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Thursday, September 2 2010

Time Headlines: A Cautionary New Media Tale

Israelis don't care about peace. That's the conclusion Time magazine reporter Karl Vick would have us believe after quoting two Tel Aviv condo salesmen (and nobody else):

"The people," Heli says, "don't believe." Eli searches for a word. "People in Israel are indifferent," he decides. "They don't care if there's going to be war. They don't care if there's going to be peace. They don't care. They live in the day."

I'm guessing that Vick did talk to other Israelis -- who were dropped from web site's abridged version. Time wants you to pay for the magazine or their iPad app to read the whole story. It's even noted at the bottom of the page that story's abridged. Fair enough.

But it appears that Time cut so much that what's left online no longer supports the original headline's thesis:




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The article itself wasn't so bad. The misleading headline screaming across its cover warrants a written response.

My voice is one of a Journalism professor: not Israeli, not Palestinian, not American, not Jewish, not Muslim, not Christian. It is a voice inviting journalism to pause and attend to the troubling refusal to take stock of its role in informing, filtering, influencing its readers, who ultimately use this information to make their own decisions.
I urge you, writers and editors to attend to the increasingly polarized posts this story fueled: ignorance breeds and fuels polarization. It is the journalist's duty to present facts. If an editorial voice is offered, there is an obligation to state it as such. It is an ethical choice one can not escape if working in integrity.

I have chosen this article and its subsequent commentary string to expose my students to the troubling sequalae of irresponsible journalism. My ultimate responsibility to them is to help breed competent, responsible journalists who are also men and women with ethical integrity.

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