The Jerusalem Post’s Ruth Eglash responds to my post

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Ruth Eglash, the journalist from The Jerusalem Post who wrote the misleading article about Jordanian blogger reaction to the Red Sea Cinema Institute. Here is what she wrote:

Natasha,

Thank you for your feedback on the article that I wrote this week regarding the opening of a film school in Jordan that will include Israeli students. I believe the project is an amazing opportunity for the whole of the Middle East and was extremely disappointed that commentators on several blogs that I visited seemed to be against the idea. My article was designed to raise that issue and counter it with positive comments from Israeli filmaker Dan Katzir. I would love to write something more positive but personal attacks on me and my journalism will not help. I simply report what I see and hear.

If, as you say, there is a large group of people in Jordan who believe in this project and believe it can work together with Israeli students then that is another good story. You and your community should send me your comments and perhaps I will do a follow up article showing that there are some people in this region willing to try. I know you are angry that I did not referrence your blog, however I was trying to show where the original comments came from and I believe that it is clear from the text that not only Arab bloggers are against the idea, there were some Israelis making negative comments too.

Regards,
Ruth Eglash

This was my reply:

Dear Ms. Eglash,

Thank you for taking time to respond to my concerns. As I mentioned in my post, there are several flaws in your article. First and foremost, you quote people in your article that are not bloggers. They are anonymous online commenters. A blogger is someone who owns and operates an online journal and not someone who leaves a comment on a blog. As a result, your story, which purports to be about the negative reactions of "Arab bloggers," is just flat wrong.

Let us play devil’s advocate here and actually examine the Jordanian bloggers’ reaction. The blogs that brought up the Red Sea Cinema Institute initiative were all supportive. As a journalist, why did you fail to note that in your article? And, though there are some negative responses in the comments, it is not hard to find positive comments as well. Look at my blog, Amin or Laith’s. As a western-trained journalist myself, I can tell you that your article is simply unbalanced and it willfully misrepresents the facts. You chose negative comments and then misrepresented them as the opinions of bloggers. I wonder why you would so deliberately misrepresent a source. I also wonder about your journalistic research when you simply select the exact same comments I noted in my post. Is that as far as you dug? Did you notice that my post showed "both" sides of the issue, highlighting my support but noting the possibility of controversy.

You indicate in your note to me that you were "disappointed" by the comments. This suggests you understand these are "comments" and that makes me wonder. You note that you "counter it with positive comments from Israeli filmaker [sic] Dan Katzir," as if he is the only source of a positive response. I see this as a personal agenda: Those "terrible" Arabs are against this initiative while "reasonable" Israelis support it. That is the subtext of your story and clearly your intent, proven by the fact that you chose Katzir for a counter but skipped the blogs you used as your source … and they were all praising it. You made not one mention of this. In closing Ms. Eglash, you chose to dredge up the negative, draft a bogus, misleading headline and paint Arabs as troublemakers. There is no journalistic integrity in this.

Regards,
Natasha Tynes

41 thoughts on “The Jerusalem Post’s Ruth Eglash responds to my post”

  1. You just don’t get it Samara. This story should have never been written. It’s either a non-story or a lie with nefarious intent.

  2. Neo-Nazi Filmmake

    Where can I go to sign up for this film school. I want to open channels of communications with jews.

    I have been making films at the The Neo-Nazi Cinema Club in Alabama and I think it’s about time I make films with people with whom I share many values.

    Any Israelis out there who want to shake hands, without preconditions? I will be waiting for your response.

    I can’t wait to make films with Israelis about the suffering of whites from colored people and jews from arabs. We all have demographic threats to deal with.

  3. Wow! Natasha, this is hardly a worthy cause to fight for. when compared to the Qatar affair, another silly cause, I am tempted to think some of us in Jordan, especially those linked to the official establishment, really need to get a sense of proportion. It’s a friggin cinema school that, is not even built, and not a nuclear reactor. Good Lord.

    Besides, Ruth is correct in her assumption. I bet if you do a survey in Jordan about zionazis joining a Jordanian film school in Jordan, you and a handful of jordanians will support this idea. Unlike some of us, the general jordanian population is still caring and deeply connected with the humanitarian situation in the region.

  4. XOXX,
    I suggest you start a blog of your own where you can write about causes that you think are worth fighting over. Meanwhile, it is better if you do not waste your precious time reading blogs that discuss what you see as frivolous matters.

    Thank you

  5. Why does everyone keep missing the point of posts?????
    I really dont get it you people. Natasha was objecting on the fact that what this journalist did was very very irresponsible journalism…I hope non of the commentators and on this post and the previous one works in Journalism cause you will all do as bad a job as Ruth.
    And right now in the middle east region as a whole we need people who really understand the meaning of objective reporting instead of people who aim to twist the facts to serve their own goals. And by this i include journalists from all the middle east area including Israel.

  6. This best way to handle this Natasha is to enable moderated posts. This you can shut out all the negative posts.

  7. There’s also the fact that the journalist lifted comments from Natasha’s blog without crediting the source – and it sounds like she even lifted stuff that Natasha herself had highlighted! Aside from any political concerns over the subject matter, this woman’s “journalism” was sloppy and violated basic rules of writing that I teach my undergraduates on a daily basis. The word “plagiarism” seems appropriate. And yet the journalist has the chutzpah to tell Natasha that “personal attacks on me and my journalism will not help.” Attacks on her as an individual are not OK, but Natasha was criticizing the quality of her journalism, which is totally legitimate.

  8. “There’s also the fact that the journalist lifted comments from Natasha’s blog without crediting the source”

    Nat, People can copyright only content they produce not content produced by others. Same thing for quotes. Comments on a blog belong to the commentators not the blogger.

  9. Matt,
    I didn’t say she’d broken any copyright laws, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t broken basic rules of politeness, not to say the generally accepted rules of her chosen profession of journalism. Sure, Natasha has no grounds for suing her, but I find it a bit hypocritical for Eglash to fail to cite a public source of information (she can’t claim to be protecting a source) and then to whinge about Natasha attacking her journalism. The fact is, Natasha identified a serious technical flaw in her journalism that seems to have contributed to a more general problem in the quality of her analysis. She’s a sloppy sensationalist and Natasha was quite right to call her on it.

  10. Hopefully now Ruth Eglash of Jerusalem Post will do a follow-up article on Arab bloggers who are pro-Peace and for co-operation between Arabs and Israelis 🙂

    I seem to remember that Jerusalem Post has Arab blogger listed on its website:LUCY WIDAAD.And they do say :We are always interested in running compelling guest bloggers on this site. If you would like to run a blog on Jpost.com or recommend a guest blogger, please contact us”

    http://info.jpost.com/C005/BlogCentral/contact.html

  11. Basboos, very well said. Whether or not one agrees with the idea of the film school, this post was about poor, sloppy journalism. Natasha, I am so proud that you are my friend. The fact that you got this so-called journalist so rattled that she had to respond to you-and your response to her-was fantastic.

  12. You are all bored, rich upper class Jordanians with nothing better to do. Eglash credited the sites the original comments came from. How does Natasha even know that they came from her blog? Anyway, if you actually read the comments made to Natasha’s furious entry then you will notice that the majority of people do NOT want a film school that includes Israelis. Go figure

  13. Kinzi you ask “Sara, and what are you doing to better your world? ”

    By fighting racism and religious extremism in all forms including Zionism, Nazims, racial supremacy, the sort of ills all decent and equality loving people must do to support peace and justice.

    Yet hear you are asking us to open our hearts and minds to jewish supremacist who view Arabs as a demographic threat and kill them daily with impunity, conjur up schemes to intice arab israelis to leave, and still don’t see anything wrong with all of that. you are a deeply troubled society Kinzi.

    Again, when you admit Skinheads and Neonazis to your films schools, to make your world better, then you can come and tells us to do the same.

  14. Kinzi you are a funny man. israel does all the killing and you ask us what we are doing to better our world. you should ask what is israel doing to better the world? assasinations? land theft? expulsions? we in jordan don’t do any of these things. so don’t you think you are asking the wrong people.

    do you even realize how offensive you sound when you lecture us about bettering our world when jordanians are peaceful people who do not invade anyone, don’t expell anyone, and don’t steal anyone’s land. you have a serious issue with objectivity. i must agree with the other posters, this shows a disturbingly distorted view of yourself and your conduct. i think you are immune to self-ciritism and self-reflection. this scares me and many others.

  15. Hi Natasha,

    Good for you for taking Ruth Eglash to task for her sloppy journalism, and what a pity that her response was so lacking in apology. As an Israeli and a blogger I was appalled by the selective, biased reporting you highlight. I would not have read or heard about the article otherwise, simply because I never read the JPost. It is not taken very seriously in Israel; native Hebrew speakers are barely aware of its existence.

    The JPost is read mostly by English speakers who think Haaretz is too left wing for their tastes, and at the foreign press (who do not take it very seriously either). There are a couple of good reporters working for the JPost, but unfortunately their voices tend to get lost in the cacophony of mediocrity.

  16. ATTENTION ISRAELIS WHO WANT “PEACE”

    Today, the most critical issue facing Jordan is the palestinian refugees. This is a problem you have created for us and we continue to grabble with it. with your West Bank seperation wall and checkpoints and embargoos, the problme is getting worse for Jordan.

    Why in the world should we jordanians welcome you and make peace with you when you have created the most dangerous problem for us.

    I will borrow another blogger’s term to describe your attempts to establish contact with jordanian. you want a cheap peace, a no-commitment, no-responsibilty, no-ethical standards peace. You dump on us and the lebanese and after you slaugter hundeds of them you show up the next day with an extended hand and nothing else.

    While we deal with instabilty you have created for us, you want to exploit jordan to break into the wider Arab markerts (QIZ ring a bell?) with your products, and we get nothing but bad press for all the exploitation that takes place is the QIZ and a serious refugee population issue.

    Fact is, for the average jordanian, Israel has been nothing bad bad news.

    and you come and lecture us about peace and love and a better world. how twisted of you.

  17. Go Natasha! Jpost, btw, really bites. It used to be a very good paper and was well-respected but in recent years the level of journalism has been reduced to practically nil (think that happened when its budget had the same fate and the good journalists left it pretty much en masse) and very few Israelis bother to read it –it still rides on its previous laurels in the rest of the world but that is rapidly changing since Ha’aretz and Ynet put up online english editions.

  18. Yousef, I am sorry to have offended you and scared you and ‘many other commenters’. Did that one sentence provoke your comment or have you read other comments you didn’t like?

    You pulled a lot about me out of that one sentence, let me correct you. I am not a guy, but a middle-aged American mom who has lived in Jordan a long time. I’m a writer too, who spends a lot of time trying to explain to uninformed Americans (including elected officials) the damage that Israel has done and continues to do.

    One of the other things I do is help Palestinian refugee women in a microenterprise of creativity so they can feed their families and have the dignity of being self-sufficient. Helping refugees has been my work for 20 years now. And you, what are you doing?

    Shutting down the whole concept of this film school before a single student has entered is the kind of negative thinking that keeps progress from happening. I believe putting artists together helps overcome problems.

    I only ask Sara this because of her blanket condemnation of rich Jordanians. There ARE too many that sit n Starbucks and complain about the Palestinian refugee camps in view below…but Natasha isn’t one of them. And there are plenty of less wealthy people who sit around doing nothing but complain as well.

    Incidently my first post on this thread was encouraging JP bloggers to stand against this woman’s uninformed slander of Jordanians…mis-using comments to promote her anti-Arab agenda. I bet that surprises you. Peace.

  19. Kinizi you say “Shutting down the whole concept of this film school before a single student has entered”

    so these are the options Jordanians have to contend with: either open a film school in jordan and admit supremacist jews or jordan does not get a film schoo. Well screw this trade off. Donors can shove their money somewhere else if we always have to be subjected to this racist blackmail.

    “One of the other things I do is help Palestinian refugee women in a microenterprise of creativity so they can feed their families and have the dignity of being self-sufficient.”

    How nice. You give the jews palestinian territory, cover their murders and stand silent in the face of expulsions, and reward them with 5 billion dollars in aid a year, and you give the expelled palestinian arabs “microenterprise”. That pretty much says it all bout america’s fairness vis a vis jews and arabs. You OWE those palestinains much more for the horrific injustice you have committed, defended, and funded against them.

    Kinzi, this question has been asked many times to filter supremacists from decent peopel. You can say all sorts of touchy feely things and that would not be worth a dime. The real question is do you accept, without ifs thens or buts, that Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to jews and non-jews including palestinains which stipulates: “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

    If you can’t say yes, you are a supremacist and this discussion is over.

  20. I struggle with whether I should comment or not, but my anger gets the better of me sometimes. To all those negative commenters… you bunch of cynical idiots! Jordan is going to have a film school under the guidance of USC’s school of cinema. This is a dream come true. This is something amazing for the future voices of Arab cinema. Focus on that you idiots! Focus on the results of that you stupid angry ignorant imbiciles. Your regressive views block your vision of the potential for Arab filmmakers. It’s pointless to argue with these people, Natasha and Kinzi. They will continue to search for something to be angry about and feel sorry for themselves. It’s really pointless.

  21. Amin, you uselfish, self-absorbed, shallow sorry excuse of a director. all you think about is fun and films and try to pass that as some sort of a great fight for peace. peace is justice, you are the personification of the 3 monkeys. but i guess with your camera, you are the 4th who films no evil.

    I dedicate to you this song, customized to fit your mentality, from the words of the great Cindy Lauper:

    That’s all he really want
    Some fun
    When the filming day is done
    Amin– he wants to have fun
    Oh Amin just wants to have fun

    Man, you are no hero for justice, you are an opportunist of the finest caliber.

  22. Jealousy and envy reign supreme on these pages as of late, filling the subtext of many comments. Jealousy and envy are a dangerous thing.

  23. “ealousy and envy reign supreme on these pages as of late”

    The Infrormer, Are you a high school student? let me exlain it in simple terms.

    Think of this situation like having a cool Nokia N80 and Shlomo takes it away from you and you get like totally bumed out dude. yeahhh man! so they tell you to chill out dude and you like “i want my nokia dude” and the dudes say “no way dude…you can have the nokia 1100” and you say “dudes…this is so not cool…like if it were your nokia like and i take it away from you…you know…would you…like…take back a nokia 1100 instead …and they say no dude but that’s all your gonna get.” and you get so full of envy and some total bum comes along and says to you “dude…what’s the big deal…just take the friggin 1100 and go home…you are making so much noise and its like brining everyone down.”

    I hope this explains the envy part.

  24. NNN, it’s voices like yours that scare Westeners away from pushing for a Palestinian right to return. I support it in spite of you. Go find my name yourself on the MidEast Calm on-line petition, but I reject your authority as my judge and jury. BTW, I haven’t paid US taxes for twenty years…it’s not my money funding Israel.

    Thanks Amin…thanks to you, Hollywood WON’T be pumping out as many anti-Arab anti-Muslim films anymore. NNN will just continue spewing hate. I’m done now.

  25. Kinzi, like many other zionists before you, you either bud out or change the subject. I am not the one on trial here. I accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights lock, stock, and barrel. Don’t change the subject

    Here is me agains “spewing hate” as you say (which is very consistent with US and Israel’s interpertation of Moderates vs Extremists”

    The real question REMAINS do you accept, without ifs thens or buts, that Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to jews and non-jews alike including palestinains which stipulates: “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

    How is that for spewing hate. Your non-response and evasion is the HATE. because only a racial supremacist refuses to support the UNDHR (which you call hate speech)

    ANOTHER WISHY WASHY ANSWER OR ANOTHER DIVERSION AND YOU ARE NOHTING BUT A SUPREMACIST JEW OR CHRISTIAN ZIONIST.

  26. Opps. Sorry Kinzi. I missed your reply about accepting the right of returm. ignore last post 🙁

    proceeding to insert foot in mouth.

  27. Amin, Feel sorry for yourself Amin. You believe in nothing but yourself. But that usually does not bother me since it’s not for me to tell anyone how to live his life and what to believe in.

    But what is offensive is when the likes of you try to portray your indifference and selfishness as some act of peacemaking and sacrifice, and to portray those who care as some rejections, extremists. How ironic when your “sacrifices” seem to always put you in the good graces of the rich and strong. How convenient.

    You should try to articulate your views without slinging mud on those who have opposite views. This discussion could have ended long time ago if you did not try to position yourself as the Peace Man and others as extreme, negative, hateful

    There is nothing wrong with promoting your career in Hollywood but when you try to climb on my shoulders to impress your future bosses that’s when you at your worst…an opportunist of the finest caliber.

  28. Ya habibi, I don’t need your shoulders to climb on. I’m sorry that you see yourself as a victim of my self-absorbed opportunism. Because that’s what I do. I take opportunities of accusing people of being cynics. That’s right. That’s how I’ve paved my way to where I am in my life. This is retarded. I’m not participating in this silliness.

  29. “I don’t need your shoulders to climb on. ”

    but you already did Amin. the good moderate arab in a face off with the bad extremist arab. LETS SUPPORT THE MODERATE OR THE EXTREMISTS WILL WIN. old trick but seems to work still.

  30. MMM or NNN, apology accepted. It takes alot to ask forgiveness, I had forgiven you already and prayed for God to bless you.

    BTW, I USED to be a Christian Zionist. Then I met Palestinians, now I am simply a Christian attempting to live out the command to “Do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God”.

  31. HI PEACE LOVING JORDANIANS!!!

    I am Shlomo the IDF soldier and next to me my friend Glad. Today we have kille two arabs, NOT ON THE BATTLE FRONT mano a mano but Tanko a Mano. The way we prefer it.

    We will be submitting our applicaton forms soon for your wonderful film school. We want peace so you will have to forgive us our indescritions from time to time. what’s a few murdered arabs. we can get over that. Of course if you ever kill two Israeli militants, we will do the same to you as we did to Lebanon. first we kill your women, then children, with the extra bombs we will take a few bridges out. Can’t we just get along. Look forward to my first day in class and to make peace with arabs, whom we respect a lot.

    With kisses
    Shlomo & Gilad
    IDF

    BBC NEWS: Two Palestinians killed by Israel

    The Israeli army has killed two Palestinians in separate incidents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medics said a 14-year-old boy was killed in northern Gaza. Israel said it killed a Palestinian retrieving a rocket launcher.

    In the second incident, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian they said was trying to stab them at a checkpoint close to the West Bank city of Nablus. But Palestinian witnesses said the 20-year-old victim was unarmed.

    Israel launched an offensive against militants in Gaza after Palestinian gunmen seized a soldier in a cross-border raid from the strip on June 25. Around 225 Palestinians, half of them civilians, have been killed in the offensive in the impoverished strip. Israel has also been carrying out military strikes to try to stop gunmen firing homemade rockets at Israeli towns and villages near the border with Gaza.

    Story from BBC NEWS: Published: 2006/10/09 16:23:51 GMT © BBC MMVI

  32. Yep, this was indeed one piece of sloppy journalism.
    Not only did they fail to credit their source, but the story was pretty much bogus as well. It was far easier to get away with this kind of work before the internet and blogosphere came along, me thinks.

    As someone viewing this whole conflict from outside (although it concerns us here in Norway too), what frightens me is the obvious dehumanization.

    Failing to see that the people living within your “enemy state” are individual humans too is the most common way of excusing violence and abuse of innocent people. Of course it´s not exclusive to this conflict – not at all. But it´s still frightening and sad to observe.

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