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Sunday, November 20, 2005 

Scandal on the Stonewall Strip

Whether it was intentional or not, the Israeli daily Haaretz let the cat out of the bag, and has shown why they're nothing more than the New York Times of Israel (and as you probably guessed, nope, that's not a good thing!). Camera.Org (via Cosmic X and Solomonia) was researching whether or not they showed concern for accuracy in fact-checking and stuff like that, and quite a surprise was offered to them, more on which anon:
In the last year, CAMERA has contacted the paper's editors concerning multiple factual errors, taking the identical approach used with U.S. publications — emailing editors behind the scenes, providing data substantiating why a report is incorrect, requesting a correction, following up with phone calls, and finally, posting an item on our Web site and/or sending out an alert. (In a particularly egregious case, we published an Op-Ed in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles about a serious and uncorrected error.)

However, unlike prominent American and international outlets, Ha'aretz apparently considers itself above criticism. Ha'aretz editors seem unaccustomed to responding to readers in a straightforward process and appear to believe readers have no right to fault them for shoddy, inaccurate coverage. Rather than considering the substance of CAMERA's queries, Ha'aretz has stonewalled completely, refusing to correct errors. Indeed, the English edition of the newspaper, in contrast to almost every major American newspaper, has no regular corrections section; a lone correction appears once every few months.
And this is the newspaper that western journalists consider to be worth reading! By contrast, I myself found it so boring that I lost interest in it years ago, to the point of not even considering it worth analyzing for its biases.

Here's where it was that Haaretz staff admitted their strange vendetta against Camera:
In response to CAMERA's request for a correction on this issue, Ha'aretz assistant editor Ruth Meisels (inadvertently or perhaps intentionally) sent CAMERA's Israel Director Tamar Sternthal an email addressed to a Ha'aretz employee, which warned (in Hebrew):

In the event that this [CAMERA complaint] gets to you: We have a quasi 'policy,' on the orders of [editor-in-chief] David [Landau], to ignore this organization and all of its complaints, including not responding to telephone messages and screening calls from Tamar Sternhal [sic], director of CAMERA. Otherwise, we will never finish with them.

Thus, Ha'aretz editors appear to have little interest in the accuracy of their coverage or the accepted standards of journalism – unlike their American counterparts – and seem to believe (wrongly) that not returning a phone call or responding to an email will deflect CAMERA's efforts to redress false and inflammatory assertions.
US reporters should take note of that. It's a shame that Haaretz has failed to learn from their US counterparts to try and be more honest about their mistakes.

Now here's an example of an error Haaretz did not correct that offends me on a personal level, because Golda Meir, as Israel's first woman prime minister, is someone for whom I happen to have a lot of respect:
* In a July 18, 2004 column, Gideon Levy made a number of false claims, among them the allegation that Golda Meir once said: “After what the Nazis did to us, we can do whatever we want.” CAMERA was not able to track down any source for such a quote. Moreover, Levy himself sent an email to CAMERA admitting that he had no source. Nevertheless, Ha'aretz editors refused to correct.
I suppose I can at the very least give some credit to Levy for owning up, but not to the editors for failing to follow suit. Either way, the above example of one of Haaretz's biases offends me because of its being an attack on a politician who did have some sincere qualities when she was around in her time.

Read the whole article from Camera. After all this, I see even less reason to buy/read Haaretz, or even to visit their own website. Phooey.

Also available at Jo's Cafe, NIF.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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