Monday, May 09, 2011

Some notes on the chilul hashem heard round the world.

Over the weekend that was, I had the opportunity to discuss Der Tzitung and their decision to remove Hillary Clinton from the famous situation room photo. I met with three types of responses.

As I noted last week, the photoshopping of the photo is a fabrication of history (geneivat daas) an insult to a high ranking official and something likely to breed anti-Semitism (eiva) Most people agreed with me and left it that. Some however, agreed with me, but because they have a pathological and irrational hatred for all things DovBear, still criticized me for commenting on the paper's error. Their logic was something like, "Yes the paper did something wrong, but because DovBear is such a Charedi basher* we're going to defend or run interference for the paper." Sad, pathetic, but true.

*I'm not actually a Charedi basher, as regular readers know. Sure, I disagree with specific Charedi practices, policies and superstitions, but I also disagree with various M.O practices, policies and superstitions such the idea that Israel is always right no matter what. The claim that I bash Charedim, like so many of the things that pathological and irrational DovBear haters say, is easily proven false. 

The other interesting response came from hard-core hasidim, who defended what the paper did on the grounds of free speech or by claiming that the paper has a right to respect its audience's sensibilities. Unfortunately, free speech does not give you permission to violate a photo's terms of use, nor does free speech trump Jewish values such as avoiding lies and situations that create eiva. Also, the audience's sensibilities could have been respected simply by refusing to publish the photo. If Der Tzitung had done that, no one would have complained.

Some of the people who defended Der Tzitung also claimed that the paper did not create any eiva. Said @unclechaim "not a single non jew cares...only a few holier than thou yids like you, with an anti chareidi agenda..."  A simple google search (performed by @yshollander) shows the truth (see the results after the jump.)

Finally, the media seems to be crediting Failed Messiah with uncovering this scandal, which is odd for two reasons. First, Failed Messiah itself credited Critical Minyan. Doesn't the media have an obligation to recognize this? Second, a blog called Circus Tent is claiming to have broken the story (though the blogger says he's glad his name wasn't associated with the ensuing chilul hashem). Though I do think the newspapers should have mentioned that FM himself credits Critical Minyan, they have no obligation to search the Internet to see who found the photo manipulation first.

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