Why I Blog

If you followed media coverage of the recent hostilities in Lebanon, then you are probably familiar with the “fauxtography” of (ex-)Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj, and the blogosphere’s discovery and revelation of the doctored images. JPost columnist David Shamah wrote a recent article crediting the blogs for “Keeping the Big Boys Honest.”

It was the knowledge that blogs served as a means of correcting the media that drew me towards this medium in the first place. And it is no coincidence that “Little Green Footballs” took a leading role in revealing both the forged documents about George Bush’s National Guard service, and the forged photos from Reuters — because LGF invites readers to contact them with tips and information, and publishes in response to those tips. PowerLine does this as well, and also played a leading role in both of these stories.

Most members of the Charedi community who read the “regular” media would agree that its imagery with regards to Charedim is often quite close to Hajj’s photography: if not fabricated entirely, then so grotesquely exaggerated as to provide a false picture.

That is why I have, for example, been following the tragic story of Yisrael Valis so closely — not because I knew he was innocent (I suspect it now, but don’t know, and was still less certain in the beginning), but because I did know immediately that there was plenty of falsehood mixed in with whatever the truth might be. And like the readers of LGF who sent tips about the altered photos, it was tips from readers that led directly to both of my most recent posts on Valis.

We are clearly making a difference. Thousands of readers like yourself, including quite a few highly regarded Jewish intellectuals, make us a part of their week. People are learning that there is frequently another side to the story.

So on behalf of everyone at Cross-Currents, I would like to more clearly invite your letters with suggested articles to critique and/or newsworthy events on which to comment. Like Little Green Footballs, we can’t do it without you. And since our readership is nowhere near that of LGF — and will remain so, as long as the charedi community fascinates fewer people than pro-Israel Republican politics — don’t imagine someone else has seen the same article.

Please send your tips (and general comments) to [email protected].

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3 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    story of Yisrael Valis so closely

    Not that I am a frequent reader of the Israeli Hebrew Press-but I bought Fridays Yesiot Achronot and in its magazine supplement 7 Yamim there is an article about Yisrael Valis. On the merits of the case I am not an expert-but gut is not that much different from Rabbi Menken. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised either way.
    But I would like to comment about a couple of pictures:
    There is a picture of a demonstration by Chareidm in support of Mr. Valis-but one sign in English I will copy wo comment -THE ORTHODOX JEWRY DEMANDS INTERNATIONAL FORCES FOR PROTECTION FROM ‘ZIONIST OPPRESSION’
    The page before has a picture of Mr. Valis-covering his head and his wife along with what appears to be a frum Israeli policeman. In the same magazine a page before the article about Mr. Valis there is another picture with a frum Israeli policeman.
    What I am sure is that I don’t look at the State as an oppressive state towareds Jews-does anyone want to take their chances living under Hezbollah, Hamas Fatah, Iran, etc-that is Israel’s realistic choice besides the present state.

  2. Moshe says:

    Here’s the link to the thread about the article:

    Here is a link to the RAR archive of 5 jpegs with the article:

    If someone can extract them and post them for us to see, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  1. August 29, 2006

    […] A few days ago, Rabbi Menken offered his reasons for blogging, and essentially his raison d’etre for Cross-Currents. I respectfully dissent. […]

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