Monday, March 28, 2016

Offensive and Inaccurate Headlines Do Not Serve the Interests of Journalism

Israel has been bombarded with disgusting, intentionally misleading and confusing headlines for years. In recent months, the number of headlines that tell you "Two Palestinians Die in Stabbing Attack" and "Israeli Soldiers Shoot Palestinian Dead in Ramming Attack" make us all sick. Some amazing organizations and people have been working hard to call these media sites out. Honest Reporting, CAMERA and many others.

For the most part, Israeli news outlets have worked hard to bring the news to people all over the world. Slowly, the Israeli media is becoming more marginalized. The center seems almost non-existent. You have the left, you have the right, and you have very little honest reporting. The quest to be the first, to sensationalize, to grab the hits and drive the traffic is becoming alarmingly inhumane.

Case and point - the IDF soldier in Hevron. He's either a hero or a criminal; a savior or a murderer. Yesterday I wrote about one journalist who immediately said he should "rot in jail." Even with the emergence of a second video, she refused to move away from her position that the soldier had committed murder.

By nightfall, relief for many turned to concern, when media outlets started writing that the soldier had first told a friend and then his commanding officer that the terrorist, "deserved to die." Fact is, the people of Israel agree. We're tired of burying parents and looking at the devastated orphans they leave behind. We are tired of looking into those eyes that have suddenly grown old and admit that we failed to protect them.

We are angry and fed up with crying at grave sites, listening to more reports of battered and butchered bodies and walking with one eye on our backs and yes, a whole lot of us feel, if you take a knife or an ax into your hand and plan to place it into the body of an Israeli, you have requested that we shoot you dead.

That Palestinians survive many of these attacks means that we now extend to them the wonders of Israel. Our doctors struggle to save their miserable lives and then they are tried in our fair and democratic court system and then placed in jails. Jails with televisions, and meeting rooms and exercise and an all-expense paid trip through college for many. And then, they go back out on the street to do it all again.

So we're used to this ridiculous cycle of stupidity and we're sadly used to asinine headlines that blur, intentionally, the real meaning of what happened...or what was said.

Today's absurdity comes from the Times of Israel, firmly on the left, firmly anti-religious. As a right-wing blogger there, one of very few who remain, I am constantly abused, insulted, attacked, and slighted. If you kiss up to the editors, even if you're right wing, they'll feature you and like you and excuse your "extremism" but if you don't...they'll bury your posts and struggle within themselves to decide whether to cut you off or not. How can they be the "marketplace of ideas" if they cut off ideas, right? But they are so tempted...looking for a reason.

Yesterday's reason to delay my post for over 6 hours was because they didn't like that I used the world "journalist" to describe a woman who writes for various places, posts news updates and runs their WhatsApp news group.

And, on the heels of that comes today's post, ridiculously headlined, "Chief rabbi: Non-Jews shouldn't be allowed to live in Israel" posted by the same Times of Israeli employee who wrote that the soldier should "rot in jail" - with the note, "I think this guy and the imam who said that Jews were apes and pigs should double-date."

This "guy" is the Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and that's not what he said. What he said was that those who cannot uphold the simplest form of humane laws (as are detailed in the Noahide laws) should be expelled. What are the Noahide laws? Very simple:
  1. Do not murder.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not worship false gods.
  4. Do not be sexually immoral.
  5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
  6. Do not curse God.
  7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
One left-wing commentator decided to suggest the rabbi was coming out against homosexuality and atheists. Read the laws...

Don't murder...we are in a six month wave of murder...yes, please send the murderers OUT of Israel.

Don't steal...has that suddenly become acceptable according to the Times of Israel?

Do not worship false gods...well, that can be opened to interpretation. If you believe your god is false, don't worship it...but then again, if you did believe it, why would you worship it?

Do not be sexually immoral. Okay, so maybe this left-wing guy (who happens to wear a kippah...go figure that one out)...thinks homosexuality is immoral? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. The Noahide laws don't say homosexuality. They don't say explicitly what is sexual immorality. Figure it out yourself, and don't do it - that's the Noahide law. Do you think incest is acceptable? Personally, I think marrying a 40 year old man to a 6 year old girl is sexual immorality but there apparently are millions of people in the world who don't think that.

Do not eat a limb removed from a live have a problem with this one?

Do not curse God? ...Does it say you have to believe in God? says DO NOT CURSE how did this idiot decide Rabbi Yosef was saying atheists should be shipped off to Saudi Arabia? Maybe he should work for the Times of Israel...

Set up courts and bring offenders to justice....and again, do you have a problem with this? It doesn't talk about jury system to judges. It simply says - set up courts so that man does not judge his fellow man...bring offenders to that man does not inflict his opinion of justice on others. He even mentioned that even in the case of a terrorist, once neutralized, he should be brought to justice (and before anyone mentions Hebron, the question of whether the terrorist was neutralized and whether the soldier had been TOLD that that terrorist was neutralized is still open to debate).

Bottom line, the heading is off and the Times of Israel should have the decency to change it. Then again, the journalist/blogger should have had the decency to take back her offensive comment that a soldier of Israel should "rot in jail" when all the facts are not known and no trial has taken place, and, at the point she said it, most of the evidence was not in.

Being a soldier is a tremendous responsibility. To put that in the hands of a 19 year old is an incredible and difficult thing. Being a journalist is also a tremendous responsibility. You have the power to hurt many people...and this is what was done. 

One young soldier and his family were hurt by the insensitive and inaccurate reporting of outlets like the Times of Israel. More, thousands of mothers of soldiers and thousands of young soldiers today are wondering why they should step forward and endanger their futures while people who never served pass judgment on every move they make.

I doubt the Times of Israel has the potential to hurt the feelings of Rabbi Yosef. What they do have, is the power to hurt themselves. If this is the style of writing that they believe in, few can take them seriously. Offensive and inaccurate headlines do not serve the interests of journalism and today is a sad day for the Times of Israel.

1 comment:

Chana said...

It's impossible, as the mother of current and former IDF combat soldiers, not to identify with the young soldier who killed the terrorist in Hevron. If we have to send so many of our children out to risk their lives and possibly live with the fact that they may, in their struggle to protect the innocent, have killed the guilty, we will stand by them. Policemen in American cities have been cleared when they inadvertently killed children in questionable circumstances who turned out to be armed with toy guns. We weren't there in the field, with the fear and the adrenaline, and we don't bear the same consequences if we guess wrong.

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