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Thursday, February 09, 2006

I've Got Mail

A reader who calls himself "Dan the Man" sent me an e-mail:
Orthomom, why are you and other Jewish bloggers so obsessed with The Jewish Week? I know it's not the best specimen of a newspaper, but neither is the Jewish Press or the Yated. What's so much worse about the Jewish Week?
Good question. I can't speak for the other J-bloggers that Dan has referenced, but I can certainly speak for myself. I completely agree with Dan that unfortunately, there are certainly many examples of Jewish newspapers that practice bad journalism. But the Jewish Week holds a special place. All one would have to do is peruse the blogs over the past few years to see examples of Gary Rosenblatt and his staff's constant practice of often shoddy, and sometimes plain slanted reporting. For a small sampling of just a few links (note: this is far from a comprehensive list):

TTC: 1, 2, 3
Steven I. Weiss (Canonist): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Steven I. Weiss (Protocols): 1, 2,
Krum: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Slippery Slope: 1, 2, 3
Shmarya: 1, 2
Godol Hador: 1
DovBear: 1, 2, 3
Orthomom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

So now that you've done some reading, Dan, I can explain to you why I find Gary Rosenblatt so dangerous. Because his paper is so widely distributed (though the numbers are largely inflated by the free subscriptions given out to all Federation donors), it is in the hands of so many Americans who treat it as their only Jewish news source. In addition, since the paper is not Orthodox, it comes closer to being a "regular" news source than the papers that are forced to toe the Orthodox party line (Yated, Hamodia, Jewish Press). This question about Gary Rosenblatt's lack of journalistic integrity comes at a time when many of us in the blogosphere (most notably Krum, TTC, and SIW) are up in arms over a series of articles on the World Jewish Congress that has, in my opinion, catapulted Mr. Rosenblatt to the "Yellow Journalists Hall of Fame". Krum has two long, detailed posts (1, 2) enumerating many examples of the biased reporting practiced by Mr. Rosenblatt and his staff during the course of their coverage of this story. His thorough posts stunned me when I read them, and I think they will stun you as well. Whether or not the Jewish Week's misleading and mischaracterizing reporting is intentional, it doesn't change the fact that they just press on with it, without ever issuing a correction or retraction.

It stinks, and I don't like it. I will continue to point out any biased reporting or errors on the part of the NYJW as I find them.


Blogger and so it shall be... said...

OM, You touched on, but didn't fully articulate the answer. The JW, by all definitions of what a newspaper should be, is the only Jewish paper that qualifies.

That it botches its reporting so regularly is, as you said, dangerous. Why? Because the JW actually has credibility. What is prints carries weight and it must not cut corners (which it seems to be doing much more frequently as of late) or resort to thinly veiled editorializing or vendettas in its reporting (which it always has, but so does the NY Times).

Their responsibility to get things right is that much greater and deserves criticism and oversight from sharp-eyed jbloggers to remind them that they are being held to at least minimal journalistic standards.

As Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, a"h, said: With great power comes great responsibility

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:58 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

and to think that Gary was at school with me at YU in the mid-60s.

5:07 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

I am SO lucky that, apart from a copy of J which I once picked up around the corner from the office, the only Jewish publication I read is HEEB.

Unless you include Ha'aretz's email newsblatt, of course.

For my slanted news and general misinformation, I rely on Fox. I have no need for more insular monodimensionality.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't consider HEEB a Jewish pub.

Its last issue had an illustrated spread of photos entitled "In A Biblical Sense - Dirty Pictures from the Holy Scriptures"

I am certainly no prude, but it was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in a magazine, let alone one that claims some connection to be Jewish.

Here's a link to an except of the spread on their site...


12:50 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

Hey Orthomom, do you mean to say that the JW has no redeeming qualities whatsoever? No particular columns or op-eds that you actually enjoy?

2:25 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Hey Orthomom, do you mean to say that the JW has no redeeming qualities whatsoever? No particular columns or op-eds that you actually enjoy?

Weellll, funny you should ask. There is one column in particular that I always look forward to reading. Some column by a Esther Kustanowitz person. Her column is the only reason I still subscribe.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out the article on journalism and halacha from the RJJ Journal of halacha and contemporary society....

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8:39 PM  

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