Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What motivates a journalist to slant an article against Israel? This has never seemed a particularly difficult question. But let’s take a look at some of the possibilities. Consider it exercise for the mind. Like doing stretches. How many scenarios can you come up with?

A writer might slant an article against Israel:

·         Because an editor demands he do so and it’s hate on Israel or lose your job.
·         As a forever rebellion against all things Jewish, to spite the Jewish journalist’s parents/upbringing.
·         As an expression of xenophobia
·         Out of ignorance
·         Because of antisemitism
·         Because the Arab journalist’s goal is to acquire Israeli land and this is part of his narrative/agitprop
·         Because of intersectionality, in the case of the leftist writer
·         To get page views and advance one’s career, since hating Israel is ever popular
·         Out of jealousy—the journalist doesn’t really hate Jews, but every time he gets passed over for a promotion, it’s someone Jewish and this is his way of getting back, gosh darnit

If you examine the above list, it boils down to ignorance, the acquisition of goals, or hatred.

Now a journalist who is ignorant is guilty, guilty, guilty of the worst sort of journalism. A writer is supposed to do homework. He’s supposed to track down credible sources in support of what he writes. He is supposed to gather facts. A journalist at a loss to find the data he needs says so or leaves it out of his piece. If he offers a theory because he cannot find cold, hard, data, he says it is a theory.

So no. No excuse for ignorance.

Let’s look at the acquisition of goals. Here we’re talking about someone who maybe doesn’t care one way or the other about Israel, but his newspaper tells him what editorial stance to take and by golly, that’s the position he’s going to adopt, that is if he wants to keep his job at, for instance, the New York Times. Or maybe it’s a writer just starting out and he’s going for sensational, because he wants to make it to the top. What better way to get there than smearing the world’s favorite target? Is this okay, then? Can we say that in the case of professional goals, the ends justify the means?

No. No we can’t. People are supposed to have integrity. Even if it means losing your job or staying stuck in a rut. There are things you can do, and things you can’t. Slanting articles is beyond the pale. 

It’s just wrong.

Perhaps the writer is an Arab journalist who supports a worldwide caliphate for religious reasons? He wants Israel, all of it, as part of the ummah. Or perhaps he is an Arab who has been fed with his mother’s milk the idea that the Jews stole his land. Or maybe the journalist is heavy into all sorts of leftist causes like gay marriage and third-trimester abortion which means that struggling against the imagined “occupation” is just one more leftist cause, indistinguishable from the others, nothing personal, you understand.  

Is this okay? No. It’s not. Any time you have to lie, which is what slanting an article is—a lie—you’re showing that the truth is not in your favor. If it were, you’d use it. Where you instead use media bias as a tool, you need to do some self-examination and do some deep thinking about your values.

And then we come to hatred: is it okay to slant an article because you hate that the entire world hates you for being Jewish and you want to prove you’re not like those other ZIO Jews?

No. It’s not okay to sacrifice your people and smear your land, your inheritance, because you want to be liked, you want to be a citizen of the world. That’s your burden to carry always, and you need to carry it with pride! They hate us because they envy us. They hate us because they can’t supplant us.

Do not choose the wrong side here. Strive to be a mensch! That is all there is, really. Our integrity is who we are in the end.

The other types of hatred that drive people to smear Israel? They don’t bear discussion here. We all know that hatred is an ugly thing that should be repulsed by all good people. Period.

And so it was that when I wrote my piece, Booth and Eglash: A Pathological Hatred of Israel, I felt secure in deciding that Booth and Eglash were motivated by hatred in their Israel-related articles:
When one sees the byline of William Booth and Ruth Eglash on a Washington Post article, what follows, one knows, is going to be a very ugly piece about Israel. There will be the pretense of balance, but the slant will always be there and the direction of that slant will never favor Israel. You read their stuff and you have to wonder what's wrong with them, the authors.  Their regular and willful distortion of the facts must, by design, be born of deep-seated hatred for the Jewish State.
Now if the articles were balanced and at least factually true, we might have given Booth and Eglash a pass. We might have said they are writing what they write for the sake of truth. . . We could have ascribed a certain logic to reporting true but ugly news about Israel, and called the authors "truth seekers."  (Even though nitpicking on Israel is kind of a strange thing to do, considering the slaughter going on next door in, for instance, Syria.)
With Booth and Eglash, however, what you've got is something far from the truth, something  at a distant remove from decency and basic journalistic standards. What you've got instead is two authors pushing a single agenda and passing off selected half-truths as cover for their naked hate of Israel.
It's pathological.
It was a process of elimination. Eglash is Jewish. The Washington Post may be a media outlet that leans to the left, but it does carry articles by Eugene Kontorovich and Jennifer Rubin, who write honestly and positively of Israel.

Therefore, Eglash has made a choice when she contributes to biased articles about Israel and the choice is not in Israel’s favor. The descriptive language, the lack of context and selective context are too out there to ignore.

Booth? Well, he too, has made a choice that appears to have nothing to do with his getting ahead in his career, since, as noted above, he could have been a Jennifer Rubin or a Eugene Kontorovich writing good and truthful things about a good and truthful nation.

Is everything about Israel good?

Of course not. But we’re not talking about Israel’s warts. We’re talking about MEDIA BIAS.

Here is a recent example of a Booth article to which Ruth Eglash contributed: Netanyahu is Urged Not to Use the Words Palestinian State When He Visits Trump.

The first sentence:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likes to boast to his boisterous cabinet that no one understands the Americans better than he does.
“Likes to boast?” “Boisterous cabinet?”

This piece is not presented as an opinion piece but as a straight news piece about the Middle East. Yet here we have Netanyahu’s character described. He is described as someone boastful, someone who LIKES boasting. And the Knesset is described as “boisterous” like so many ragtag pickpockets sent out into the streets of London by Fagan, to steal and trick the people.

It’s already “Jewy.” If you see what I mean. It's a kind of character assasination.

Does it end there, the bias? If it did, we might give a pass. But no. There’s this:
His education minister and coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, has pressed him to abandon his tentative commitment to the two-state solution, which Netanyahu first announced in a speech at Bar Ilan University in 2009.
“Tentative commitment?” On what basis the use of the word “tentative” to characterize Netanyahu’s commitment? Is that fact, or is that opinion? Because if it’s fact, there needs to be a link or reference to a source that proves the point. Otherwise, it’s opinion. And if it’s opinion, it doesn’t belong here, in a straight news piece.

So let’s take a look at the text of Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech:
I told President Obama when I was in Washington that if we could agree on the substance, then the terminology would not pose a problem. And here is the substance that I now state clearly:

If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel's security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state.
We took a look at the actual text, because Booth and Eglash made the assertion, without offering proof. Which already says something. It says they’ve got no good reason to use the word “tentative.” Because if they had a good reason, they would have offered the text of the speech as their source.

As you can see, Bibi was firm. He said, “I now state clearly,” and so forth. There is nothing tentative there. Which is why the source for this contention, this descriptor that slants the piece, is missing. It doesn’t serve their point, their slant.

We could continue to analyze the article in depth, pointing out each descriptor as I did in my earlier piece about Booth’s and Eglash’s bias, but there is a broader point I wish to make.

Back in December, I tweeted the link to my piece about Booth and Eglash only to be virtually bitch-slapped by the managing editor of Honest Reporting.

Plosker tweeted: How can u rationally critique someone's work and then assume it's driven by hate?

This is what I have tried to answer in this week’s column, after seeing several more such collaborative articles from the Washington Post’s Booth and Eglash that betray a bias against Israel.

There are the descriptors (boisterous, boasting, tentative) where none belong. There is selective omission of facts that are needed for context as referenced in my earlier piece on Booth and Eglash. There’s no getting around it. It is what it is. Media bias.

And I don’t see any good reason for media bias whatsoever, especially for such seasoned reporters as Booth and Eglash, working for a media outlet that does have pro-Israel writers among its staff. I don’t have a way to excuse the bias against Israel when I see it. And neither should you.

Media bias. It’s what you use when you’re trying to get ahead, you don’t know better, or you’re filled with hate. And there’s no excuse for any of this.



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