[UPDATED] Jewish city editor explains why he ran public official’s ‘jewing over’ quote

From a county commission meeting story on apalachtimes.com (my boldface):

“Today’s not the day to do it,” said Sanders. “We’re here (for Nabors’ salary), not to be up here jewing over somebody’s pay. I can’t believe that you all would put a man down who has worked here for 26 years because he don’t have a high school education.”

Cheryl Sanders

Cheryl Sanders

Franklin County (Fla.) commission chairperson Cheryl Sanders‘ “jewing over somebody’s pay” quote appeared in an Apalachicola/ Carrabelle Times story written by city editor David Adlerstein. He tells me that he received “several startled inquiries” about the paper’s use of “jewing over,” even in a public official’s quote. [Clarification: "I did receive 'several startled inquiries' but they were entirely about Sanders’ use of the term, and not about the paper’s decision to use it in a quote," Adlerstein tells me. "The hostile inquiries came from journalism pundits, who questioned my allowing the term in the paper without either expurgating it, characterizing it or decrying it."]

“I have heard the expression on more than one occasion around these parts in my dozen years at the paper,” he writes in an email. “It doesn’t offend me, unless it’s used to describe someone who cheats you. But haggling and dickering? To me, it’s a proud trait of my tribe, and it’s a solid cut above cold-hearted stiffing someone with a pious grin. But that’s me.”

Adlerstein says he got a call from a reader who wanted him to listen to a tape of the commission hearing.

David Adlerstein

David Adlerstein

They weren’t sure they had heard what she said. I listened and it was unmistakable. I tend to put a lot of quotes in these sort of accounts, and it had been mentioned to me, so I included it. Only choice I had to make was whether to capitalize the word. I opted to keep it lower case, out of self-respect.

Chairperson Sanders told me over the phone: “I am not anti-Semitic and there was no malice toward anyone.” She added that “this has been blown out of proportion” and that county residents who questioned her use of the expression “have accepted my apology.” She hung up when I asked if she would forward the apology email she sent to locals.

* “We’re here (for Nabors’ salary), not to be up here jewing over somebody’s pay (24th graf) (apalachtimes.com)


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