Monday, March 07, 2005

Maybe the Times really does hate us?

On Friday, the New York Times ran an article, by Debra Nussbaum Cohen, on religious blogging, and I must confess, I found it offensive that the one Jewish blog they chose to highlight is a blog that's been updated just 9 times in the last six weeks.

This is no reflection on Aidel Maidel, who is a great Jewish blogger, and a wonderful writer. But, please, let's be honest: She hasn't written anything of substance in weeks, and it's been even longer since we had a legitimate Aidel Maidel post to enjoy.

Why represent Jewish blogging with a blog that is all but inactive? The choice suggests that Jews don't take blogging very seriously, that, unlike the other religious blogs cited, we lack the time or the talent to post regularly, that while others religious groups are busy "Track[ing] questions, answers and minutiae on blogs," we Jews move more slowly.

The fault doesn't lie directly with the Times, of course. It must be shared with their reporter Debra Nussbaum Cohen.

Debra and Aidel, you see, have a history. The last time Cohen visited Jewish blogging, in a Jewish Week article from July, 2004, that article also started and finished with Aidel. In fact, the article was so Aidel-centric, Aidel herself offered an apology.

In 2004, though, Cohen's choice made sense. Aidel was hot. She was posting regulary, and her blog was lively and interesting. Now, that's no longer true. Yet, Cohen still considers Aidel the face of Jewish blogging. We, therefore, have reason to ask: did Cohen simply go back to her old notes, and rework an old article - without stopping to consider that the subject was out of date? Or, is the reporter simply blinded by her infatuation with the nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn?

In either case, there's enough blame to go around: The Time's editors and fact checkers have an obligation to protect their readers - and the subject of their articles - from a reporter's reluctance to properly research her subject.