How Israel’s Jewish and other media lie to you

A reader needs very serious analytic skills to read a news report 


This article offers a partial guide to cutting through the lies, deceit, and deceptions of what liars and truth-tellers alike call “Journalism.”

1. The Source: Any article on Judaism, Israel, or other Jewish issues that originates from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) should be assumed ab initio, unless proven otherwise, to be extreme-left-propaganda against normative Orthodox Judaism and against centrist or conservative political perspectives. The same is true for reports and op-eds originating in Forward and often Times of Israel. Also Hebrew publications like Maariv and Yediot Acharonot (Ynet).

Of course, there are exceptions to everything, and even a broken clock is correct twice daily. These publications invariably employ techniques and tactics discussed below. JTA merits extra attention because they send “news” stories to others as a sort-of “Associated Press” news service. When a fine Jewish publication runs a “news” item or op-ed whose leftist or anti-Orthodox bias surprises you, look whether it originated at JTA.

2. Headlines:Compare “100,000 Demonstrate Against Government Efforts to Suppress Court Freedom” with “Thousands at Tel Aviv Demonstration.” Both headlines are assumed accurate. Which seems larger? In this case, the latter demonstration was larger — as many as 200,000 people, possibly 300,000 — but it was for the government’s proposed reform. See?

Try another: Compare “Six Jews and Arabs Killed in West Bank Shootout” with “Israeli Security Forces Kill 2 Hamas Terrorists After 4 Jews Murdered in Terror Attack.” See?

3. Placement: Leftist and anti-Orthodox stories get placed as “The Lede” at the top on page one in print or at the top of the web page. Other stories of comparable consequence but encouraging disfavored perspectives get buried lower on the page or in middle or back pages.

4. Organizations Quoted: Reporters contact organizations whose views they know will be left-wing or anti-Orthodox, seeking quotes for their stories. To create the veneer of “balance,” they sometimes select one or two statements from the opposite perspective. Even so, the agreeable views appear at the beginning paragraphs of the story for two reasons: First, the reader’s perspective toward the subject is strongly influenced by a first impression gleaned from the opening paragraphs. Secondly, many read only the first paragraph or two and then rapidly skim the rest.

Similarly, preferred groups and quotes will appear at the end of the story, again for two reasons: First, the last paragraph or two leave the reader with a final impression from the story. Second, many read the first paragraph or two, race through the rest, and then read the last paragraph or two. Accordingly, organizations or quotes that the reporter disfavors are buried in the middle.

5. Experts Quoted: Similar to “Organizations Quoted,” above. Secondary players get inordinate coverage if media wish to promote their left-wing or anti-Orthodox views. In America, this is why Ocasio-Cortez is quoted so often, even though she represents an insignificant Congressional district with above-average poverty and below-average achievements. The leftist media adore her leftist views so they solicit quotes daily.

Similarly, Jewish media cover Israel, Judaism, and other Jewish issues that way. They seek out leftist spokespersons, creating celebrities, while ignoring others to their right — unless a right-winger misspeaks. Then they have a field day. The religious and conservative voices that get quoted invariably appear buried in the middle.

A favorite tactic to seem “balanced” and “fair” without being so is to call a conservative or pro-religious spokesperson for a quote only minutes before “deadline.” That way, the person does not get interviewed if not at the phone that minute because there is no time left to call back before the story appears. Then the report says “Calls made to [Mr. X] were not returned by press time.”

6. Distortion of Quotes: Many experienced political conservatives and spokespeople for Orthodox Judaism now insist on the right to record their interviews before the reporter culls quotes to use in a story. Alternatively, they insist the reporter submit all questions in writing, and they will supply their interview answers in writing. Otherwise, they are at the mercy of dishonest or incompetent reporters who misquote their oral answers or supply quotes accurately but out of context.

7. Surveys and Polls. Left-wing media degrade right-wing electoral victories by conducting endless polls and surveys, trying to demonstrate that right-wing election results were aberrations, no longer true. Despite a general tendency for people surveyed to change their minds back-and-forth until actual elections approach and everyone gets serious, it is equally important to note how the left media selectively treat polls.

Presently, they highlight polls suggesting some Israelis now would vote differently than they repeatedly have the past five elections in four years. Yet, the same media aggressively hide and cover up polls showing the majority of Jerusalem residents oppose Homosexual Parades in their streets. Similarly, they whitewash polls showing a majority of Israelis support building more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and even outright annexing parts.

8. AdjectivesAdverbs. Haredi Jews get described as “Ultra” Orthodox, a pejorative according to Goodle. By contrast, Hamas never is called “Ultra” Violent. In America, “The Squad” that includes Ocasio, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib never are called “Ultra” liberal or “Ultra” progressive. Arab political parties who will not even join left-wing Israeli governments never are called “Ultra” Arab.

The present freely elected Israeli government regularly gets described in leftist media as “extreme right wing.” Yet their policies are consistent with traditional conservative Israeli political platforms. They have not restricted civil rights or liberties despite the Left’s dire warnings.

They have not mass-arrested dissenters, despite the Left’s wholesale law-breaking, public calls from Ehud Barak bordering on sedition, and Ehud Olmert bordering on “treason lite.” The government has leaned over backward. No territory has been annexed. Every time they announce new construction, they next announce yet another temporary freeze on building. They have not forced people to observe Shabbat. They want bread kept out of hospitals during Pesach but do not impose chametz laws on private lives.

It is a centrist-conservative, pro-tradition government, nothing extreme. They still have yet to significantly advance the Judicial Reform package, and have not advanced amending the “Grandfather Clause” that has opened Israel to massive non-Jewish immigration.

9. Quotation Marks. Compare “Israel Claims It Killed 4 ‘Terrorists’ ” with “Israel Reports It Killed 4 Terrorists.” See what those quotation marks do?

10. Verbs. And see the difference between “Claims” and “Reports” in the above example?

11. Non-Reporting of Important News. Publications employ biases to elevate non-stories into significant events or to ignore significant stories whose urgency demands coverage. In America, important religion stories get ignored regularly when a Catholic priest or prominent Protestant pastor gets implicated in scandal. It is legion how left media blacked out all news of the Hunter Biden laptop during the 2020 presidential election or allocated absurdly undue attention to lies that Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin.

And consider friendships: How often have you heard about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s friendship with Arnon Milchin (although no one remembers that before the accusations against him, the media regularly wrote that Netanyahu has no friends)? OK. And how often of Ehud Barak’s much closer relationship with sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein? Barak spent time with Epstein — at least thirty times — and flew on his infamous plane. Barak was “almost a fixture” at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion. Not news?

12. Photographs. Any person’s eyes shut as he blinks or as he rubs his eyes, and people momentarily place their hands on their cheeks or foreheads. Which photo will appear the next day? Or they may wave at an audience with an outstretched arm. Will it be called friendly waving or a Nazi salute? Typically, the same speech includes moments of warm smiling while telling a joke, and also angry scowling while criticizing something deplorable.

Editors decide which one picture to use. Similarly, an editor’s biased viewpoint selects the photograph at a demonstration. At media-favored demonstrations against the government of Israel, they show photographs of Israeli flags and hide those of demonstrators waving “Palestine” flags. By contrast, if there is even one “Kach” poster at a demonstration of 200,000 people favoring the government, that photo is chosen.

13. Distortion of Comparative Data. Media will report on numbers of Gazan Arabs killed in a justified Israeli bombing without delineating: (i) how many were terrorists as opposed to civilians, (ii) that the targeted Hamas rocket launchers deliberately were based in apartment buildings, hospital campuses, and school yards, and (iii) how many of the Gazan Arabs were killed by Hamas rockets that fell short and incinerated their own people.

A third example: The media banner that hundreds of reserve soldiers have promised not to report but fail to tell you (i) how many are over age 60, over 70, over 80; (ii) how many of them actually have not shownup when due; and that (iii) well over 100,000 Israeli active duty and reserve military personnel are on record rejecting the calls to refuse service.

14. Outright Advocacy Couched as “News”. The honest approach is to distinguish for readers and viewers very formally between “news” and “opinion.” Israel’s television news is notorious for anchors “reporting” personal subjective opinions as documented objective facts. When Ben Caspit publishes his daily Maariv personal attack on Netanyahu, he fairly presents as an opinion writer. Others are not as honest.

15. Semantics. Words color everything. “West Bank” or “Judea and Samaria”? “Settlements” or “Jewish communities”? Ariel, the capital of Samaria, has a population exceeding 20,000 with another 11,000 studying at Ariel University. But Wikipedia calls it a “settlement.” Ariel is twice the population of Malibu, California (10,654); three times the population of Lexington, Virginia (7,320) and Aspen, Colorado (7,004); seven times Gatlinburg, Tennessee (3,577) and Carmel, California (3,220); and ten times Lake Placid, New York (2,269) and Cooperstown, New York (1,769). Opponents snark back: “Oh, stop quibbling over semantics!”

Semantics, huh? So it is OK to call married women “Mrs.” and unmarried women “Miss” instead of “Ms.”? Don’t bet on it. Or to call people “homosexual” instead of “Gay”? Yeah, right. Try it. And over the century, in a sincere effort to be sensitive, people were educated first to show respect by using the term “Colored People” as in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Then the public was urged: Show some sensitivity and stop using that horrible term; use “Negro.” And then: “Negro is insensitive; it is a Spanish word, and we do not call Caucasians ‘Blanco.’” Fair point. So, from now on, use “Black.” OK. But then it became insensitive to designate by skin color because Americans are described by ethnicity — Irish-American, Italian-American, German-American — so it became “African-American.” Finally — wouldn’t you know? — it has gone full cycle from “Colored People” to “Negro” to “Black” to “African American” to . . . “People of Color.” So, apparently, semantics do matter.

In fact, our haters now engage in semantics distinguishing how they despise us: “I am not anti-Semitic. I am anti-Zionist.” So a reporter’s semantics expose biased reporting.

16. Focus on a Person’s Past. Every left-wing report on Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir includes his life of decades ago. The same sorts love the likes of Angela Davis. Davis was a member of the Communist Party and purchased firearms used in the murder of a judge and three others. She was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and fled her state. Yet we never hear of her past. She is a hero of the left. Bill Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, a terror group that conducted bombings across America. He fled justice for several years. Yet, his past did not stop Obama from associating with him.

By contrast, Ben-Gvir has no such criminal past, and his bar admittance to practice law reflects he was professionally vetted and found to be worthy of character to be an officer of the court, to practice law. And yet perpetual references to the political activism of his youth are included to prejudice the reader.

Know these dirty “journalism” tricks. The truth is elusive, but this guide may help.

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July 24, 2023 | Comments »

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