Backspin articles

The Same Old Song

Jonathon Tobin of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent notes that the moment the US started running into trouble in Iraq, the Jewish members of Bush’s inner circle became scapegoats: It is a rule of thumb that has been tried and tested many times over the last 2,000 years. When things go bad, blame the Jews. So it

BBC’s Mideast policeman

While the Israeli foreign ministry is again furious with the BBC, Haaretz has an article on Malcolm Balen, the BBC’s ombudsmen for Mideast matters. Good background on the groundswell of complaints that brought the Beeb to appoint Balen, and a definition of Balen’s role: “I am not here as an extra layer of editorial supervision

Okrent: Institutional reporting failures

In a column reviewing the NY Times’ faulty coverage of WMDs in Iraq, Times’ Public Editor Daniel Okrent outlines a number of ‘institutional’ problems that plague news reporting: * The Hunger for Scoops * Front Page Syndrome * Hit-and-run Journalism * Coddling Sources * End-run Editing While all five of these problems exist also in

Foreign Ministry vs. BBC, round 2

As the BBC plans to air a new Vanunu interview tonight, the Israeli Foreign Ministry lashes out again against the Beeb: Foreign Ministry officials charge that the BBC is a “communications organization whose goal is to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel. It promotes hostile coverage of Israel… and the Vanunu affair proves

Worth reading today

* The Independent has an interview with an Al Aqsa Brigades leader who openly admits Yassir Arafat’s involvement in his group’s terrorism: While on the subject of the PLO chairman, what about his periodic condemnations of murders carried out by Palestinian militants? “It’s a tactic,” says Zubeidi. About this at least, he and the Israelis,

Terrorists’ use of UN ambulances

Peter Hansen of the UNWRA asked today for an apology from Israeli Defence Minister Mofaz for what Hansen called “damaging and baseless allegations” that Palestinians used UN-supplied ambulances to spirit away Israeli soldiers’ body parts two weeks ago. Well, this intelligence site says Reuters has a video cassette of pictures taken during the Israeli army

Perils of US micromanagement

In Maariv (Hebrew ed.) on Tuesday: Prior to becoming Head of Central Command at the end of 2002, Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky served as military secretary to Prime Minister Sharon. During a meeting with an American delegation, the U.S. requested the removal of an IDF checkpoint and, despite its concerns, the prime minister’s office agreed. A

Bloggers – force for change

Good article in Online Journalism Review on the impact of blog critics such as BackSpin upon big media. Reporter Mark Glaser reviews a number of recent cases of blogs successfully critiquing major newspapers, and Jay Rosen tries to put it in perspective: “What’s clear from these cases is that news organizations will have to interact

NY Times: slanted coverage of WMDs

The New York Times issued a mea culpa on questionable reporting from Iraq — specifically, articles from over a year ago that played up ‘Saddam had WMD’ sources. The Times editorial admits the paper “was not as rigorous as it should have been” and that “we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the

The silent majority?

Mexican-American Jew Daniel Lubetzky and Palestinian Mohammad Darawshe from Nazareth conducted a massive survey of 23,000 Palestinians and 17,000 Israelis, and found that that seventy-six percent of both populations favour a two-state settlement, liberal democracy, minority rights, and mutual recognition: Lubetzky and Darawshe admitted to frustration over a lack of media attention to their project.