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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 Jan. 2, 2014/ 1 Shevat, 5774

Four New Year's resolutions for the press

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I have been in almost constant practice as a journalist since the year 1899," wrote H. L. Mencken in the spring of 1920. He had "held every editorial job that newspapers have to offer, from that of drama critic to that of editor-in-chief," and the experience had convinced him that the news business wasn't as bad as its harshest detractors claimed - it was worse.

"The average American newspaper, even of the so-called better sort, is devious, hypocritical, disingenuous, deceitful, pharisaical, pecksnif?an, fraudulent, knavish, slippery, unscrupulous, per?dious, lewd, and dishonest." He would be hard-pressed, Mencken said, to name five papers that conducted themselves as fairly and honestly "as the average nail factory."

If Mencken were alive today, would his opinion of the news business be less pungent? My guess is it would be even more so. The journalistic sins and scams he was blasting a century ago are still being committed, only now the perps are more likely to have Ivy League degrees and to regard their occupation as a lofty profession. Newspapers still need to attract customers - i.e., readers - and readers still respond to journalism that plays on their emotions and aversions. "At bottom, the business is quite simple," Mencken wrote. Get readers into a lather over some outrage or peril or bugaboo, then direct their attention to simple-sounding solutions that "make no draft upon the higher cerebral centers."

Rings a bell, doesn't it? The Sage of Baltimore may have died long before our era's media convulsions over gun control or climate change or debt-ceiling "terrorism." But he had their number back in the 1920s.



Still, where there's life, there's hope. A healthy cynicism about the news business is always advisable, but that doesn't mean bad media habits can never be broken. After all, plenty of things about American life are better today than they were when Mencken reigned. So amid all the ways in which the arrival of 2014 is inspiring pledges of self-improvement, allow me to suggest four New Year's resolutions for the mainstream news media.

1. Stop pretending to be neutral. Of course journalists have political opinions and ideological leanings; anyone whose job involves closely following public controversies and partisan battles is bound to have strong views about them. Invariably those strong views are going to color the news - all the more so when newsrooms are dominated by journalists who lean to the left. (Or, in the case of Fox News, to the right.) The ideal of perfectly objective news coverage sounds admirable. But it's hard to play a story straight down the middle when your ideological passions affect the way that story is framed. News organizations should be candid about their biases, and drop the pretense that they don't take sides.

The news media relentlessly played up the racial angle in the killing of Trayvon Martin (right). It rarely shows such zeal in cases of black-on-white homicide, like the murder of Christopher Lane (left) by three "bored" teenagers in Oklahoma a few months later.

2. Don't omit victims from stories about punishing murderers. The penalty for murder is frequently in the headlines - during debates over capital punishment, for example, or when a high court decides whether teenage murderer may be sentenced to life, or when terrorists with blood on their hands are set free in a prisoner exhange. Too often when the story is the fate of the killers, the fate of those they killed gets downplayed in the coverage. It should be a standing rule that no story about punishing murderers ever neglects to mention the victims high up in the reporting.

3. Either skin color really matters, or really doesn't: Make a decision. When George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the fact that the latter was black and the former was not became an obsessive factor in the mainstream media's relentless coverage. Yet when Australian athlete Christopher Lane was gunned down in Oklahoma by three teens - two of them black - because they were "bored," the story barely made the media radar screen. The racial angle was played up in the Zimmerman case with a five-alarm zeal rarely displayed in cases of black-on-white homicide. In cases of interracial violence, should we presume that race was the key factor, or shouldn't we? The answer can't be "yes" only when the victim is nonwhite.

4. Detoxify the comment sections. Why do media outlets tolerate the pollution of their websites with poisonous comments from anonymous posters? Feedback from readers is a fine thing; and a rollicking comment section can greatly enrich the experience of following the news. But editors enforce standards of taste and tone when they publish letters to the editor. They should be similarly concerned about the taste and tone of the comment forums they provide. As public discourse grows ever more bitter, this is one way that news sites can refuse to enable the ugliness.

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.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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