Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Gary Rosenblatt is Bogged Down By Bloggers

Gary Rosenblatt is Bogged Down By Bloggers

I say B'H' to bloggers like Steven I. Weiss, Luke Ford and the Jewish Whistleblower. If it wasn't for the three dedicated bloggers many stories about alleged and convicted sex offenders would go unnoticed.

Steven I. Weiss was able to expose the case of Michael Ozair.

Luke Ford was instrumental in having the voices of three survivors of Mark Gafni (AKA: Mordechai Gafni, Marc Winiarz) heard. Luke was also instrumental in telling the story of Rabbi Eleizer Eisgrau and Rabbi Yaakov Menken.

Jewish Whistleblower was instrumental in making sure the world was aware of what was really going on with the case against Rabbi Mordechai Tendler.


There's a problem with the Journalistic ethics on some of the blogs that are out there today, but I have to tell you that papers like the Jewish Week is NOT always a friend to survivors of abuse. I look at how the paper reported on the case of Mark Gafni, and then I learn from bloggers like Steven I. Weiss, Luke Ford and Jewish Whistleblower, the problem could stem from the fact that Gary Rosenblatt is a long time good friend of Rabbi Saul Berman, who is one of Gafni's strongest supporters. It also turned out that the assistant editor of the paper's sister is Naomi Marks. Another one of Gafni's supporters. Without the exposure of these facts one might believe that Gafni has done his repentance for his crimes, and all is hunky dory with the three survivors.

So read the article below, and then read the work that Steven I. Weiss, Luke Ford and the Jewish Whistleblower has done in exposing sexual abuse and assault in Jewish communities.

***********************

(04/01/2005)
Bogged Down By Bloggers
Gary Rosenblatt - Editor and Publisher
http://www.thejewishweek.com/top/editcolcontent.php3


Though I am getting used to it, I still find it disconcerting to read about myself –– and my journalistic motivations — on Internet blogs, especially because more often than not the information isn’t accurate. Various writers, often anonymous, claim to know what investigative stories I am working on, or not working on, and why, or why not, though none of them have ever asked me.

That’s not the way journalism is supposed to work, but there’s not much I can do about it. Over the years in this profession I’ve gotten thicker skin, but there are people whose lives are more private than mine whose reputations and character are maligned in these reports. They have no one to turn to in order to set the record straight, and that’s just not right. But it’s too late to turn back the clock on so-called progress as some hail the new age of “participatory journalism” represented by blogs.

Blogs, or more formally Web logs, are diaries or journals on the Internet to which others can reply, creating an instant and interactive environment. They are everywhere these days, covering politics to porn, and they have had a strong impact on journalism and journalistic ethics, or the lack thereof, as the rules of the game keep changing.

There is something very appealing about having one’s own blog. It’s easy to do, costs nothing, and before you know it, you can be sitting at home and pontificating on any and all topics for all the world to read, if people click on your site. Conservative estimates say there are at least a million Americans now with their own blogs. To be sure, there are some very thoughtful and worthwhile bloggers out there, and they tend to be the ones who identify themselves and have an expertise in and passion for the subjects they write about.

What bothers me, though, is that in this still emerging field, there is no accountability and there are no professional standards to be met. In the rush to get a story out first, the emphasis is on timeliness rather than accuracy, with seemingly little regard –– or responsibility –– for printing rumors or theories that are untrue. So people who are mentioned and maligned by an anonymous blogger have no recourse.

I wouldn’t seek legal or medical advice from an amateur attorney or physician who insisted on remaining nameless, yet there are countless people reading blogs on the Web by would-be journalists whose reports go unsubstantiated and unedited, and the results are often hurtful, damaging people’s characters and reputations.

Still, like it or not, bloggers have become an acceptable part of the media. For the first time, a number of them were given press credentials to cover the national political conventions last year, and some have written items that have led to major news stories. Most notable were the blog reports that resulted in Trent Lott’s resignation as Senate majority leader (for saying the United States would have been better off if segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948), and Dan Rather’s fall at CBS regarding documents, which turned out to be dubious, used to report on President Bush’s National Guard Service. In those and other cases, bloggers picked up on information the mainstream media downplayed or ignored, and kept the story alive.

There are a number of bloggers writing on Jewish news topics, with a special interest in which scandals are being reported, which aren’t, and why. The blogs written by people who identify themselves, some of whom are journalists, tend to be more responsible and informed, though even here the standards for reporting are based solely on the conscience and professionalism of the individual.

More upsetting are the bloggers who criticize individuals by name, make accusations against rabbis and communal leaders, but don’t have the guts to identify themselves, or bother to interview the people they write about.

One of the better known Jewish reporting blogs calls for “accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership,” a noble goal, indeed. But the “About me” area on the home page where the blogger usually posts some details about him or her self is empty. To demand full disclosure of others without identifying one’s self seems the height of chutzpah and hypocrisy to me.

There can be a productive relationship between responsible blogging and journalism. Amateur reporting and personal publishing has its place, emphasizing the grassroots qualities of accessibility and interactivity, and prodding journalists to do better and more enterprising work. But the heart of journalism is still in original reporting based on fairness and accuracy, where one is judged by one’s output.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think you do your best work if your reputation is on the line every time you write.

E-mail: Gary@jewishweek.org



14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for posting this. I think what you said is vitally important.

March 30, 2005 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to add that Luke Ford also helped expose J. Hershy Worch from several survivors including a group of people from the Hamakom Synagogue in Australia.

March 31, 2005 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just at Luke Ford's site there's links on his piece that won't transfer. Either read below or go to his site to read the following:


Gary Rosenblatt Bogged Down By Bloggers

Mr. Jewish Journalism writes in The Jewish Week:

Though I am getting used to it, I still find it disconcerting to read about myself –– and my journalistic motivations — on Internet blogs, especially because more often than not the information isn’t accurate.

I was started to feel bad for Gary until I remembered my experience with him. My time interviewing Gary might as well have been spent talking to a wood block. What's the point of accountability if you refuse to answer any question that causes you discomfort?

I gave Gary every opportunity to answer various damaging reports about him. Gary wouldn't. He wouldn't answer any tough questions. He begged off of every single one.

So excuse me if I shed no tears over his hurt feelings. Excuse me if I afford no respect to his latest cries. Excuse me if my most vivid experience with Gary is him constantly saying, I'd rather not answer that.

When push came to shove, Gary was not accountable. Read my profile of him and make up your own mind.

In case Gary forgets, here are some questions he refused to answer:

* Why did he muzzle his best investigative reporter (Larry Cohler) and refuse to publish for 18-months Larry'ss revelations about Malcolm Hoenlein's slush fund?

* Why does he refuse to publish Yossi Abramowitz?

* Why has Gary never apologized for the way he had Yossi treated when he came in with his JNF scoop?

Given the comparative magnitude of Gary's resources, the big story about him is that he, week in and week out, publishes a dull paper. And when you put your name on mediocrity, it doesn't make it anything more than mediocre. It's nothing more than Yesterday's News Tomorrow, which, more often than not, is precisely what The Jewish Week reads like if you keep up with the top Jewish blogs.

And if Jewish Whistle Blower (JWB) develops an impressive track record of accurate reporting, then his work is still sterling even if JWB doesn't put his real name on it.

March 31, 2005 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Sniff Sniff* Boo-hoo, poor Gary.

What a whinefest.

March 31, 2005 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>And if Jewish Whistle Blower (JWB) develops an impressive track record of accurate reporting...

That ain't gonna happen. JWB has been proven to be wrong again and again and again, because he's not interested in facts or fairness or the truth (he said himself he's not a journalist), only scandal-mongering and name-calling.
It would be nice if there was something with a little more restraint and intelligence doing this work, but unfortunately for the cause, he's not it.

March 31, 2005 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote:

"That ain't gonna happen. JWB has been proven to be wrong again and again and again, because he's not interested in facts or fairness or the truth (he said himself he's not a journalist), only scandal-mongering and name-calling."

To the enabler/supporter of whichever predatory scumbag you support:

There is something very satisfactory about reading your attacks on JWB; they reveal your uneasiness and possibly your own struggles with denial over whomever you're protecting.

For your own sake, here's hoping that when the day comes you simply cannot avoid facing reality one minute longer, that you'll be able to pick up the pieces and go on.

March 31, 2005 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's going to be a day that those who attack JWB and The Awareness Center will come to ask for forgiveness.

It's sad have to state the facts. The odds of someone they know and love has been or will become a survivor of sexual violence is high. They just don't realize how close to home this issue really is. This is a wake up call to them. Open yourself up enough to look around see if anyone you know were sexually assaulted as a child or an adult. Ask them what happened,and who was there to offer them support.

March 31, 2005 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke just posted on this thread:

http://bloghd.blogspot.com/2005/03/gary-rosenblatt-vs-jewishwhistleblower.html

March 31, 2005 11:10 AM  
Blogger chutzpah said...

This was posted in a comment on JWB's blog under the Wednesday 3-30 post, and too good to note share here:

"At 9:17 AM, Shimon Rosenthal said...
I know it is long, but I believe this post is worth reading.

Mr. Rosenblatt claims that bloggers are unfair and dishonest because they do not print their names. He implies that he and the rest of his print journalist colleagues are honest and fair because they posts their names on their articles. The argument is so flawed and filled with contradiction that it is difficult to know where to begin.

A journalist is fair and honest because they sign their names to their stories. But what about the stories they do not print? A print journalist can hold a story for his own interest. That is corrupt and unethical, no matter how many other stories he assigns his name to. Sins of omission are no lesser crimes or abuses of the journalistic ethic than sins of commission.

Mr. Rosenblatt for example will never write negatively about anything to do with the Federation system. Why? Because UJA NY sends free copies of the Jewish Week to all its members, thereby increasing Mr. Rosenblatt's circulation and his ad revenue far beyond anything he could dream of otherwise. So, when Mr. Rosenblatt, the dean of Jewish journalism, fails to write a story about the Federation system, but signs his name to another story, is he behaving ethically? Mr. Rosenblatt would not know of this, because he is an honorable man.

Indeed, Mr. Rosenblatt covered up a story about a tremendous government fine levied against him and the Jewish Week. Had Mr. Rosenblatt believed in reporting the news or his obligation to the community, if he were truly fair and honest, he would have printed a story to show the community what happens to those people who abuse financial systems. The New York Times put the Jason Blair fiasco front and center. Mr. Rosenblatt hid his scandal while claming to uncover others. But surely, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt's diatribe against bloggers is nothing more than a pathetic attempt by a third class journalist to pick a fight with a developing new medium.

An educated person would tell Mr. Rosenblatt that anonymously written leaflets were a tremendous part of the early newspaper business. In fact, anonymously written papers were the norm and a critical component of early political life in this country. Surely, Mr. Rosenblatt knows this, for he is an educated and honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt is more educated and honorable than Dr. Benjamin Franklin, because Dr. Franklin took to writing anonymously. Mr. Rosenblatt is a greater thinker than Thomas Jefferson, because the third president and drafter of the Declaration of Independence, wrote anonymously. Mr. Rosenblatt is more honest than Mr. Madison who, as it happens wrote anonymously. I am sure no one will argue that Mr. Rosenblatt would have made a far superior president than Abraham Lincoln who wrote anonymously. I have no doubt that the Federalist Papers were written by men of low moral character because they too were written anonymously. But don’t worry, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt also makes the false assertion that a person signing their name to something cannot be unethical, or careless with the facts. You need only read his paper to know that that is certainly nor the case. Mr. Rosenblatt cannot point to a single issue of the Jewish Week that contained no bias, agenda or false assertion. Mr. Rosenblatt also fails to note the contradiction inherent when one puts his argument against his practice. If someone who does not sign their names to something is more apt to be careless with facts and details, then why does the Jewish Week publish stories with anonymous quotes? But don’t blame him, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt suffers from an ailment common to many self righteous people of his generation. He believes that the world began the day he was born and that all was invented under his watch. He believes he can do no wrong and that it is his job to point to the failings of those who do not follow his way, professionally, religiously, philosophically or any other ly you would like. His is a special breed of arrogance and stupidity that is reserved for those who believe they are big fish because they live in an incredibly small fishbowl.

Blogging is an evolving medium, just like newspapers were once. Ethics and standards will emerge. But to dismiss someone, their facts or their opinions for omitting their names while other people do not is wrong. But then again, Mr. Rosenblatt would not know what it is like to be wrong."

March 31, 2005 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was posted in a comment on JWB's blog under the Wednesday 3-30 post, and too good to not share here:

"At 9:17 AM, Shimon Rosenthal said...
I know it is long, but I believe this post is worth reading.

Mr. Rosenblatt claims that bloggers are unfair and dishonest because they do not print their names. He implies that he and the rest of his print journalist colleagues are honest and fair because they posts their names on their articles. The argument is so flawed and filled with contradiction that it is difficult to know where to begin.

A journalist is fair and honest because they sign their names to their stories. But what about the stories they do not print? A print journalist can hold a story for his own interest. That is corrupt and unethical, no matter how many other stories he assigns his name to. Sins of omission are no lesser crimes or abuses of the journalistic ethic than sins of commission.

Mr. Rosenblatt for example will never write negatively about anything to do with the Federation system. Why? Because UJA NY sends free copies of the Jewish Week to all its members, thereby increasing Mr. Rosenblatt's circulation and his ad revenue far beyond anything he could dream of otherwise. So, when Mr. Rosenblatt, the dean of Jewish journalism, fails to write a story about the Federation system, but signs his name to another story, is he behaving ethically? Mr. Rosenblatt would not know of this, because he is an honorable man.

Indeed, Mr. Rosenblatt covered up a story about a tremendous government fine levied against him and the Jewish Week. Had Mr. Rosenblatt believed in reporting the news or his obligation to the community, if he were truly fair and honest, he would have printed a story to show the community what happens to those people who abuse financial systems. The New York Times put the Jason Blair fiasco front and center. Mr. Rosenblatt hid his scandal while claming to uncover others. But surely, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt's diatribe against bloggers is nothing more than a pathetic attempt by a third class journalist to pick a fight with a developing new medium.

An educated person would tell Mr. Rosenblatt that anonymously written leaflets were a tremendous part of the early newspaper business. In fact, anonymously written papers were the norm and a critical component of early political life in this country. Surely, Mr. Rosenblatt knows this, for he is an educated and honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt is more educated and honorable than Dr. Benjamin Franklin, because Dr. Franklin took to writing anonymously. Mr. Rosenblatt is a greater thinker than Thomas Jefferson, because the third president and drafter of the Declaration of Independence, wrote anonymously. Mr. Rosenblatt is more honest than Mr. Madison who, as it happens wrote anonymously. I am sure no one will argue that Mr. Rosenblatt would have made a far superior president than Abraham Lincoln who wrote anonymously. I have no doubt that the Federalist Papers were written by men of low moral character because they too were written anonymously. But don’t worry, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt also makes the false assertion that a person signing their name to something cannot be unethical, or careless with the facts. You need only read his paper to know that that is certainly nor the case. Mr. Rosenblatt cannot point to a single issue of the Jewish Week that contained no bias, agenda or false assertion. Mr. Rosenblatt also fails to note the contradiction inherent when one puts his argument against his practice. If someone who does not sign their names to something is more apt to be careless with facts and details, then why does the Jewish Week publish stories with anonymous quotes? But don’t blame him, Mr. Rosenblatt is an honorable man.

Mr. Rosenblatt suffers from an ailment common to many self righteous people of his generation. He believes that the world began the day he was born and that all was invented under his watch. He believes he can do no wrong and that it is his job to point to the failings of those who do not follow his way, professionally, religiously, philosophically or any other ly you would like. His is a special breed of arrogance and stupidity that is reserved for those who believe they are big fish because they live in an incredibly small fishbowl.

Blogging is an evolving medium, just like newspapers were once. Ethics and standards will emerge. But to dismiss someone, their facts or their opinions for omitting their names while other people do not is wrong. But then again, Mr. Rosenblatt would not know what it is like to be wrong."

March 31, 2005 11:35 AM  
Blogger chutzpah said...

This might be good to make as a separate posting:

"Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists and Other Sex Offenders Who They Are, How They Operate and How We Can Protect Our Children."

By Anna Salter

"The last of my favorite books is due out some time early next year, and can be obtained through Basic Books at www.basicbooks.com in 2003. ($26) Every parent, volunteer coordinator, human resources director and church and community member should read this book! The book explains how predators trick and manipulate normal people and why we aren't able to spot them. Dr. Salter offers tips on prevention for parents, lay people and organizations that focus on delivering services to children and the public. This book will help all of us do a better job of protecting our children and communities."


http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/tows_2002/tows_past_20020426_g.jhtml

April 01, 2005 6:03 PM  
Blogger chutzpah said...

Saturday, April 02, 2005
Those Amazing Anonymous Journalist Bloggers

Gary Rosenblatt over at the Jewish Week and Paul at Bloghead castigating Jewish Whistleblower for his anonymity have raised the issue of blogger anonymity. The argument has been made repeatedly that his credibility is undercut or entirely destroyed by his anonymity. Frankly I do not see this as a particularly credible argument.

Plenty of compulsive liars, for example Bill and Hillary Clinton, go by their own names. It does not interfere in any way with their chosen career of compulsive lying. People are judged by their track records and that indeed is the only way anyone can be judged, whether they give their name or not.

That my grocer has a name does not matter to me nearly so much as that I know from past experience the quality of his wares. With journalists too, it does not matter what they call themselves so long as there is a consistent name and identity along with a track record.

His critics cite accountability but what does accountability for a freelance blogger who is not doing this for commercial reasons? He has a consistent identity and that identity and his reputation is accountable. No further professional accountability is possible since his reputation is his profession. Personal accountability however is but that is not a credible argument that someone is not a legitimate reporter unless they expose themselves to personal harrassment.

Personally I do not use a name not out of fear but because I enjoy the goofy name and identity. I could just as easily use my name since really no one would care. But not all bloggers are as careless and irresponsible as me. Many have families and children who will be penalized in the schools they can go to and their reputation when it comes to Shidduchim.

Journalists who operate in the Orthodox community and live within it, particularly excluding the Modern Orthodox Community, face an environment where investigative journalism is tarred as mosering or lashon hara and where social reputation for a family is everything and where everyone knows instances of corruption but no one speaks out because leaders and Rabbanim may not be questioned.

Such an environment requires journalists who zealously expose and investigate a community from the inside, unlike the Jewish Week, for its own benefit and with the aim of reform. Its social structure also makes it increasingly likely they will have no option but anonymity. The blog is the future of Orthodox Jewish journalism. It is anonymous and it synthesizes sources and information and throws in gossip and rumor into the mix too. It opens up sources of information that were closed because no one has a face.

It is the zealot with a keyboard as his spear and zealots may get it wrong sometimes but one cannot help but see some of the corruption within orthodox communities and not think that the solution is more zealotry in combatting corruption; rather than less.

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2005/04/those-amazing-anonymous-journalist.html

April 02, 2005 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that you are trying to accomplish something here, so I will give you some advice.

Stay away from wild unsubstantiated accusations.

For example you claim that Luke Ford 'exposed' Rabbi Menken. Read carefully through the article and you will find nothing more than innuendo and juvenile name calling. There has never been an accusation that Rabbi Menken did anything wrong, there has never been a single individual who claimed that he did anything improper, but Luke tells us that since he employs some women that he must (wink, wink) be a predator.

It is for this reason that so few people take this issue seriously. The bomb throwers like Luke and Vicki ruin it for the rest of us who would like the community to wake up.

Please dont sully your blog with nonsense like this.

April 04, 2005 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Gary Rosenblatt's exposure of sexual abuse by Jewish "leaders", he is NOT innocent regarding the fashion in which he disclosed information specifically requested to be quoted anonymously. I only can speak of one incident; perhaps there are more, but when a source requests to see and approve their quote prior to print, that should be fully respected. Otherwise, the victim feels abused ONCE AGAIN! He will insist that he did not reveal the source, but if scores of people knowing the person can figure it out (which is what happened) - that's journalistic abuse. If you don't respect your sources, you find that they will not come forward when you need them, Gary.

December 21, 2006 5:38 AM  

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