Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bad Journalism: Jerusalm Post Claims Year-Old Religious Freedom Report as New

The Jerusalem Post, a usually respectable newspaper, has published an article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) about a new international religious freedom report released by the United States State Department yesterday which, the Post says, puts Israel in the same category as such horrible violators of religious freedom as Sudan, China and Afghanistan. The less respectable settler media outlet Arutz Sheva says the same thing.

Yes, the State Department has placed Israel in the same category as rights violators in one of its reports, and yes, it published a new report yesterday. The problem is, that contrary to the claims of Arutz Sheva and the JTA, the former and the latter are two different reports. They claim yesterday's report is about 2009, but they both link to the document released in October 2009 which covers July 2008 to June 2009, not the one released in November 2010 and covering July 2009 to June 2010.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that today's Arutz Sheva article links to its own report from last year. So two years in a row Arutz Sheva discusses the same document (the 2009 report), the only difference being that last year they only looked at the section about Israel, rather than the executive summary, so they missed the awful category Israel was put in. This year, though, we aren't in that category anymore (and rightfully so). It is kind of odd to bash a year-old report for something that has already been corrected in the newest edition.

I think someone was sloppy. A JTA reporter looked for yesterday's report and found the one from last year, and without double-checking, reported it as new. Then the Jerusalem Post printed the article, and Arutz Sheva copied it as well (either that, or this idiotic mistake happened twice). Now the blogosphere is full of enraged posts about the so-called new report about how Israel is being likened to Iran and Afghanistan. Chill out, fellow bloggers, we're not in the Heinous Violators category anymore!

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