Thursday, June 03, 2004

Rabbis & Journalists II

I always wonder whether it's worth the efforts to respond to other bloggers. But than I remember that blogging is all about self-promotion, so of course I should respond if someone references me (and kal ve-chomer is they challenge my Hock).

SIW (from whom I am still waiting for a R. Belsky-in-India retraction) questioned about Rabbis & Journalists. My basic assumption is that Rabbis, Roshei Yeshiva, & Poskim, tend to avoid talking to journalists unless absolutely forced. My arguement is that a journalist by virtue of his position is a persona non grata to many Rabbanim. See, for example, the NYT's article. With two notable exceptions YU Roshei Yeshiva do not speak to reporters. Now, you may claim that you are the exception and everyone from Rav Hershel Schachter to Rav Aharon Schechter speaks to you and the Forward. However, a cursory search through the Forward archives show neither of them quoted in any Forward articles. (Similar checks for R. Matisyahu Solomon, R. Malkiel Kotler, R. Belsky, shall I go on.) I could try the Jewish Week, but I don't have the patience, though if a thoughtful blogger would like to do so, I would be delighted.
As you note, some reporters are hockers, which may be true. However, once they begin publishing what they hock, Rabbis may be reticent to speak to them. Many, many, things that a Rav says, is meant to be only spoken among "friends". Once Rabbanim know that it will get out, they will be quiet, as you noted with Rabbi Ribiat's letter.
Of course, there are Hockers which have poor information & hockers with better information (as you will have to grant me that in all areas there are better and worse at any endeavor, even journalists). But people who get to know hockers, find those with good information and can discern even bad third-hand information from good third-hand information, or know where to get accurate information (from people close to the Rabbi who are not looking for lashon hara) or (among the best) will tell you the source for their information when they tell it over.
SIW makes an interested supposition: "a community cannot build its informational foundation on such poor sourcing".
I would hope that the Jewish community is not building its informational foundation on hockers, bloggers, or journalists, or Jewish newspapers. It's "informational foundation" is built on speaking to to their local Rabbi or to their friends in Shul. If you mean, how would they know what is going on elsewhere or in politics, for better or for worse, Jews have been talking and spreading rumors for thousands of years. (For example, Chakira's discussion of the meat issue very simply could be resolved by asking your Rabbi what meat one could eat.)
On your last point, I would concede that reporters should have an agenda of building trust in themselves and the media in general. However, in my personal experience, this does not appear to be the case.
Regarding the blogging/journalism debate, as Singlemaus and I pointed out earlier, blogging is a hobby. Journalism are people who work in the media. Unless you are offering me a job, then, alas, I am not a journalist.

Comments-[ comments.]


Blogger Nina Hassing said...

Please remove all links to

This link is broken under "Rav Aharon Schechter"


11:01 AM  

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