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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 10, 2008 / 3 Adar II 5768

Camera is all too candid in the Internet age

By Mitch Albom


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Two weeks back, it was a dog being thrown into a ditch. Last week, it was a toddler being sprayed at a car wash.


This week, who knows?


I am talking about the now almost-daily phenomenon in which an Internet video circles the world, prompting outrage, scorn, even death threats — before anyone knows the real story.


Let's begin with the dog.


Recently, someone somewhere posted a video of two soldiers, apparently in Iraq, dressed in full combat gear, looking into the camera as one holds up a puppy. They coo "cute little puppy." Then the soldier flings the dog off a cliff. You hear a yapping sound, then the animal lands with a thud. The second soldier says, "That was mean."


End of video.


Now, I have no idea if the dog is real, fake, alive or dead. It looks real. But this is not high quality footage. Nonetheless, it was posted, and the doggie poo hit the fan.


Someone figured out who the flinging soldier was and the address and phone number of his family was put on the Web. The family reportedly was harassed with calls and threats, the Marines had to issue a statement, animals rights groups issued statements, cyberspace burned with angry denouncements of soldiers, Americans in general, our foreign policy in Iraq, you name it.


A 15-second video.

AN INCIDENT AT THE CAR WASH
Then came the car wash. Perhaps you've seen this one. A surveillance camera catches a mother in an Orlando car wash, using the portable pressure hose to spray her young daughter intermittently, while yelling at her. She sprays her. Yells. Sprays some more. The little girl appears to be crying, but again, it's a blurry surveillance camera. Things are not clear.


But they were clear enough for the Internet, which exploded. Viewers wanted the woman charged and arrested, the child taken away. TV stations ran stories. Police investigated. In the end, the woman actually called in on her own — after seeing the video on her local news — and invited authorities to her home, where they discovered, according to news reports, no physical injuries to the child. The mother admitted what she had done, said she hadn't done it before, and said she had been disciplining the child who had become unruly.


Nonetheless, as of this writing, she still could be charged with child abuse. And there is no cooling off the heated self-righteousness cyberspacers, who want the child removed from her mother right away.


Meanwhile, the video can be seen — for your scorn or your amusement — on more Web sites than you could count.

WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DOING
Now, I am not condoning either act — not the dog fling, not the hosing. Neither was smart or necessary. Both seem cold, cruel, even deplorable.


But I wonder where we are going when every moment of every life is filmed. When people are caught in ugly acts by cameras — and when people stage ugly acts for cameras. Human beings probably were not behaving much differently 20 years ago. But everything is on tape or video now. It's Big Brother in nickel-sized lenses.


Is the world a better place when the worst of us can be viewed on a regular basis? What about the mother who slaps her child at the grocery store? Or the guy who kicks a dog at a family picnic? Done at home, these may be negative acts, but they are private. Done where there are cameras, they can be shown around the world.


Maybe you think this is good. Maybe you think the threat of exposure will make people behave better. I don't. I worry when the world wants to weigh in on snips of video. I worry about the bad habit of hasty judgment. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a story may require 100,000 words.


Two weeks back, it was a dog. Last week, a wet toddler. But if next week it's you, you may want to tell your side of the story, only to find your 15 seconds are up.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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