A. M. Rosenthal

Abraham Michael Rosenthal (May 2, 1922 – May 10, 2006), also known as Abe Rosenthal, was a US journalist who served as The New York Times Executive Editor from 1977 to 1988, having served previously as the City Editor and Managing Editor. At the end of his tenure as Executive Editor, he became a columnist (1987–1999) and New York Daily News columnist (1999–2004).

He joined The New York Times in 1943 and remained there for 56 years, to 1999. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for international reporting.[1] As an editor at the newspaper, Rosenthal oversaw the coverage of a number of major news stories including the Vietnam War (1961–1975), the Pentagon Papers (1971), and the Watergate scandal (1972–1974). He was instrumental in the paper's coverage of the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder case, which was widely influential and established the concept of the "bystander effect", but later came to be regarded as flawed and misleading.

Together with Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, he was the first Westerner to visit a Soviet Gulag camp in 1988. His son, Andrew Rosenthal, was The Times editorial page editor from 2007 to 2016.

Early years

Rosenthal was born on May 2, 1922, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, to a Jewish family. His father was a farmer, Harry Shipiatsky, who immigrated to Canada from Poland in the 1890s and changed his name to Rosenthal. He also worked as a fur trapper and trader around Hudson Bay, where he met and married Sarah Dickstein.[1]

The youngest of six children, he was still a child when his family moved to the Bronx, New York, where Rosenthal's father found work as a house painter. During the 1930s, though, tragedy hit the family, with Rosenthal's father dying in a job accident and four of his siblings dying from various causes.[1]

According to his son, Andrew, he was a member of the Communist Party youth league briefly as a teenager in the late 1930s.[2]

Rosenthal developed the bone-marrow disease osteomyelitis, causing him extreme pain and forcing him to drop out of DeWitt Clinton High School. After several operations at the Mayo Clinic, Rosenthal recovered enough to finish public schools in New York City and attend City College.[1] At City College, Rosenthal wrote for the student newspaper, The Campus,[3] and in 1943, while still a student, became the campus correspondent for The New York Times.[1] In February 1944, he became a staff reporter at the Times.[1]

International reporting and Pulitzer Prize

As a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, Rosenthal spent a number of years overseas. In 1954, he was assigned to New Delhi and reported from across South Asia. His writings from there were honored by the Overseas Press Club and Columbia University.[1] In 1958, The New York Times transferred him to Warsaw, where he reported on Poland and Eastern Europe. In 1959, Rosenthal was expelled from Poland after writing that the Polish leader, Władysław Gomułka, was "moody and irascible" and had been "let down—by intellectuals and economists he never had any sympathy for anyway, by workers he accuses of squeezing overtime out of a normal day's work, by suspicious peasants who turn their backs on the government's plans, orders and pleas."[1]

Rosenthal's expulsion order stated that the reporter had "written very deeply and in detail about the internal situation, party and leadership matters. The Polish government cannot tolerate such probing reporting." For his reporting from Eastern Europe, Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for international reporting.[1]

Kitty Genovese murder case

As Metropolitan Editor of The New York Times, Rosenthal was instrumental in pushing an inaccurate account of the murder of Kitty Genovese on March 13, 1964. Rosenthal heard about the case over lunch with New York City Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy.[4] He assigned the story to reporter Martin Gansberg, who wrote an article published March 27, 1964, titled "37 Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police." (The article actually claimed there were 38 witnesses, but an error reduced the number by one in the headline.) The story was a sensation, prompting inquiries into what became known as the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome."[5] Rosenthal wrote a book on the subject,[6] and the incident became a common case study in American and British introductory psychology textbooks.[7]

Immediately after the story broke, WNBC police reporter Danny Meehan discovered many inconsistencies in the article. Meehan asked The New York Times reporter Martin Gansberg why his article failed to reveal that witnesses did not feel that a murder was happening. Gansberg replied, "It would have ruined the story." Not wishing to jeopardize his career by attacking powerful The New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal, Meehan kept his findings secret and passed his notes to fellow WNBC reporter Gabe Pressman. Later, Pressman taught a journalism course in which some of his students called Rosenthal and confronted him with the evidence. Rosenthal was irate that his editorial decisions were being questioned by journalism students and angrily berated Pressman in a phone call.[8]

Decades later, researchers confirmed the serious flaws in The New York Times article. Only a dozen people saw or heard the attack, and none of them saw the entire incident.[9] The New York Times admitted in 2016 that the witnesses did not know that a murder was taking place, assuming that two lovers or drunks were quarreling. Two people called the police, and one person went outside to Genovese and held her in her arms as she died.[10]


In 1969, Rosenthal became managing editor of The New York Times with overall command of the paper's news operations.[1] During the 1970s, he directed coverage of a number of important news stories, including the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.

Rosenthal played a decisive role in the paper's decision to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971.[1] Because this secret government history of the Vietnam War was classified information, publication of the papers could have led to charges of treason, lawsuits, or even jail time for paper staff.[1] Rosenthal pushed for publishing the papers (along with Times reporter Neil Sheehan and publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger). The Nixon administration sued to stop publication, resulting in a US Supreme Court decision, upholding the right of the press to publish items without "prior restraint" on the part of the government.[1]

Columnist Wesley Pruden said about Rosenthal's editorial policy:

Like all good editors, Abe was both loved and loathed, the former by those who met his standards, the latter mostly by those who couldn't keep the pace he set as City Editor, Managing Editor and finally Executive Editor. He brooked no challenges to his authority. He once told a reporter who demanded to exercise his rights by marching in a street demonstration he was assigned to cover: "OK, the rule is, you can [make love to] an elephant if you want to, but if you do you can't cover the circus." We call that "the Rosenthal rule."[11]

Political views

Rosenthal supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and openly suggested that the United States should give Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and Sudan an ultimatum and order the countries to deliver documents and information related to weapons of mass destruction and terrorist organizations. Otherwise, "in the three days the terrorists were considering the American ultimatum, the residents of the countries would be urged 24 hours a day by the U.S. to flee the capital and major cities, because they would be bombed to the ground beginning the fourth day."[12]

Rosenthal was also reported to be extremely homophobic,[13] with his views affecting how The New York Times covered issues regarding gay people (such as AIDS).[14] According to former Times journalist Charles Kaiser, "Everyone below Rosenthal (at The New York Times) spent all of their time trying to figure out what to do to cater to his prejudices. One of these widely perceived prejudices was Abe's homophobia. So editors throughout the paper would keep stories concerning gays out of the paper."[14] One result of this is that the Times "initially 'ignored' the AIDS epidemic."[15]

Later career

Rosenthal had a weekly column at the New York Daily News following his run as a columnist at the Times until 2004.[1]

Awards and honors

  • Rosenthal was a 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting.[1]


Rosenthal 800
The headstone of A.M. Rosenthal in Westchester Hills Cemetery
Rosenthal epitaph 800
The epitaph of Rosenthal

Rosenthal died in Manhattan on May 10, 2006, eight days after his 84th birthday. He is interred in Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. His epitaph inscribed on his grave marker ("He kept the paper straight") was chosen to memorialize his efforts at The New York Times to deliver unbiased news.[16]

Titles at The New York Times



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o McFadden, Robert (May 11, 2006). "A. M. Rosenthal, Editor of The Times, Dies at 84". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Charles Kaiser, My Father, The Communist: The New York Times' Andrew Rosenthal on Iraq, Times Select, and his father's secret past, Radar (November 2007) (page 2).
  3. ^ Sandra Shoiock Roff, Anthony M. Cucchiara & Barbara J. Dunlap, From the Free Academy to CUNY: Illustrating Public Higher Education in New York City, 1847–1997 (Fordham University Press, 2000), p. 73.
  4. ^ Lemann, Nicholas (March 10, 2014). "What the Kitty Genovese Story Really Means". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ Dowd, Maureen (March 12, 1984). "20 years after the murder of Kitty Genovese, The question remains: Why?". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  6. ^ Rosenthal, A.M. (1964). Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21527-3.
  7. ^ Manning, Rachel; Levine, Mark; Collins, Alan (2007). "The Kitty Genovese murder and the social psychology of helping: The parable of the 38 witnesses". American Psychologist. 62 (6): 555–562. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.62.6.555.
  8. ^ Genovese, William (Executive Producer) (2015). The Witness (Motion picture).
  9. ^ Rasenberger, Jim (October 2006). "Nightmare on Austin Street". American Heritage. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  10. ^ McFadden, Robert D (April 4, 2016), "Winston Moseley, 81, Killer of Kitty Genovese, Dies in Prison", The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Just the circus, and no elephants" by Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times, May 12, 2006, accessed May 17, 2006.
  12. ^ A.M. Rosenthal: How the U.S. can win the war, New York Daily News. September 14, 2001
  13. ^ "When The New York Times Came Out of the Closet" by Charles Kaiser, The New York Review of Books, Sept. 25, 2012>
  14. ^ a b "Larry Gross: Abe Rosenthal's Reign of Homophobia at The New York Times" by Larry Gross, Truthdig, May 16, 2006, accessed March 20, 2016.
  15. ^ A.M. Rosenthal (1922–2006): Ugly genius by Jack Shafer< Slate, May 11, 2006.
  16. ^ Jackson, Kenneth. "Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Google Books. Charles Scribners' Sons. Retrieved 12 September 2016.

External links


Books by Rosenthal and Arthur Gelb

  • One More Victim: The Life and Death of a Jewish Nazi. New York: The New American Library, 1967.Rosenthal, A.M. (1964).
  • Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21527-3.

Books about Rosenthal and/or The New York Times

  • The Kingdom and the Power, by Gay Talese, 1969, 2007-reprint, Random House Trade Paperbacks, ISBN 0812977688 ; ISBN 978-0812977684
  • Fit To Print: A. M. Rosenthal and His Times, by Joseph C. Goulden, 1988, Lyle Stuart, 403 pp. ISBN 0818404744 ; ISBN 978-0818404740[1]
  • My Times, by John Corry, Putnam, 1994, ISBN 0399138862 ; ISBN 9780399138867
  • My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, by John L. Hess, Seven Stories Press, 2003 ISBN 1583226222 ; ISBN 9781583226223
  • City Room, by Arthur Gelb, Putnam Adult, 2003, ISBN 0399150757; ISBN 978-0399150753

Rosenthal articles


  1. ^ "The Master of 43rd Street", by Ann Sperber, LA Times, book review
1922 in Canada

Events from the year 1922 in Canada.

1960 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1960.

2006 in Canada

Events from the year 2006 in Canada.

Abraham Rosenthal

Abraham Rosenthal is the name of:

A. M. Rosenthal, Canadian journalist

Abe Rosenthal, British former soccer player

Andrew Rosenthal

Andrew Mark Rosenthal (born February 25, 1956) is an American journalist and former editorial page editor of The New York Times. He is the son of A.M. Rosenthal, a longtime New York Times senior executive and executive editor.

He was in charge of the paper's opinion pages, both in the newspaper and online. He oversaw the editorial board, the Letters and Op-Ed departments as well as the Editorial and Op-Ed sections of NYTimes.com. The newspaper maintains a separation between the editorial department of the paper and the news department. Rosenthal answered directly to the publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

In March 2016, Rosenthal stepped down as editorial page editor after he had served in that role for over nine years. Rosenthal transitioned to become an online opinion columnist and podcast contributor for The New York Times.

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Aswad is a male Arabic given name that means "Negaro".

People named Aswad include:

Aswad ibn Yazid, narrator of hadithPeople using it in their patronymic include:

Miqdad ibn Aswad, companion of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad

Ziad Abderrazzak Mohammad Aswad, former government minister in Iraq

Eliana Benador

Eliana Benador (also Eleana Benador) is a Swiss-American public relations consultant, global strategist, and a publicist for American and Middle Eastern neo-conservatives. Through the development of Benador Associates, Benador was promoted national security policies advocated by the Bush administration concerning Iraqi regime change, the Iraq War, and hard-line attitudes toward Iran. As of 2007, Benador had closed Benador Associates and opened a new firm, Benador Public Relations.

Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award

The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award is presented annually by Colby College to a member of the newspaper profession who has contributed to the country's journalistic achievement. The award is named for Elijah Parish Lovejoy, and established in 1952.

Guardian of Zion Award

The Guardian of Zion Award is an annual award given since 1997 to individuals who have been supportive of the State of Israel. It is awarded at the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University, where the prize recipient gives the keynote address.

Jeff Jacoby (columnist)

Jeff Jacoby (born February 10, 1959) is a politically conservative American journalist and syndicated newspaper columnist.

Light of Truth Award

The Light of Truth Award is a human rights award which is presented nearly annually by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an NGO aiming for the promotion of democracy and human rights for the Tibetan people. The award is presented since 1995 by the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to the recipients personally.

The prize consists of a homely Tibetan butter lamp that serves as a symbol of the extraordinary light that every recipient brought to Tibet. In 2005 the ICT received an award itself, the Geuzenpenning, a human rights award from the Netherlands.

The Light of Truth Award is granted to persons and organizations that have publicly contributed substantially to the rise of and battle for human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people. In one occasion, in 2001, the award was presented to the whole people of India and it was taken delivery of by president R. Venkataraman.

List of The New York Times employees

This is a list of former and current New York Times employees, reporters, and columnists.

Louis Stark

Louis Stark (May 1, 1888 – May 17, 1954) was a Hungarian-born American journalist. He spent most of his career working as an economic reporter for The New York Times. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

He is considered "a pioneer in the field of labor reporting." Harry S. Truman called him the "dean of all reporters on the labor scene."

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Sydney Schanberg

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The Campus (CCNY)

The Campus is the student newspaper of the City College of New York (CCNY).

Tracy Kidder

John Tracy Kidder (born November 12, 1945) is an American writer of nonfiction books. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his The Soul of a New Machine (1981), about the creation of a new computer at Data General Corporation. He has received praise and awards for other works, including his biography of Paul Farmer, a doctor and anthropologist, titled Mountains Beyond Mountains (2003).

Kidder is considered a literary journalist because of the strong story line and personal voice in his writing. He has cited as his writing influences John McPhee, A. J. Liebling, and George Orwell. In a 1984 interview he said, "McPhee has been my model. He's the most elegant of all the journalists writing today, I think."Kidder wrote in a 1994 essay, "In fiction, believability may have nothing to do with reality or even plausibility. It has everything to do with those things in nonfiction. I think that the nonfiction writer's fundamental job is to make what is true believable."

Westchester Hills Cemetery

The Westchester Hills Cemetery is at 400 Saw Mill River Road in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, approximately 20 miles north of New York City. It is a Jewish cemetery, and many well-known entertainers and performers are interred there. It contains the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue cemetery.

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