The New York Times runs a must-click Web site in part because of its clear, crisp, enterprising graphic presentations of complex political issues. Today the paper got a bit too enterprising.
Even as amended, the chart uses yellow highlighting to denote congressional districts with heavy Jewish populations. “The yellow highlighting of the Jewishness of lawmakers or their constituencies — indeed the whole chart — screams ‘disproportionate influence,’ ” argues Ron Kampeas at JTA.
When asked about the paper’s edits to the graphic, New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha responded, “After a number of readers raised questions, editors took another look and decided that that element of the graphic put too much emphasis on the question of which Democrats opposing the deal were Jewish. The Iran issue was particularly contentious among many Jewish voters, and the revised version of the graphic notes that a significant number of the Democrats opposed to the deal —
15 of 23* — were Jewish. But singling those lawmakers out in a separate column of the graphic seemed unnecessary, and struck some readers as insensitive.”
*This statement from the Times was incorrect: In fact, eight of the 23 were Jewish. The Times, to its credit, asked that this change be made and noted.