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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 Nov. 8, 2007 / 27 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

Is fake news now the standard?

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 'Pat Philbin, the man who staged a fake FEMA news conference on the California wildfires last week, has lost his promotion because of the event, which begs the question: What does it actually take to get fired from FEMA?" That was the lead story on the latest installment of Weekend Update, the faux news broadcast on "Saturday Night Live."


Something bothered me about this, and not just Amy Poehler's misuse of the phrase "beg the question." Nor was it the idea that FEMA's staged news conference was scandalous simply because reporters, listening by phone, weren't able to ask questions while FEMA bureaucrats lobbed "fake" questions. There's no such thing as fake questions, after all, only fake answers. Was FEMA's fabrication any more fraudulent than, say, press releases written like real news stories?


Yes, FEMA's fakery was foolish. But — and here's what really bugs me — what isn't in the TV news business these days?


Poehler, for instance, was co-anchoring a fake news broadcast denouncing a fake news conference. All the while, the guest host of "Saturday Night Live" was NBC's real news anchor, Brian Williams.


Or take Stephen Colbert, host of a fake cable news show, "The Colbert Report," itself a spinoff from the fake newscast "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Colbert was recently a guest on "Meet the Press" — the Thunderdome of real news — as he was trying to mount a bogus campaign for president (abandoned Monday). Colbert stayed in character. So did Tim Russert, grilling Colbert as if he were a real candidate, of sorts.


The exchange vexed Ana Marie Cox, Washington editor of Time.com, who rightly ridiculed the stunt as "painfully so-ironic-it-was-unironic." Cox has a good ear for such things: Her own meteoric rise started with her tenure as the founding Wonkette blogger, where she mocked newsmakers the way robots mocked bad movies on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Cox sized up the Colbert-Russert show as cringe-worthy — bad journalism because it was bad entertainment.


Williams fared better at "Saturday Night Live," successfully showing off his lighter side. But, as with Russert's stunt, it was another naked attempt by NBC to lure younger viewers back to real news. Indeed, while the network news broadcasts are sustained by the consumers of denture cream, adult diapers and pharmacological marital aides, it's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" that have a grip on the hip, iPhone crowd. And plenty of those younger viewers seem to believe that they can deduce what's going on in the real world from jokes on a fake newscast. It's no longer funny because it's true. It's true because it's funny.


Now that's begging the question.


The problem of parsing fact from fiction, news from entertainment, has been inherent to broadcast journalism from the beginning. Radio newsman Walter Winchell got his start in vaudeville. But in the modern era, I blame "Murphy Brown," the show about a fictional TV newswoman who talked about real newsmakers as if they were characters on her sitcom. When Brown had a baby out of wedlock, Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the writers of the show. Liberals then reacted as though Quayle had insulted a real person. Ever since, journalists and politicians have been playing themselves in movies and TV series, perhaps trying to disprove the cliche that Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.


TV news is, and always has been, the shallowest branch of journalism. This is why TV journalism in particular operates like a trade guild — not because it's so hard to do but because it's so easy. (The Brits more forthrightly call their TV anchors "news readers.") For instance, in 2000, Sam Donaldson led a successful internal revolt over a plan to have Leonardo DiCaprio interview President Clinton for ABC News. The essence of the complaint was that viewers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between DiCaprio and a "real" TV reporter. Let's face it, that's true. Even DiCaprio can read questions off an index card or TelePrompTer.


"Yes, it's a changed business," Donaldson said at the time, "and we ought to recognize that. But we also all have to recognize that we have to do things according to the standards that will help us retain our credibility."


I think Donaldson was right, but I also don't mind that TV news is trying to be relevant to viewers not on the AARP's mailing list. What I find dismaying is that "relevance" is literally coming at the expense of reality.

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