By David Poland email@example.com
Circles Of Lies
Oy… this is what I get for watching The View.
The ladies spent 5 minutes discussing how the Western Wall prayer that was taken out of the wall and published in Israel was, according to the paper that published the presumably private document, Ma’ariv, pre-approved for publication by Obama even before the note was stuck in the wall. The claim from an unnamed Ma’ariv editor was legitimized by publication in The Jerusalem Post as part of a story about a potential legal probe and boycott of Ma’ariv for publishing the note.
The Wall Street Journal pushed the story further by publishing a series of web attacks on Obama without bothering to do what they do best… report news.
“Maariv’s response: “Obama’s note was published in Maariv and other international publications following his authorization to make the content of the note public. Obama submitted a copy of the note to media outlets when he left his hotel in Jerusalem. Moreover, since he is not Jewish, there is no violation of privacy as there would be for a Jewish person who places a note in the wall.”
Problem is… the story was a lie.
An editor at Ma’ariv, on the record but once again unnamed by the Associated Press for lame reasons that follow NYT’s lame blind quoting guidelines that follow the line of ligic that created this lie in the first place, acknowledged flatly: “”We did not get permission, formal or informal, to print the note,” said the Maariv editor, who asked to remain anonymous because of the touchy nature of the dispute. “This kind of snowballed and got out of hand.”
Further, the website that the Wall Street Journal features, IsraeliInsider.com, cites The New Republic’s Zvika Krieger, “writing in TNR’s “The Plank” Blog and then updates: “I just got off the phone with a Ma’ariv spokesman who says that the accusation is ‘completely false,’ and that he has no idea who these papers were quoting from Ma’ariv. ‘No official spokesman for Ma’ariv told this to any of the papers.'” Krieger added: “He told me definitively that “the Obama campaign did not give us a copy of the letter or approve it for printing.”
Of course, IsraeliInsider’s report about getting caught spreading lies is not contrite. Instead, the headline is – Video source claims prayer note snatched by man in Obama’s “entourage”.
Stick and move. Stick and move.
The note that goes along with the footage from the “videographer,” a guy whose YouTube post claims to be named David Cohen, doesn’t say that Obama’s people took the note, but rather: “Seconds after Obama left the stones, some of his entourage stepped up to the wall (seen dressed in suits) while young men began gathering notes in their hands in what appeared to be the search for Obama’s freshly placed personal note”
And indeed, there is no footage of the two men in suits, who may or may not be part of the Obama team, taking anything out of the wall. In fact, they seem to be taking a moment to do what people do at The Wall, reflect and pray and perhaps add a note of their own. But we do see three young, apparently-orthodox men who seem to have noting to do with Obama start foraging and pillaging people’s private and sacred notes.
So much for that false conspiracy.
And I have to say, I am a bit disgusted with The Huffington Post and others who have NOT covered this controversy, either by aggregating or reporting. If it were true that the Obama campaign gave out the Western Wall note as a press release, it would be news. If they let the idea that it – still not confirmed to be his personal note by anyone – was pulled out of the wall immorally even though they leaked or released it… that would be very bad news indeed. They did neither, from all indications, including official statements by the publisher of the note.
I suspect we will now hear the outrage from the left-leaning media about the lie being spread. Too late.
My point is, if it’s in the Wall Street Journal, it is news of a kind. And it must be addressed, even if it is only to point out skeptically that the pieces don’t seem to fit. (My first reaction to hearing this thing about Obama allegedly approving publication of the note was that if it was approved for an Israeli paper, why just one, and how did all those American news people miss getting approval if Obama was okay with it? It made no sense on its face.)
The responsibility of the newsperson is greater than ever. It’s not business as it once was. Every disagreement need not be assumed to be a personal vendetta. False news needs to be challenged. Fellow MSM news people are just as dubious, at times, as web people… in this case, the WSJ and the Jerusalem Post.
And if you are wondering how this all leads back to movies… well, journalism is journalism. There are variables. But we know a lot in entertainment journalism about people taking information out of crevices where they don’t belong and publishing it and then claiming it was the fault of the person whose private information it was. And the better the story, the more people want to believe it, even when it turns out to be a lie.
By the time the lie hits The View, it’s going mainstream and you may never get the truth to overcome it out into the public. Paul is dead, Pop Rocks killed Mikey, Nikki Finke is interested in the truth… you know, the big ones.
And even as I rage about all this, I smirk on the inside, because there is nothing I enjoy more than watching people who really, really want to be right making up their minds about something based on a poorly reported rumor only to have the truth shoved back in their face.
If the allegation that Obama orchestrated the publication of his note in the Western Wall shows something about his character, what does the fact that he did not and was maliciously attacked for it by the right wing media in the last 48 hours mean about the character of his attackers and the lengths to which they will go to discredit him?
Oh… it was just a mistake? Oh… this stuff happens? Oh… sorry… but what was he doing in Israel anyway and where is his poll bounce?
The best goes on…