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New York Post’s Shameful Cover

New York Post’s Shameful Cover

The headline shows a frightening disregard for the value of human life.


Yesterday's New York Post cover, about the horrific kidnapping and murder of real estate developer Menachem "Max" Stark, included the headline: "Who didn't want him dead?" The article in the Post quoted police sources that said that Stark, who the paper called a 'slumlord,' had a list of enemies and was in debt. They included a quote from a law-enforcement source that "any number of people wanted to kill this guy."

Senator Felder demanded that the Post apologize. "I condemn in the strongest possible terms the incredibly insensitive and crass cover of today's New York Post which mocks the kidnapping and brutal murder of Menachem Stark. The Post must issue an immediate apology to the Stark Family and to all New Yorkers for its egregious behavior and failure to exercise any judgment whatsoever in this matter."

City Councilman Stephen Levin also criticized the cover: "The New York Post's unbelievably offensive headline this morning comes the day after Mr. Stark's family and children, as well as an entire community, laid him to rest and are still mourning his death. For the New York Post to suggest that a person deserved to be murdered is sickening and reaches a new low. The entire community is outraged by such a vulgar headline that is so offensive and horrific. The New York Post should pull their story and issue an apology to the family and community that are still in mourning."

The Post refused to apologize, insisting that the headline didn't directly state that Stark deserved to die. Meanwhile, Rabbi David Neiderman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, called Stark a "charitable man" who gave charity constantly to countless organizations and needy individuals. Rabbi Neiderman said, "We are saddened and dumbfounded how people can commit such heinous crimes against anyone, but especially against such a generous person who wouldn't hurt a fly. Every resource must be expended to apprehend the criminals responsible and we call on anyone with information about this crime to come forward."

Menachem Stark, a 39-year old father of seven, will be deeply missed by his wife, children and his entire community. He left his home on Thursday and never returned. Can anyone even begin to imagine the anguish of his family as they prayed and hoped for his safety? His brother-in-law wrote a letter to the New York Post describing the kind of brother and friend that Menachem really was, but I doubt that they will read it. He was an involved father who spent hours each week with each of his kids. He gave generously to anyone who approached him, and he always had a smile for everyone who crossed his path. The haunting, nightmarish murder felt like it was repeated again when the New York Post published its headline "Who didn't want him dead?" on the day of his funeral. His brother-in-law wrote: “We miss him and love him and our hearts ache.”

Despite all of the media allegations and hints, Menachem Stark has never been arrested or charged with any crime. While he had business challenges in the last few years, the implication that it is acceptable for disgruntled tenants to murder a landlord is horrifying. Menachem Stark's brother-in-law concluded by stating: "This story encouraged anti-Semitism and violence and hurt us tremendously. At times like these, we continue to put our full faith in the Almighty and trust that Menachem's soul is at peace."

This New York Post headline and the subsequent callous rationalizing of its intent shows a frightening lack of value for human life. A cover story that not only sensationalizes but justifies a kidnapping and a murder because some tenants were not happy with their landlord? What kind of society are we living in where life is worth so little?

This week there are seven orphans who will never see their father come home again. There is a grieving widow who waited and prayed for two nights straight for her husband to walk once more through their front door. Where are the hearts of the editors of the New York Post? Where is their basic sense of human compassion and decency?

Those of us who cherish life and feel for his traumatized family must not be silent. Because once life itself is portrayed as valueless and murder is cruelly justified, we are all heading down a frightening, slippery slope. We can't afford to look the other way.

Published: January 5, 2014

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Visitor Comments: 125

(83) Anonymous, January 16, 2014 4:32 AM

Think carefully

The NY Post has run headlines like this for many decades. Why is it that we have only now become concerned about the ethics of the NY Post at this juncture in time? what does this say about prevailing attitudes to people of other races, religions, and ethnic groupings, that are routinely lampooned in the NY Post, and widely agreed with in our community?

Amy Tarshis, January 22, 2014 12:52 AM

Right On, "Think Carefully"!

I agree with you 101%.

(82) Anonymous, January 10, 2014 9:33 AM


I know nothing about Menachem Stark, or his family, only what I read here. That said, I am an American, A Jewess, and an ashamed citizen, due to disgusting lack of heart shown for Mr. Stark. I don't recall anything as vile written about Hitler, Bin Laden, or any Mafioso hit men. I don't say that is acceptable, but this was unacceptable, inappropriate, and deep hurt to his mourning family.

My heart, prayers, go out to his family, friends, and all offended by such unscrupulous, bottom feeding, pseudo, "intelligentsia," who allowed this to go to print. It is unimaginable, to vilify, and publicly ridicule a man to his family, and world, when this is all conjecture, to gain notoriety, and a fast buck. All done the day after he is laid to rest. That behavior is repugnant. There is no proof of the accusations. Worst case scenario even, why front page, the day after his funeral”?

This is not poor judgment, it’s lack of judgment, human decency, value of life, a conscience, and a hideous, lack of decency. I know I have no right to judge this person, or persons, yet the obvious depreciation of feelings, is abhorrent.

The people responsible for the story have no shred of sympathy, or common sense. Disgraceful, hideous, shameless, acts are unusual. This is not something inherent in humans. I believe something is missing in their DNA. These examples of megalomaniacs, and dictator like minds, have lost touch with basic reality of the “human condition.” People think, and care, about our society, as well as globally. How low can one sink, always shocks me. Apologize at least. Think about your families, how they would feel if you were the person demonized, not Mr. Stark. I feel bad for the loved ones of those who perpetrated this unjustifiable, attack. I hope deep down they are contrite, truly. This was a mistake; be a "mensch," admit it. (Mensch is Yiddish for a good, decent, kind, honorable, person)

(81) AndreaPullman, January 10, 2014 5:45 AM

Who is the JUDGE???

It is obvious that newspapers and magazines are geared up to sell and 9ten need to exploit others for profit. I believe that is void of . scruples And inhuman in this set of circumstances ---the facts i are not known and are now mute What difference does it make either way -we are talking about a human life WE are not the judge and the jury! Only God is and he is not a murderer, I pray for Peace and healing and forgiveness for the family of both the murdered nan and the person who perpetrated this heinous crime!!! ..

(80) Anonymous, January 10, 2014 12:20 AM

OUR values should be questioned from the point of view of the Torah

WE value money, we honour money and every Jewish child knows that and feels it, so that many aspire to be rich and some become obsessed to the point that they ignore halachic guidelines. This leads to massive chillul Hashem. WE and our leaders must stop fawning over the wealthy and speak up when money is acquired by shady practices so that it not become an obsession. Read and study the adjacent article "7 Biblical Secrets to Business Success" to prevent future tragedies and chillul Hashem. Boruch Dayan HaEmes.

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