Tuesday, January 13, 2015

HaMevaser Fails At Journalistic Ethics

Once again, the Chareidi news is in the news.

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the past about the deletion of women from pictures in some Chareidi publications.  The issue has come up yet again as HaMevaser, a paper published by MK Meir Porush, deleted the females from the picture of world leaders who assembled in Paris to protest the recent violence there.

Many people have decried the policy, asserting that it is tantamount to erasing women from history. They resort to calling the editors of the paper names such as "Taliban" or the like.  Personally, I think it's irresponsible overkill to compare the editing of pictures to the killing of people, but I do understand their feelings.

For me, however, there is a much more fundamental problem here.  While I disagree with the paper's policy, I also respect their right to have such a policy.  If they don't want to publish pictures of women, then that is their right.  It's also the right of the consumer to vote with their dollars (or shekels, as the case may be) and not purchase the paper and boycott its advertisers.

What really troubles me is these publications seem to have no sense of journalistic ethics.  We rely on the press to tell us what happened in a given place at a given time.  Implicit in that is a responsibility on the part of the press to tell the truth and to not fabricate the news, nor to alter it.  No self-respecting newspaper would edit a photograph in that manner.  The fact that they do so, and do so openly, tells me that the editors of the paper have no compunctions about altering the news to fit their theological worldview.  As such, I find it hard to understand how anyone can trust what they say.

Of course, there was a way for the paper to follow its policy vis-a-vis pictures of women AND maintain journalistic ethical standards.  That would have been to publish a different picture or simply not publish a picture at all.  It's a shame that they chose to take the very worst of the options available to them.

The Wolf

(Both pictures can be viewed here.)


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

You're missing the point, Wolf.
People who read Mevaser don't want the news. It has all sorts of things they don't want to hear, like how women aren't all evil temptresses and how not all goyim are filthy murdered and how some frum Jews are terrible criminals. They want the Chareidi version of the news in which women don't exist, all goyim are evil and all frum Jews are saintly. Frum newspapers give them that.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just write under the picture who they erased?

Ben said...

I am curious why they didn't just NOT publish a picture at all, or publish a picture that shows no women....why put the pic with the woman, then delete it?!!?

Anonymous said...

You say that we rely on the news media to give us accurate representations of events. And in general this is probably true.

But in this case, the people reading and buying the paper, I would assume, are buying it with the express intention that women are not to be in it.

They are paying and buying for a newspaper that will give them information about world events but without the images of women.

So in this case, the media is doing exactly what they're constituents want.


Anonymous said...

To clarify, I agree that it was wrong to do.

But I would argue that in this case, they aren't violating a journalistic ethic, since they are giving their customers exactly what they want and are paying to read.


Lior said...

Wolf: HaMevaser does NOT hold itself to be journalism. They simply strive to print the news on paper and distribute that paper to the heimish community to make them aware of relevant and interesting news. If you want to call them journalism and journalists, that's your prerogative. That isn't something they seek or see themselves as. Call them whatever you want. Maybe non-journalism. They don't seek nor care to meet journalistic standards or be "journalists". And that is their right.

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