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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2004 / 12 Tishrei 5765

Do Journalists Take Sides?

By Jonathan Tobin


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Reuters spat with chain over use of ‘terrorist’ highlights a built-in bias


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The echoes of Rathergate — the decision by CBS News' Dan Rather to broadcast a story that could affect the results of a presidential election based on fraudulent documents weeks before ballots will be cast — will be heard in the mainstream press for years to come.


But no matter what this sorry episode means for Rather's career or the election, the main impact will be to solidify the notion that the media is biased. That was a difficult pill for an old newsman like Rather to swallow, and he still maintains that the blunder was made in "good faith."


That, of course, is debatable. But his insistence, despite evidence to the contrary, that his decision was made in the tradition of journalism practiced "without fear or favoritism" is very much in line with a more recent tradition. This is one that maintains journalists must pretend to be objective, no matter how subjective they really are.

CULT OF OBJECTIVITY
Objective journalism is the ideal, but as much as we journalists like to polish this Olympian pose of disinterested reporting, the truth is, in many cases, it's a lot of bunk.


Dan Rather isn't the first and won't be the last journalist to buy into false evidence just because it confirmed his pre-existing notions of what the truth should be. And as notorious as this case is, it isn't nearly as important to our understanding of the way institutionalized bias can operate as other, less publicized issues.


Case in point is the way the press labels certain people and activities. Like terrorism.


The reluctance of many in the media to tag some people — or anyone for that matter — as a terrorist is an ongoing sore point for many readers, viewers and listeners.


Various news media style guidelines have made the use of the word controversial for journalists because it is regarded as subjective or judgmental. Indeed, Steven Jukes, the Reuters news service's former global head of news, famously said in the aftermath of Sept. 11 that: "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist."

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While many newspapers and broadcast outlets were not afraid to label the 9/11 attacks as the acts of terrorists, this shibboleth against using the word has been generally observed when it comes to describing those Palestinian Arabs who deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians for mass murder.


Few in the secular media have challenged this assertion, thus allowing groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, whose singular purpose is the murder of Jews, to be routinely described as associations of "militants" or "activists," as if they were merely trying to organize a union at a textile factory.


This is the line taken by CNN, National Public Radio, The New York Times and Knight-Ridder newspapers. But lately, one exception has popped up — and the high priests of this cult of media objectivity are not happy about it.


The Canadian chain, CanWest Global Communications, publishers of 13 daily newspapers including The National Post in Toronto, has instituted a policy of calling terrorists "terrorists." This means that when their papers run world news articles from Reuters, CanWest editors are instructed to substitute the word for whatever euphemism the wire service has employed for these killers.

AN ‘EMOTIVE WORD’
To cite an example, one recent Reuters story described the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade as a group that "has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."


Instead of this description, the National Post inserted the following: "The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel."


According to David Schlesinger, the current global managing editor for Reuters, this is an outrage. For him, the use of the word terrorist is an "emotive word." He told CBC News that this was an unacceptable slanting of the news. Excuse me?


The Al Aksa group has murdered hundreds and maimed thousands of Israeli men, women and children in relentless suicide bombings since September 2000. To describe Al Aksa as anything but a terrorist group is not only false, the Reuters line is itself a classic example of the media spinning the news to fit the frame of reference of one side in a dispute.


To describe the Palestinian campaign of terror as nothing more than a "revolt against Israeli occupation" is to buy into the myth that theirs is a battle for freedom, rather than an effort to destroy Israel and kill its people.


When Reuters and similar news sources obscure this fact and veil these atrocities in nonjudgmental copy, it is they who are editorializing, not the people at CanWest.


Scott Anderson, CanWest's editor-in-chief, told The New York Times that Reuters is off base. "If you're couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth? I understand their motives. But issues like this are why newspapers have editors."


He's right. But the question remains: Why don't more editors and newspaper chains — like the Knight-Ridder monopoly, which maintains its stranglehold on daily newspapers in Philadelphia — use their judgment and common sense on this issue, instead of following the herd of politically correct sheep?


Do they fear retribution?


Schlesinger hinted at this when he told the Times that CanWest's policy could possibly "endanger its reporters in volatile areas." Reuters is worried that the people it won't call terrorists will terrorize them.


But there's more to this issue than cowardice. For Reuters, the pretense of objectivity about a group of murderers is more important than telling the plain truth about their activities, especially when they seem to favor the murderer's cause.


As long as that is the conventional wisdom among journalists, the profession will continue the slide into the pit that people like Dan Rather and David Schlesinger have dug for us all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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