The New York Times on Tuesday night badly butchered a story on a forthcoming executive order from President Donald Trump addressing anti-Semitism on college campuses.
The story, which quickly went viral on Twitter, alleged that Trump was redefining Jewish-Americans as a separate nationality, leading some Trump critics to draw comparisons between the president and Hitler.
“It smacks not only of what happened in the Soviet Union but also Nazi Germany,” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said on CNN Wednesday morning.
President Trump will sign an executive order to interpret Judaism as a nationality to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses, his administration says.
— New Day (@NewDay) December 11, 2019
“Mr. Trump’s order will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans,” the paper claimed in its story.
But that was inaccurate.
What the order does do is ensure anti-Semitism is covered by Title VI civil rights protections, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin at federally funded institutions, such as universities.
“Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin,” reads a leaked version of the order, which Trump is expected to sign on Wednesday.
Tablet Magazine writer Yair Rosenberg noted that “the underlying rule here is an Obama-era distinction that protects Jews as a ‘nationality and race’ *not* because we Jews all see ourselves that way, but because RACISTS do, and the law needs to fight them when they do that.”
“Unless the administration changed the executive order on anti-Semitism at the last minute, it seems like we had a national Twitter freakout yesterday over bad reporting,” added Rosenberg.
The paper’s misleading story drew criticism not only from conservatives, but also from writers on the left.
“The order’s interpretation of Title VI — insofar as the law applies to Jews — is entirely in line with the Obama administration’s approach,” noted liberal Slate writer Mark Stern, who concluded that “The New York Times absolutely blew this story.”
No, the Trump administration is not redefining Judaism as a race or nationality. It’s reaffirming an interpretation of civil rights law shared by the Obama administration. The New York Times absolutely blew this story. https://t.co/wSO0Ylaf97 @Slate
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) December 11, 2019
“The New York Times absolutely blew this story. [The order] does not saying anything like what they claimed,” wrote left-wing Vox writer Ian Millhiser.
I have read that so-called “Jews are a nationality” executive order, which you can read here.https://t.co/rstKoXTVs0
The New York Times completely blew this story. It does not say anything like what they claimed.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) December 11, 2019
The Times didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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