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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.

by

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: 131

(87) Anonymous, April 27, 2015 7:30 AM

Yes, but...

While I *DEPLORE* the sensationalism of media puppets like the New York Post, it's also time that orthodox Jews remember that they are under constant scrutiny for honesty, integrity, and fair play.
A Jew should never be in a position of being called a "slum-lord" and reviled in this manner.
Sure the media should be vilified for this type of headline, but Jews also need to remember that their Yiddishkeit shouldn't stop where their wallet's begin.

(86) Beverly Margolis-Kurtin, February 11, 2015 6:06 PM

Uhh...Mrs. Stark, how do you feel about your husband?

I'm surprised that no "news" person has asked that question. The lack of ethics in the "reporting" especially "who didn't want him dead" shows just how inane so called reporting has become.

My heart goes out to the Stark family; I've lost a brother in Israel. "I" didn't want him dead, does that answer the Post's question?

(85) Sharon kerr, February 11, 2015 3:05 PM

Convert the World to their way of thinking

How tragic, and my sincerest condolences. The World is on a rapid decline of morality. It seems everything is allowed, Is this what the United Church Minister meant when he said to me, We know its a lie, but our intent is to convert the World to our way of thinking.

(84) MORRIS, February 10, 2015 5:29 PM

DONT BLAME THE POST

We in the Jewish community seem to have our priorities all screwed up. The Williamsburg community was the beneficiary of his charity and stands up for him. What we forget is the tremendous Chilul Hashem people cause which affects all Jews. For years, slumlords have given us this horrible image. If you can't make a living by being a fair and upstanding landlord, find another line of work or business. Justifying his actions by announcing his good deeds doesn't wash away the poison they leave behind.

(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?

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