euphemism “civic sparring” to describe the often-heated conflicts that take place in the suburbs of New York City when Hasidic Jewish communities – often insular, with large numbers of children, and wary of outsiders – begin expanding, sometimes at the expense of families already living in the area, who may lose control of local government and schools.
NBC didn’t stop at coining the cringeworthy term, however. It suggested “some fear the recent violence” – a mass stabbing at a Hanukkah celebration inside a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York; a shooting that killed three in a Jersey City kosher market; a recent spate of street attacks in New York City – “may be an outgrowth of that conflict” in a since-deleted tweet on Thursday.
Many accused the network of victim-blaming, comparing it to other popular blame-transfer mechanisms favored by MSM. “Her dress was too short,” one user snarked. “Or too long in this case,” another commented, slyly referencing Hasidic dress which outfits women in full-length skirts and other ultra-modest looks.
“Civic sparring” joins an ever-growing sea of mainstream media euphemisms devised to insulate readers and reporters both from uncomfortable realities – in this case, the idea that diversity might not always be our strength, and that communities with dramatically different values might not do well living on top of each other.
After drowning in angry replies, NBC removed the “civic sparring” tweet, regretting the “error” and promising another, non-offensive message to follow.
Instead, they placed their foot deeper in their mouth – though admittedly, just tweeting the article’s headline. “Anti-Semitism grows in Jewish communities in NYC suburbs” made it sound like the Jewish communities were the ones being antisemitic. Social media had other suggestions.
Haven’t you noticed a common theme among these violent, hate filled attackers? You know, the race?
— Hammond Egger💧🇺🇸💎 (@HammondEgger1) January 2, 2020
In Jewish communities? Don’t you mean, in the black community?
— Leon (@sweatandlies) January 2, 2020
Just close your account until the real reporters come back from vacation.
— Not That Michael Cohen (@mdcohen) January 2, 2020
MSM has become notorious for whipping up euphemisms to cover up inconvenient truths, whether it’s the “cultural enrichment” accompanying the crime spike in Europe, or the “austere religious scholar” who led the Islamic State terror group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) until he was blown up and given a stirring eulogy by the Washington Post. These outlets have no problem irresponsibly exaggerating some issues – “Free speech is killing us!” cried a New York Times op-ed that likened online “hate speech” to physical violence in order to demand government censorship – the latest in a long string of articles about social media supposedly turning Americans into froth-mouthed extremists. New York Magazine published “Why Migrant Detention Centers Are Concentration Camps” in June, only to apparently change the name to something a bit more nuanced. These same outlets can be counted upon to either minimize – as they did upon learning that a rabidly anti-Iran cult that allegedly tortures its members has run such an effective campaign to radicalize Americans against Iran online that the president retweeted it and the State Department sank $1.5 million into an identical social media program – or completely ignore others, as when the AP actually deleted an article on those same border “concentration camps” when it learned the scary statistic it found had been reached under Obama.
It may be easier (and more cathartic) to just assume that NBC is being anti-Semitic and scream at them. But the narrative management is more sophisticated. NBC certainly doesn’t hate Jews – as long as they’re playing their assigned part in the narrative. It will ignore an entire documentary exposing the Israeli lobby’s penetration into the American government (and media, in what is no doubt merely a coincidence). But the rainbow of diversity dissolving into rivers of blood? They’ll pass on that one.
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