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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fun With The Jewish Week

Krum is playing one of my favorite pastimes today- the weekly reading and trashing of the new articles posted on The Jewish Week's website. This time, it's an article on a story the paper has been following for a while. It's not that easy to get the gist of the story from the article - but when I finally did get the point, I thought I was missing something. Gary Rosenblatt would like us to believe someone is guilty of something, and as evidence, he gives us a copy of an e-mail - written by the accuser! The article is based entirely on allegations in an e-mail supposedly sent to (yes, you read that right) Israel Singer, then-Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, saying that Singer had claimed to have a "slush fund" of $2 million. Except that the WJC has no record of the e-mail, denies the existence of a slush fund, and the writer of the e-mail has seemingly produced no proof that the e-mail was ever sent - like, perhaps, a reply from the recipient??? Um...is that a joke? Not in Rosenblatt's world, I guess.

In addition, we get a little window into why The Jewish Week has been beating this story like a dead horse - the letter writer, Larry Cohler-Esses, who is making the accusations here? He is the editor-at-large for The Jewish Week. I'm not joking. The mind boggles. Check out the article, and Krum's post. It's a must-read, especially for anyone who is still reading The Jewish Week for the "news" it provides.

Related: I, II, III, IV, V, VI

19 Comments:

Anonymous bishul akum said...

Gary Rosenblatt is a yellow journalist who as no credibility.He has an agenda and no concept of disgresion,unless the article is about a jewish boy band who sound like girls

11:06 AM  
Anonymous As Folk said...

Um... the Jewish Boy Band that sounds like little girls that Madam Rosenblatt promotes so shamelessly on the front page of his rag has his hapless son in it. I have heard that there are some alternative reasons as to why they sound like girls. But that is not one issue that Gary is going to out in his paper.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous manfrommars said...

So wait, let me get this straight, Gary Rosenblatt quoted someone on his payroll as a source in a story? His singular obsession with this non-story has now entered the theater of the absurd.

Mom and Bagelhead should start a letter writing campaign to the Jewish Week. Not because it will help Gary learn journalistic ethics, but because it might shame him into printing some of them.

You can submit letters at http://www.thejewishweek.com/jweekmail/lettersubmit.php3

11:45 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

It seems the JW is obsessed with topping their own scoop about Boruch Lander of five years ago.

The funny thing is, it doesn't. They should just report the news as it happens, instead of resorting to ridiculous exposes and thinly-veiled pandering fluff. It's a shame. The JW used to be a great paper.

By the way, if you want to read the best Jewish interest newspaper in print, get the NY Sun!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Um... the Jewish Boy Band that sounds like little girls that Madam Rosenblatt promotes so shamelessly on the front page of his rag has his hapless son in it. I have heard that there are some alternative reasons as to why they sound like girls. But that is not one issue that Gary is going to out in his paper."

It sounds like you have bigger problems than Gary Rosenblatt's editorial policies....

11:54 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Dear OrthoMom -

Is it true that your blog operates a multi-million dollar slush fund? Wait. Don't answer that. In fact, I'm not even going to post this comment. Instead I'll just report this "accusation" in my newspaper, as if it was news.

Love,

Gary Rosenblatt

12:19 PM  
Anonymous take a stand said...

Dovbear and others, heed manfrommars' call and send that scoundrel letters to the editor and embarrass him into printing them. I think that a self-righteous fellow like Rosenblatt believes in what he is doing and assumes that the whole world sees it his way. After so long he does not even know he is corrupt. Until his paper closes and folds, it is the critical reader’s responsibility to tell him he is wrong.

12:43 PM  
Blogger rebba shlita said...

i know israel singer very well and he is an outstanding individual so mr. rosenblatt go back to the hole you came out of.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rebba,

send a letter to the editor.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Reb Yudel said...

So much for the art of close reading.

I'm curious on what basis Orthomom writes that "the WJC has no record of the e-mail" -- do you have access to the WJC's email system? Have you served them with a subpoena?

Gary Rosenblatt, Israel Singer, and Cohler-Esses make various claims in Rosenblatt's story.

Rosenblatt claims that he has "sources close to the investigation" who spoke to him in June.

He also claims that the memo was shared not by Cohler-Esses, but by someone else.

Cohler-Esses claims that he did indeed write such a memo, and that the AG's office questioned him about it.

By contrast, spokesman & political consultant Hank Sheinkopf denied receiving such a letter.

I'm not going to accuse Sheinkopf of lying for for his clients. But I will point out that Gary Rosenblatt is not a federal official, with all that entails, nor is the WJC a public company, with all that entails.

A look at the latest freely-available 990 for the WJC-American Section confirms that the WJC did indeed have donations almost equal to $12 million in 1999. I have no idea of what WJC has publically claimed to be spending. There are plenty of innocuous ways to understand the alleged "slush fund" remark -- for one thing, Singer has been notable for his ability to move swiftly on a variety of issues, which implies that he was spending money without having to commit to a detailed pre-planned budget.

Along those lines, it's worth noting according to the 2001 990, more than half of the payroll went to executive salaries -- meaning there was no ongoing commitment to staffing certain program activities.

What's going here is less an effort by the Jewish Week to trash the WJC, than an awkward effort by the Jewish Week to cover the embarassing fact that its reporter was subpoenad to testify on a story that the paper was covering.

9:16 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Reb Yudel, I'm not sure what you're implying here.
Rosenblatt claims that he has "sources close to the investigation" who spoke to him in June.
He also claims that the memo was shared not by Cohler-Esses, but by someone else.

The first claim is about as vague as can be. Is there any accepted definition of what a "source close to the investigation" means? Seems to me that could mean any number of sources, some reliable, some not. The use of vague, anonymous sourcing makes the claim less than convincing.
The second claim is just ridiculous. The e-mail, which the WJC claims to never have received, was obviously given to someone by Cohler-Esses. Whether he gave it directly to Gary Rosenblatt or someone else gave it to Rosenblatt, Rosenblatt's claim that it didn't come directly from Cohler-Esses is meaningless. To me, the only claim that is unambiguous in the article is the flat denial of ever receiving the e-mail by the WJC's spokesman, about whom you said "I'm not going to accuse Sheinkopf of lying for for his clients." Again, not sure what you're implying here. Seems to be just the opposite of what you're claiming.

One statement that I can agree with is the one you make that:
What's going here is less an effort by the Jewish Week to trash the WJC, than an awkward effort by the Jewish Week to cover the embarassing fact that its reporter was subpoenad to testify on a story that the paper was covering.
That's a very strong possibilty. But for the JW to do so in such an underhanded way that looks for all the world like a simple attempt to take potshots at the WJC is more than awkward. It's embarassing.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Reb Yudel said...

Gary is clearly implying that he received a copy of the letter from the investigators.

That, though, is the serious flaw in the story: How did the AG become aware of the Cohler-Esses letter?

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, all I can tell you is that Singer and Bronfmen and the WJC got my aunt a pension from the Swiss govt, and now she is living out her years in comfort. What has Gary Rosenblatt and Barry Cohler-Esses done for me lately that I should beleive them and not the people who work for the clall every day?? I dont like the whole direction this is heading. Why look for these good to be giulty instead of looking for them to be innocent? That is noit the Orthodox way. Shame on you, Orthomom.

3:28 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Why look for these good to be giulty instead of looking for them to be innocent? That is noit the Orthodox way. Shame on you, Orthomom.

Huh? I'm not sure how you got that out of this post...

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yudel, Gary did not get this letter from the investigators. Anyone who has ever dealt with government authorities, specifically those in the regulatory or legal side know that that is a major no no. It is punishable by termination and jail time. No way anyone in the AG's office leaked anything to Gary Rosenblatt of all people.

We know this from the story and logic: L-C-E did not originally give the AG the letter; the WJC did not give the AG the letter; therefore someone else gave it to the AG.

Ask the following therefore: If L-C-E claims to have sent the letter to the WJC / Israel Singer, how could anyone other than L-C-E or the WJC / Israel Singer have possession of it?

Was the letter really legit? Was the letter sent to other people as well? What could the motivations here be?

Also ask the following: Though the term "slush fund" is not so nice, what is the conversation all about? Slush fund only means money that is not restricted by prior specificity.

So why would L-C-E's claim that a letter from him which the WJC and Singer say they never received which contains in it L-C-E's improbable assertion that Singer claimed to have a slush fund while interviewing L-C-E for job he did not get, have any relevance whatsoever to the AG or anyone else at this stage.

While answering this, remember that this entire mess began when the Jewish Week reported that Singer stole $1.2 million that apparently was never stolen and was, at the time of the story, in a WJC bank account (according to the audits posted on the WJC website).

Gary needs to take a cold shower and then ask a lot of people for forgiveness.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Reb Yudel said...

Go back to the original stories. Who is out to get Israel Singer? (Hint: It's not Gary).

Would that person have had access to a letter sent by LCE to Singer?

10:55 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yudel, if you are saying that Larry Cohler-Esses has knowledge of who gave the letter to the AG and is protecting that person's identity, then the NYJW is a hell of a lot worse than even I could have imagined. And from your comment here, that's what you're saying.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

A question from a freelancer who writes for the JW regularly: If a writer has information that's relevant to a particular story, should the editor not use that information because it's a conflict of interest or a compromise of objectivity? I mean, let's say there's a big blowup in the blogosphere--knowing that I have a connection to that world, would the JW turning to me for my opinion or to write the story be a violation of the objectivity of journalism? Curious to know what you guys think...

And discussions like this one remind me why I don't have aspirations of Jewish newspaper editor-in-chiefdom...

;)

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