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Washington Post Refuses to Correct Error on Israel

Written by Eric Rozenman

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April 16, 2008
Eric Rozenman

The Washington Post claims that it is "committed to correcting errors" that appear in the newspaper. Not always, including errors that mislead readers about basic Israeli policy and actions.
 
CAMERA published an advertisement (see below) in the April 10 editions of The Washington Times, a major daily, and the Washington Jewish Week, highlighting one particularly obvious example The Post refused to correct.

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Contrary to Post assertions, thousands of Israeli Arabs have served in the Israeli army.  Post denial of and refusal to correct this and other basic errors contradicts not only its own stated policy, but also the Code of Ethics of the Society for Professional Journalists (at www.spj.org).

The code, among other things, urges journalists to "be accountable." Accountably requires the press to "admit mistakes and correct them promptly."
 
The Post currently also has refused to correct, among other basic errors of commission about Israel and the Arabs, assertions that the Gaza Strip is "one of the world's most densely populated places" (not even close - at approximately 9,500 people per square
mile it is not significantly more densely populated than Washington, D.C.) and that the 33-day war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 was Israel's longest (Israel's War of Independence lasted from late 1947 to early 1949, and even with truces included more than 90 days of active combat).
 
Whatever the reason for such behavior by The Washington Post, it is - like fundamental errors of omission including nearly three years of almost total failure to cover from the scene and in detail life under siege in Sderot and surrounding communities - more bullheaded than professional. And it's certainly not accurate. 
 




Action Item: Write Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Copy Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and Managing Editor Philip Bennett, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Politely remind them that timely publication of corrections is not a favor but a professional obligation, one necessary to ensuring accuracy and credibility. 
  
Eric Rozenman
Washington Director
www.camera.org

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