Backspin FrontPage
Backspin FrontPage
Media Backspin
About Media Backspin Contact Media Backspin Media Backspin
  Media Backspin
Backspin FrontPage
Media Backspin RSS Feed   [ About RSS ]
Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to My AOL
Subscribe in Bloglines
Subscribe to MyMSN
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Reader or Homepage
ARCHIVES January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010
Media Backspin
« February 2009 | Main | April 2009 »

Tuesday, March 31 2009

March 31 Links

Bibi and Barack Can Unite on Iran
Yossi Klein Halevi on how the two can work together despite differences real and perceived.

Spain, Israel and War Crimes
Three reasons why Judge Fernando Andreu's quest to try Israeli military officials for crimes against humanity in Gaza is flawed.

Journals Have No Role In Placing Blame In Gaza Conflict
Doctor troubled by two medical journals stepping into politics.

The Swastika and the Cedar
Christopher Hitchens sees a disturbing side of Lebanon.

Pox Britannica
English anti-Semitism on the march.

On A Lighter Note: Facebooking the Exodus



Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah

(Hat tip: Dion Nissenbaum)


Monday, March 30 2009

MSM's Urban Myths

If you're not sure what to make of NY Times bureau chief Ethan Bronner or The Guardian's media columnist Peter Wilby, see Dry Bones on big media's handling of so-called Israeli war crimes in Gaza.


Sunday, March 29 2009

Upcoming Spin Games: Prison Privileges

Israel's cabinet voted to end special privileges to Hamas prisoners. Here's what you need to know to respond to the expected spin games in tomorrow's papers. Haaretz writes:

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann recommended stripping the Palestinian prisoners of all privileges not anchored in Israeli or international law, such as an education, television, newspapers and radio.

The Israel Prisons service announced at the weekly cabinet meeting that the recommendations will go into effect in the near future. The sanctions will include drastic limitations on family visits and the revocation of the opportunity to take high school matriculation exams or study at the open university. In addition to sanctions on entertainment media, the prisoners will be subject to stricter guidelines regarding the transfer of money for use at the prison canteen.

Prisoners will continue receiving:

  • Basic food
  • Health care
  • Sanitary conditions
  • Access to lawyers
  • Due process
  • Some degree of family visits
  • Access to Red Cross representatives (which Hamas denies Gilad Shalit)

We're not talking Club Med. But if any good comes from this, the knee-jerk criticism from Israel's neighbors in the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia will hopefully shine a spotlight on their woefully inadequate prison conditions.

Case in point: while in prison, Samir Quntar earned a social science degree married and divorced Kifah Kayyal, then later married Fadah Said Abdullah -- both security prisoners. Don't think Arab penal guidelines are so accomodating.

I've blogged news reports documenting how Palestinian kids deliberately get arrested in order to pursue an education, live well, and get street cred -- all at Israeli taxpayer expense.

Whose Media Conspiracy Is This?


Melanie Phillips picks up on the "Arab media lobby" after 200 guests including representatives of various news services attended Arab Media Watch's annual fundrasing dinner:

Among the guests were almost three-dozen senior journalists from the BBC, Al Jazeera English, Financial Times, Reuters, Daily Mail, Independent, Asharq Al Awsat, Al Quds Al Arabi, Al Hayat and others.

The feedback the journos sent AMW was just mouth-watering as the food. Here's one example:

"Thank you very much for the invitation. I wish you all the success you deserve." - BBC

I thought Jews were the only media conspiracy in town.


Friday, March 27 2009

No Sympathy For Roger Cohen

Roger_cohen Newspaper industry woes finally reached the Gray Lady. Yes, the powers that be at the NY Times Media Group announced five percent salary cuts for all employees.

As RebutantiIsrael points out, this presumably includes columnist Roger Cohen, whose most recent commentaries on Iran and Israel have irritated enough readers to sufficiently fill up my inbox.


Thursday, March 26 2009

Great Moments in Israeli Clock Changes

Israel switches to Daylight Savings Time tonight.

Here's a look back at 1999 for great moments in Israeli clock changes.

Daily Telegraph's Twisted Headline

The IDF released updated casualty stats from the January Gaza war. According to Haaretz, the army lists 1,370 fatalities overall, which include:

  • More than 600 members of terror organizations.
  • 309 confirmed civilians, of which 189 were children under the age of 15.
  • 320 people whose status as civilian or fighter has not yet been confirmed.

This prompted a very twisted headline in the Daily Telegraph:


In reality, 189, while tragic, is a very small number when you consider that a large percentage of Gaza's estimated population of 1.4 million are children. 

Had the IDF had indeed attacked civilians targets indiscriminately in the densely populated strip, the stats would show a sharply higher percentage of kids among the overall casualties.

But the majority of casualties are among men of fighting age, suggesting that even when accidents happened, the IDF was actually deliberately targeting its fire rather than indiscriminately blasting away.

CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Responds

After publishing anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda, the editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal responds to readers. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Responds


Wednesday, March 25 2009

'War Crimes' and Shoddy Journalism
Ha'aretz and The Guardian's war crimes allegations debunked. See HonestReporting's latest communique: "War Crimes" and Shoddy Journalism
Your Daily Dose of Demonization

Pat Oliphant's latest cartoon was no doubt spawned by Haaretz and The Guardian.

It's exactly the kind of demonization Israel's critics are trying to stir up.


Who Is Mustafa Khalili?

It appears that Mustafa Khalili -- the man who sent an email from The Guardian to bloggers plugging their debunked allegations of Israel war crimes in Gaza -- filmed the paper's 1 2 3 videos.

Have Palestinian stringers struck again?

Dreaming of The Guardian

Theguardian ZioNation posted a copy of the letter The Guardian sent out to bloggers to promote its hatchet job on alleged Israeli war crimes.

To appreciate how ridiculous Mustafa Khalili's letter was, imagine a blogger receiving this letter instead:

Dear Friends

I am writing to you from Guardian Films the documentary arm of the Guardian Newspaper to bring to your attention a series of films we have produced on alleged war crimes committed by Hamas during the 23-day offensive against Gaza earlier this year.

The films focus on three separate cases of alleged war crimes;

(1) The use of Palestinian children as human shields.

(2) The systematic abuse of medics, hospitals and clinics by the Palestinian gunmen.

(3) The use of deadly, untargeted rockets like Qassams to fire on groups of unarmed civilians.

Three documentaries produced by Guardian Films and Clancy Chassay made during a month-long investigation add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding the breakdown of the Israel-Gaza cease fire,

[photos and link omitted] . . . .

We are requesting from you all where possible to please embed a link to our 'Hamas War Crimes' page on your blog and web sites.

Look forward to hearing from you soon

With Kindest Regards

. . . .

Mustafa Khalili

Dream on.


Tuesday, March 24 2009

The Pro-Palestinian 'Junta' on Campuses

Israel_apartheid_week Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh on the US campus scene:

During a recent visit to several university campuses in the U.S., I discovered that there is more sympathy for Hamas there than there is in Ramallah . . . .

The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip . . . .

What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: Elizrael)


Monday, March 23 2009

7 Reasons Why the MSM Loves Hating Israel

See Bradley Burston's 6 (+ 1) reasons the MSM loves to hate Israel.

Did he leave any others out?

The BBC During the Gaza War: Biased Coverage of the Conflict

Our latest analysis reveals more BBC anti-Israel bias. See HonestReporting's long term analysis: The BBC During the Gaza War: Biased Coverage of the Conflict

Haaretz, The IDF, And The World's Double Standards


Last week, Haaretz "exposed" the IDF "Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement" during Operation Cast Lead. After reading the article on Thursday, it wasn't hard to see reax like this long in coming.

But Haaretz's report isn't all it's cracked up to be, and several have astutely noted the world's double standard against Israel coming into play once again.

Melanie Phillips points out that Haaretz's report is based on shoddy hearsay journalism:

There are precisely two charges of gratuitous killing of Palestinian civilians under allegedly explicit orders to do so. One is what even Ha’aretz made clear was an accidental killing, when two women misunderstood the evacuation route the Israeli soldiers had given them and walked into a sniper’s gunsights as a result. Moreover, the soldier who said this has subsequently admitted he didn’t see this incident – he wasn’t even in Gaza at the time – and had merely reported rumour and hearsay.

The second charge is based on a supposedly real incident in which, when an elderly woman came close to an IDF unit, an officer ordered that they shoot her because she was approaching the line and might have been a suicide bomber. The soldier relating this story did not say whether or not the woman in this story actually was shot. Indeed, since he says ‘from the description of what happened’ it would appear this was merely hearsay once again.


And Herb Keinon accuses Dani Zamir, who transcribed and publicized the "admissions" of having his own agenda, having appeared in the 2004 book, Refusnik, Israel's Soldiers of Conscience, It includes a section by Zamir, who wrote:

"Accordingly, collaboration with a regime or government that forces or orders me to be part of an anti-democratic apparatus that leads to self-destruction, disintegration and national decay, along with the utter denial of its own foundations, is illegitimate, unjust and immoral, and will remain so . . . ."

Keinon's acerbic response:

The testimonies of the soldiers that he brought to the public's attention seem to corroborate - what a coincidence - his thesis.


Noting the rising trend of the world's pots calling the Israel kettle black, bloggers raise two important points about the manifest double standard arising from this. Z-Word says:

Perhaps because for many commentators it’s only permissible for the Jews to have a state and an army if that state and that army comply with standards of behavior far higher than that required of other states, including their own. Any failure to live up to these standards tends to be taken as evidence of the basic illegitimacy of the Zionist enterprise.

And Elder of Ziyon articulates why it's wrong for the world to hold Israel's own high standards against it:

One can observe that Israel falls short on occasion from its own self-imposed moral standards but it is quite hypocritical to judge Israel based on that. Only Israel has the right - and indeed the obligation - to judge its own people based on a higher moral code. When others do it, it is not based on morality; rather it is based on jealousy.

When one starts to judge Israel based on arbitrary "standards" beyond what is expected from others, it quickly devolves into an exercise of demonization - especially when these standards are set arbitrarily high, even beyond Israel's own self-imposed standards. Too often, Israel is judged against perfection, while others are merely judged against the status quo or their previous behaviors.

HR's Post War Solidarity Mission to Israel

Sign up for HonestReporting's Post War Israel Solidarity Mission.


Participants delivering pastries to soldiers during the May, 2007 mission.
  • Exclusive briefings from Israel's military officials, newsmakers, journalists, insiders, and the HonestReporting staff.
  • Tour Israel's southern borders, communities affected by the war, and other areas in the news.
  • Israel advocacy training (participants give this a thumbs-up).
  • Support the soldiers defending Israel.
  • June 3-9.
  • Early bird special for bookings received by March 31. Don't delay!

Details here, or write


Sunday, March 22 2009

Press TV 'Peddles Pernicious Tosh'


British columnist Oliver Kamm on Iran's Press TV:

But the corrosive aspect of this station is not so much the idiosyncrasies of its production as the seriousness with which it advances the most disreputable of fringe causes.

On its website, Press TV carries a preposterous article by astronomer Nicholas Kollerstrom, who was exposed last year as a Holocaust denier. Kollerstrom purports to demonstrate that “the alleged massacre of Jewish people by gassing during World War II was scientifically impossible”.

And it is clear where the station stands. “The West punishes people for their scientific research on Holocaust,” runs the introduction to his piece. “But the same Western countries allow insults to prophets and religious beliefs.”

Press TV has excelled itself by running a story that no reputable news outlet had reported: a supposed CIA study predicting the collapse of Israel within 20 years. The only authority cited for this study was “international lawyer Franklin Lamb”. Lamb is a political activist described by Hizbollah’s TV station in Lebanon as “persistent in his support for the just cause of the Lebanese people’s resistance”.

Kollerstrom's pseudo-research, plus frequent appearances of neo-Nazi Lady Michelle Renouf, were the primary reasons HonestReporting boycotted Press TV's invitation for a panel discussion on media bias.


Thursday, March 19 2009

The Buzz of Buzzwords

See the National Post, where Father Raymond de Souza introduces Mideast watchers to the buzzword he says is replacing "peace process."

"Conflict management" recognizes that lasting and durable peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not plausible in the near future. The heady days of bilateralism that produced the Oslo Accords 15 years ago came undone with the second intifada of 2000. The heady days of unilateral-ism that produced the Gaza withdrawal in 2005 came undone with the Hamas coup and the recent Gaza War. If peace is not possible together, and peace is not possible alone, then peace remains only a dream.

Conflict management dispenses with dreams, and seeks, under the present circumstances, to make life safer and less aggravating for all parties, with the hope that maybe, just maybe, time and tranquility may produce conditions in which the seeds of peace may be planted.

But will the MSM buy into this policy shift, or characterize"conflict management" as "Israeli obstructionism?"

Corrections, BBC Style


The BBC recently "corrected" its coverage of January's Gaza UN school incident:

BBC Update: In February 2009, the United Nations said that a clerical error had led it to report that Israeli mortars had struck a UN-run school in Jabaliya, Gaza, on 6 January killing about 40 people. Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Jerusalem, said that the Israeli Defense Force mortars fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself. He said that the UN “would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school”.

First the good news: the Beeb's on record that the IDF shelled near the school compound, not in the compound itself:

Now the bad news: the Beeb hasn't corrected the number of dead (nine, instead of the original report of 40); it continues to omit that the IDF was responding to Palestinian rocket fire in proximity to the school.

(Hat tip: Tom Gross)

Canadian Medical Association Journal's Bad Medicine

Publishing anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda tarnishes CMAJ's reputation. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: Canadian Medical Association Journal's Bad Medicine


Wednesday, March 18 2009

Exposed: How Palestinian Fixers Manipulate their Media Bosses

View the footage as a former CNN employee launches a tirade against an Israeli MK. See HonestReporting's special report: Exposed: How Palestinian Fixers Manipulate their Media Bosses

Talking Back to Big Media


NY Times columnist Roger Cohen flew out to LA on his own dime to meet with Iranian ex-pats outraged over his latest column, What Iran's Jews Have to Say. The JTA writes:

Many of the estimated 30,000 Iranian Jewish expatriates living in Los Angeles, who uprooted themselves from their homes in Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, said Cohen’s evaluation was dangerously naive at best and, at worst, a mockery of their own experiences.

Cohen and The New York Times were inundated with letters and e-mails, prompting Cohen to agree to fly to Los Angeles and address critics at Sinai Temple, which has a large representation of Iranian congregants. Cohen said he paid for the trip himself.

Cohen also wrote a follow-up column defending his views . . .

The LA Jewish Journal posted a video of Cohen's debate.

A dialogue like this would have been unlikely a few years ago. I credit the blogosphere reaction with calling Cohen onto the carpet. Social media is democratizing the media.

Tel Aviv Preps For Centennial

The Times of London takes note of Tel Aviv's centennial celebrations, which kick off April 3. Impressive how far the city and Israel have come in the last century.

Auctioning off the first plots of land in 1909.


The city's early days.


The bauhaus style that earned Tel Aviv's White City UNESCO World Heritage status.


Tel Aviv today.


See more historical context here.


Tuesday, March 17 2009

Seattle Post P-I


If you’re following the saga of the Seattle Post-Intellgencer, the paper’s publishing its last print edition, becoming the largest daily to shift to web-only news. The NY Times had an eye-opening take on what's in store for Seattle's largest daily:

But The P-I, as it is called, will resemble a local Huffington Post more than a traditional newspaper, with a news staff of about 20 people rather than the 165 it had, and a site with mostly commentary, advice and links to other news sites, along with some original reporting.

While I find this shift from reporting to commentary discomfiting (we still need professional journalists to cover stories "out there" in Nicaragua, Nigeria, and the Negev) it reinforces my view that something akin to the Huffington Post model may well be the future of journalism.

Clay Shirky puts the media's financial crisis into a larger context, while distinguishing between what's at stake for newspapers and what's at stake for journalism. A sober reminder for San Francisco and everyone else.

Related reading: Foreign Bureaus, Diversity of Views Shrinking

Following Up on Lorenzo Cremonesi

Maariv interviewed Lorenzo Cremonesi, the Italian reporter who first broke the story of Gaza's inflated casualty count. See Solomonia, who posts a translation by Contentious Centrist:

"After the rest of the journalists entered the strip," he said, "I found they were angry with me. They asked me; why are you serving the Israelis? What bothered them was not the quality of the information I provided. I felt that their anger and need to emphasize Palestinian suffering, were fueled by the fact that they had been prevented from entering [Gaza]."

In January, Cremonesi reported that the Palestinian death count did not exceed 500 or 600, and that he saw many empty hospital beds throughout the strip. Palestinians claim more than 1,000 deaths. Professor Richard Landes posted an English translation of the original Italian dispatch.


Monday, March 16 2009

Ohio Daily Discovers Life After AP

APLogo One small town daily paper in Ohio dropped AP and is managing quite well without it, thank you very much. Two years ago, Andy Prutsok, publisher of the Norwalk Reflector decided to drop AP for purely financial reasons.

AP's membership agreement requires a whopping two years notice before cancellation. This might make The Reflector the first paper in journalism's economic climate to be "post AP." Nieman Journalism Lab talked with Prutsok about life after the wire service:

Q: What kind of changes did you have to make to the paper to make up for the absence of AP content?

Prutsok: Really about the only change we made was a redesign of our front page to eliminate some national briefs we were running in our rail. AP copy was only used as filler otherwise. The only concern we had was agate and we found we were able to get that through PA Sportsticker out of New York. Actually, they have a superior agate package than what we were receiving from AP. We have encountered some formatting issues (we’re only a few weeks into this), but our IT folks are working on it and I’m sure we’ll have it straightened out. We also subscribe to the McClatchy-Tribune wire, MCT Direct. The total cost of the two reduces our monthly wire costs by 67 percent.

. . .

Q: What’s been the reaction from your readers so far?

Prutsok: No reaction. It’s a bigger deal to us than it is to them. Our readers couldn’t care less if we carry the same news that they can get off the evening news.

Curious about the two year rule, I found this explanation on AP's FAQs page. I'm not sure I'd find it satisfying if I were paying $48,000 per year:

Why does cancellation of AP service require a two-year notice?

From almost its inception, AP members, acting directly and through the AP board, have determined that members should provide AP with sufficient advance notice of cancellation of membership to ensure stable ongoing news gathering and distribution operations. This directly benefits AP and the members of the cooperative. The cooperative settled on a two-year notice period as a reasonable balance between the interests of the cooperative and member commitment. This has increased relevance in the current digital environment when AP has been called upon to deliver digital content delivery solutions for the cooperative and to develop and launch the digital cooperative initiative. The two-year notice is both a commitment of membership and a contractual obligation.

AP started losing papers in August; it wasn't difficult to see a trend developing.

Where do you get your national and international news from? Would you miss AP if your local paper dropped it?

(Hat tip: The Editors' Desk)

If There Were No Israel . . .


Edward Glick's commentary in The Oregonian imagines how the world would be if there were no Israel:

Finally, even without a Jewish polity and without either a one-state or a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, there would still be at least 1.3 billion Muslims living on this planet. If only 1 percent of them are Islamists and jihadists, that means 13 million people who are hellbent on terrorizing infidels back to earlier centuries of real and imagined Islamic glory.

Read the whole thing.


Sunday, March 15 2009

Bunglawala and the Blame Game

Inayat Bunglawala, a regular contributor to The Guardian’s Comment is Free section who also advises the UK government on Muslim matters, was arrested for allegedly stabbing another man in his home.

Three guesses who the UK's Muslim Public Affairs Committee (via Soccer Dad) blames for the affair:

Zionists within the government and the media are manipulating these great British institutions to ensure they are compliant with their new agenda of breaking the back of Muslim groups who have stood up against Israel.

Memo to MPAC-UK: Our tentacles are in a sorry state right now.

Tristan Anderson: Victim of Media Game?


I wonder if the International Solidarity Movement organizers of the reuglar Friday fence clashes told Tristan Anderson that their violence is just scripted for media consumption and cheap photo-ops.

I hope:
  • First and foremost,that Tristan has a speedy and full recovery.
  • The ISM acknowledges its culpability for Anderson's situation.
  • Big media rethinks its approach to these clashes.
Spotlight On Hamas Torture

Thumbs up to Sydney Morning Herld reporter Jason Koutsoukis for examing the case of Hamza Al-Shoubaki, a Fatah supporter:

Three weeks ago Hamza's tortured body was found dumped at Gaza's Shifa Hospital, with two gunshot wounds to the head. From the types of twigs and leaves that lined Hamza's pants and the inside of his jacket, Hamza's family believe he was murdered in a citrus grove somewhere on the outskirts of Gaza City.

Executed without trial, or even being charged, Hamza had been accused of collaborating with the government of the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah faction holds power in the West Bank.

A vocal supporter of Fatah, Hamza was in almost daily telephone contact with his brother, a senior officer in the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah. His fate is a chilling example of the terror inflicted on political dissenters who live under the Hamas regime that has ruled Gaza since May 2007.

Even more admirable is that the Shoubaki family bravely spoke to the reporter on the record. Read the whole article.

Related reading: Our Son Is Innocent

What Passes For 'Normal' in Sderot

SderotWhy should this be considered "normal" by any standards? 

Despite the ever-present rocket threat, there has a been a kind of normalization of the abnormal in war-weary Sderot. In school, the boys have learned "The Code Red Song," a kind of nursery rhyme designed to get kids to recognize what to do when the rocket signal sounds – and how to shake off the stress later.

Living in Sderot also means living with the windows open, winter or summer, rain or shine – in order to hear warnings. Sometimes the rockets avoid detection, and fall with no warning at all.

Palestinians have fired more than 80 rockets since the Gaza war ended. Fortified playgrounds, a Children of Sderot Facebook group and the like have value in the respite and solidarity they provide residents.

But as NATAL studies of Sderot trauma show, when it comes to a child's well-being, there's simply no substitute for normalcy.


Saturday, March 14 2009

You Know Durban 2 Is Getting Close When . . .
Check out this new blog, Durban II Dispatch.

Thursday, March 12 2009

By the Numbers: Illegal Construction in Jerusalem

Building_permit 6,000: Illegal homes built in eastern Jerusalem with financial assistance from the Palestinian Authority.

36,000: Number of building permits issued by Jerusalem "for housing units in the Arab sector, more than enough to meet the needs of Arab residents through legal construction until 2020."

4-6: Typical number of weeks Jews and Arabs wait for a reply for building permits.

35: Years that Arabs of eastern Jerusalem have boycotted municipal elections.

230: Illegal hutments razed by Mumbai authorities on March 4 alone.

Unknown: Number of illegal structures to be demolished in Jakarta and Kampala.

1.25 million: Estimated people evicted from Beijing homes since the city won its Olympic bid back in 2001.

Hundreds of millions: Dollars spent on an "intentional campaign to subsidize and encourage massive illegal construction in the Arab sector."

Sources: Justus Reid Weiner, IMRA

March 12 Links

Syria's Discount Ticket to Legitimacy
Clarifying the status of Israeli MIAs would be a great confidence building measure.

Money to Burn?
Cifford May looks at the recent international donors conference for Gaza. When's will we see one for Darfur?

Victory at Facebook?
Is Facebook letting jihadi hackers have the last say?

From Ethiopia to Israel's Knesset
How MK Shlomo Molla made his way to "racist Israel" (via IsraellyCool).

The 'Times' They Are A Changin'
Israeli media wonk discusses the relationship between the press, politicians and military leaders.

10 Major Newspapers That Will Fold Or Go Digital Next
Will some big cities be left with zero newspapers?


Tuesday, March 10 2009

HonestReporting's Swimsuit Communique

Boosting Israel's branding efforts, Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch, and outgoing Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, agreed to pose for HonestReporting's annual swimsuit communique.

HR's USA director Gary Kenzer, said the photo shoot will also mark the relocation of his office to Canouan Island.


Happy Purim to all our readers.

UK Media U-Turn on Avigdor Lieberman


Avigdor Lieberman shocked his party members and critics when he announced Yisrael Beiteinu would set up its own military and social welfare "wings" to drive the Palestinians into the sea while turning Israelis into abject, brainwashed sheep.

"It's the only way the UK papers will call me pragmatic," Lieberman told The Guardian.


Happy Purim to all our readers.

Haman to Give 'Alternative' Purim Speech

UK Channel 4 is in hot water after inviting Haman to give the station's annual "alternative Purim address." C4 executive Dudley Doonoright told HonestReporting in an email:

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, the deposed Prime Minister of Persia and Medea will discuss universal themes of peace, love, and the destruction of the Zionist entity. A short introduction will put Haman's appearance in context.

Haman's speech will not conflict with the Queen's annual Purim address.


Happy Purim to all our readers.

Daily Bugle Photographer Addresses Critics

Daily_bugle For the first time, embattled Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker addressed the mounting questions about his photographs of Spiderman and the Daily Bugle's preoccupation with the superhero. MediaBackspin caught up with Parker for some exclusive comments:

Why do you take more photos of Spiderman than Zohan?

It's not because I'm pro-Spidey, or anti-Zohan. It's because the Daily Bugle's pushing local coverage, and Spiderman's a local hero. J. Jonah Jameson pays more for pictures of the wall crawler than any other hero and people are far more likely to buy the Bugle when they see their "friendly neighborhood Spiderman" on the front page. All the photographers in town know it. As Zohan spends more time here, I'm sure he'll come to be regarded as a more local hero too.

Some bloggers suggest you're colluding with Spiderman.

I'm proud of all my superhero photos published in the Bugle. No disrespect to Zohan -- he contributes a lot to the city -- but his fans have to accept that the MSM doesn't see him in Spidey's league yet. I'll talk to Zohan privately if it'll help smooth things out. But the bloggers and media watchdogs have to take their gripes to Jameson.


Happy Purim to all our readers.

Correcting Canadian Columnists' Canards
Even opinions have to be based on accurate facts. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: Correcting Canadian Columnists' Canards.

Monday, March 9 2009

BBC Digs Another Hole

Following a third Palestinian bulldozer attack, the BBC still won't learn. See HonestReporting's latest communique: BBC Digs Another Hole

What Stifled Debate?

Bmj The Jerusalem Post gave HonestReporting op-ed space to address the British Medical Journal's argument that we're stifling debate.

Indeed, people like Sabbagh, who accuse HonestReporting of stifling debate, are actually the ones seeking to suppress the voices of its readers - the people who express themselves through e-mails to editors. Considering the flood of negative media coverage Israel receives, there is no evidence that these complaints have had the effect Sabbagh describes.

See our research on the BMJ's imbalanced fixation on Israel. More background and links here.

Read the full commentary.


Sunday, March 8 2009

Rick Salutin and Israel Apartheid Week's 4 Myths


Globe & Mail columnist Rick Salutin buys into four of the biggest myths peddled by the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week.

Myth: The "apartheid" label stems from the security fence. Salutin writes:

Cabinet minister Jason Kenney calls Israel Apartheid Week “a systematic effort to delegitimize the democratic homeland of the Jewish people” by linking it to racism, a line virtually mouthed by Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff. That is way too cute. Any “settler state,” such as Canada, which took someone else's land, can be seen as illegitimate. But it's an abstract point. “Apartheid” became widely used in this context only when Israel began building what came to be called an apartheid wall, looming over Palestinians, sequestering more land, cutting them off from each other.

Fact: The apartheid label was generated by the rabid participants of the 2001 Durban conference, nearly a whole year before Israel decided to build its security fence. See how South Africa's former ambassador to Israel, Major General Fumanekile Gqiba, reacted to the apartheid comparison.

Myth: The security fence divides the West Bank into "Bantustans." According to Salutin:

The usage grew as Israel expanded settlements, built Israeli-only roads and set up checkpoints so Palestinians would at best be left with “Bantustans,” such as those that apartheid South Africa offered blacks, rather than a true state of their own

Fact: The fence, checkpoints and roads are for Israel's security, not to segregate people. In 2007, Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Shalah confirmed as much to Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV that the Israel's security measures effectively thwarts terror attacks.

Israeli_Apartheid_Week_2009_poster Myth: Jewish students shouldn't be overly concerned by the campus debate's invective. Salutin says:

Most of the specifics come down to shouts at protests. As in: “Cries of ‘Die, Jew' and ‘Get the hell off campus' were heard.” The Canadian Jewish Congress's Bernie Farber says he's “never” seen it this bad “on the streets of Toronto and university campuses.” Well, I spend lots of time on streets in Toronto and it doesn't look like Kristallnacht to me. But wait, that's glib. It's these images that scare my friends: They evoke Nazi Germany. I know that.

But Nazi Germany wasn't about name-calling and group hate. Those will persist, perhaps always. The Holocaust occurred largely because anti-Semitism was historically rooted and respectable there: religiously, socially, intellectually, politically. Writers and politicians were proudly anti-Semitic. Here, anti-Semitism is unacceptable in all those ways. This whole debate proves it. We should be glad for that, and keep it in perspective.

Fact: The Jewish students of 1930s Germany received similar reassurances by people no less well-meaning or enlightened than Salutin. See more sober reactions from McGill's Professor Gil Troy and Israeli Bedouin diplomat Ishmael Khaldi.

Myth: Hamas can accomodate the existence of Israel.

Even Hamas has a (nuanced) position on living with Israel. You can look it up.

Hamas_logo Fact: Okay, I looked up the Hamas charter. Here's what Salutin confuses for "nuance."

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)
 . . .

[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

. . .

There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.

Moreover, on closer look, the charter notes early on Hamas's identification with the Muslim Brotherhood, an international movement with branches in Egypt, Jordan, even the US, and UK. International movements like the Muslim Brotherhood don't have a track record for the kind of nuance Salutin puts his faith in.

CBC Bans Anti-Semitic Comments and Commentators

One man taking action changed CBC's online policies and procedures. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: CBC Bans Anti-Semitic Comments and Commentators.


Thursday, March 5 2009

BBC's Bulldozes Headlines Again

If there's a bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem, count on the BBC to botch the headlines. Two separate attacks might be an unhappy coincidence, but with another attack today, the BBC proved three's a trend.

Here's the evolution of the Beeb's headlines. The first headline emphasizes a dead driver, not the nature of the terror involved.


This new headline shortly afterwards was nothing more than a semantic twist on the same problem.


Last I looked, this was the new BBC headline. It finally reflects that this was an attack, but why the quote marks?


As we pointed out last July the BBC's initial instinct is to portray Israel as an aggressor and a Palestinian as a victim even if that Palestinian was actively involved in a terrorist attack against innocent civilians.

The fact that the headlines were changed at all shows that somebody thought about what was going on. Too bad it took so long . . .

The Independent's Character Assassination

The Jerusalem Post blows the lid on a recent front page story in The Independent about Israel's "death squads." British reporter Donald Macintyre didn't provide the full picture on the death of Jamal Abdel Razak in 2000:

But Razak was no mere "militant." He was a senior Tanzim operative who had been imprisoned by Israel (1992-1997) and when released planned numerous bombing attacks.

Contrary to the implication left by Macintyre, all four killed were Fatah. The movement issued a statement condemning "the assassination of four of its cadre . . ." warning that the "blood of its sons" would be avenged.

Some may wonder why we bother taking umbrage over yet one more slanderous attack in a British press long fixated on delegitimizing Israel.

Because though anti-Israelism pervades the British media and academia, truly independent readers deserve to know the wider circumstances of Jamal Abdel Razak's demise, and that there are no "killing squads" in Israel.

The real hit job here is The Indy's character assassination of the IDF.

Idiotic Headline of the Day

194px-PressTV This headline is a great example of why I've learned not take Iran's Press TV seriously.

Zion elders wanted Muslims 'under thumb'

It further validates HonestReporting's decision to reject Press TV's request for input on a show last year. I wonder how far the Iranians must go to make employee Lauren Booth squirm.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad)


Wednesday, March 4 2009

A Bloggers Delegation to Israel

Cartoon Barry got an invitation from the Israeli Consulate in NY, It's great Israel's getting web savvy and bringing bloggers over. I usually hear about delegations of journalists, politicians and celebrities.

I wonder how many bloggers are coming and who will attend.

(Hat tip: TopSEOBlogs)

A Message to Israel-Apartheid Week Organizers

Israeli_Apartheid_Week_2009_poster Must read: Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin diplomat, articulately addresses the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week.

In 2006, the SF Chronicle profiled Khaldi's fascinating story when he became the first Muslim to join Israel's diplomatic corps. He serves as deputy consul for the Pacific Northwest.

Meanwhile, Vlad Tepes rightly refers to Israel Apartheid Week as "Durban Lite." I completely agree.


HR Links

HR Social Media

Featured Blogs

Featured Links

Media Backspin