Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good News, Bad News From The New York Times

The good news is that the New York Times published what I told Ben Hubbard, the AP reporter, and the bad news is that they also published the lies the Arab said.  I guess that's what's called "even-handed."

Hubbard inaccurately described Shiloh as being "surrounded by security roads lined with surveillance cameras, concertina wire and guard dogs." Contrary to IDF demands, we're not fenced in, and the Arab villages for sure aren't.  There are some dogs, but we're not surrounded.

There are a few simple non-ideological factual errors in Hubbard's article, like the Jewish return to Shiloh was in January 1978 and not as written.  And, although, my parents are from Great Neck, my husband isn't.  He's from Queens, NY, where we lived between our wedding and aliyah in 1970.

Now when my father and I pass the park where the interview took place, and he says, "That's where that New York Times reporter interviewed you.  Did the article come out yet?"  I can now answer in the affirmative.


Marc Prowisor said...

There are a lot of errors in the article. When half truths are presented, Lies reign. Your lessons on speaking to reporters are sound but will not stop them from taking what they want, and in the end cause us more harm (of course based on the particular News Agency). Being as experienced as you are with these types, I hope you may avoid having your words minced in the future.

Anonymous said...

What a one sided article!! How in the world does this guy know that this Arab is telling the truth or if his documents are indeed genuine.. Talk about slanted.. yuck yuck..

When will the world stop their yellow journalism?
The world forgets that many countries (including the good old USA) colonized countries that they have no claim to and continue to live in them until this day.
I am sure the native indians could tell the world how they were oppressed,killed and tortured in America's early years .. but then again there was no UN or Hague to convict the US of crimes against humanity.. and for some reason just because the world doesn't recognize things that means it isn't legit. The world doesn't need to recognize that Israel is the Jewish homeland.. we have G-d and that is more weight that ALL the countries in the world .. they could ALL go fly a kite..

Batya said...

Marc, one can never "avoid having your words minced." The AP reporter kept in touch with me over the month or so since the interview as his article went through the various bureaucratic levels of AP and beyond.

I greatly admire your own hasbara work, but please remember that we are different people, play different roles and can't switch into each other's. I'm this middle-aged plus grandmother and you're the IDF veteran of battles more dangerous than just my words.

cm3, yes, isn't it amazing how every Arab lie is presented as if it's straight fact.

YMedad said...

You're big in Miami, too.

yoni said...

i like the name "associated press". what are they associated with, lies and distortion? gullibility, one-sidedness, incompetent fact-checking?

i liked your remarks, batya. next time someone asks me why i feel i have a right to live here, i'll say "because of the wildflowers, don't you know anything?" :)

YMedad said...

And Seattle, too.

Batya said...

AP Associated Press is an international news service, so I expect that bits and pieces, if not more, of the article will be all over in all different languages.

Thanks, yoni and Winkie!

JDL London Canada said...

The question I have is who is doing the PR other than yourself and David Ha Irvi? Little lies or big, we can't stop this coming from the media but we can assert our side of the truth. Where are all the large Jewish organisations on this? Forget J Street they have been 'bought and sold' but there are others. I know its 'open season on the Jew' but that's besides the point ...Where is the strength of the PR? I talk to people and even gave a recent tutorial at my university on Rav Kahane - it was well received but I'm only one of many that's really, too few. I proposed the idea of a large picture book called " A Day in the Life of Judea and Samaria" but the way things are going it might be just that; an idea. Give me some pointers and I will get things started on this side of the world.

Shabbat Shalom, Pesach

Batya said...

There are lots others who get calls form various news agencies. David Haivri at least has a job doing it. Many of us are doing it as volunteers, for the good of the nation.

Keli Ata said...

The AP has writers guidelines. Basically, they start out with a bias and provide only a handful of quotes (typically from a single source) for "balance."

The next time you give an interview, you might want to ask the reporter to give you a copy of the draft prior to publication to check for factual information such as where you and your husband lived prior to making aliyah.

While it's not normally done, I have done it a couple of times on really complex stories just to make certain I understood the facts.

Sometimes errors are inadvertant. Other times it's outright lies and propoganda.

Batya said...

keli, it doesn't work like that with the biggies, especially AP. Dumb mistakes like being a year off, most probably because he calculated instead of asking a specific date, or surmising that my husband and I made aliyah from the same town as my father, aren't worth getting upset about.

My words were reported. If was to make too many demands, he'd speak to someone he could control, not me. There are many people willing to say anything just to get their name in the paper.

Keli Ata said...

That is true. The majority of people who talk to the media have only one qualification--they want to get their names in the paper and will spin things to do so.

I just finished reading the piece. My first thought is that 1. He uses the term settler an awful lot. Sort of distancing tactic to make readers forget he's actually bashing and evicting Jews.

2. The comment from the police officials about Palestinians filing complaints months and years later needed more follow up.

I don't know many people who wait years to report a property crime. Rapes yes, property crimes no. So the Palestinian "villagers" are either lying or being set up to file false reports by outsiders troublemakers.

I wonder if this particular man showed the reporter any official police report. While it wouldn't attest to the veracity of the man's allegations the lack of it speaks volumes.

3. The "wildcast outposts" comment makes Shiloh sound like the wild, wild west and the "settlers" a bunch of Yoesemite Sams and Annie Oakleys.

4. Lack of follow up in the article. You say that the Palestinians can stay if they want to live in peace. The Palestinian wants all Jews gone regardless. The reporter should have pressed the Palestinian guy on why he insists on evicting Jews.

(I would have pounced on him over this matter).

It was good that you made that distinction even if the reporter didn't challenge the Palestinian guy on what amounts to a call for ethnic cleansing.

Finally, that whole "wildcat outposts" theme coupled with the description of Palestinians as "villagers" (that makes me think of quaint country folk living in a small, tranquil hamlet somewhere) versus the wilcat settlers really upset me.

Just some thoughts from reading the article. You did get many excellent points in.

The reporter was clearly biased or just plain sloppy. More disturbing, the AP could have an institutional bias when it comes to Israel and the reporter was forced to make many revisions.

The bias doesn't surprise me though. Either the BBC or World Focus recently reported that "the settlers are against everything."

Wow. Talk about painting people with a broad brush.

There are very few justifications in journalism for using absolutes.

Batya said...

keli, great going
You should teach journalism!

yoni said...


"The "wildcast outposts" comment makes Shiloh sound like the wild, wild west and the "settlers" a bunch of Yoesemite Sams and Annie Oakleys."

yeah, and...? :)

Batya said...

You'd think he'd describe me as a fat old grannie.