Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Huffington Post: Hangout for Jew Haters

CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) has a new piece that argues what I have been for awhile now: the Huffington Post has become a hangout for anti-Semites and Israel haters. They write:
“CAMERA’s analysis of several Huffington articles and their corresponding comment threads dealing with Israel indicates that the Huffington Post is not living up to its founder’s enunciated standards. These articles generated a torrent of unsubstantiated accusations and ad-hominem attacks by what appears to be a dedicated crowd of anti-Israel commenters who seem to be on permanent alert for articles dealing with Israel. These commenters dominate the talk-back threads, using them as a forum for promoting polarizing sentiments. Name-calling and personal attacks against commenters who dissent with their views appear all too often. Accusations against Jews and Israel, popular among political fringe groups, routinely are given voice. By opening the floodgates to readership response without providing sufficient editorial oversight, the Huffington Post has allowed — and possibly encouraged — commenters to disseminate falsehoods and express their prejudices.

Controversy over the Huffington Post’s treatment of news related to Israel is not new. CAMERA reviewed copies of comment threads appearing on the site as far back as 2006 containing crude and often vile slanders against Jews and Israel. For example, a series of comments on one thread dated March 2, 2008 began with the charge "the murdering Zionist is still too blood thirsty. They are in the middle of a genocide and they are not going to stop... they consider non-jews as sub-humans." This was followed by another commenter who asserted "I think the Zionazis need to be set back 60 seems its in their blood to steal and pillage countries everywhere they go." A third commenter suggested poisoning the water supply in Israel.

In another example, outspoken pro-Israel advocate, and one-time Post blogger, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz denounced the Huffington Post for applying a double standard after it refused to publish his column supporting Israel because it contained criticisms of discredited anti-Israel academic Norman Finkelstein.”
Anyhow who frequents Huffington’s blog and reads the comments that go along with their stories on Israel won’t be surprised by this.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah. HuffPost is something else again these days. And it's not just about Israel...

LanceThruster said...

Dershowitz should complain about double standards as they often closed the comment section when he'd be getting clobbered by the commenters.

Snoopythegoon has no place to whine either as he actually doctors the comments made on his site when he's not deleting them outright.

It's the type of cowardice that runs from a fair fight.

Huffpo is far more Zionist gatekeeper than hotbed of anti-Semitism.

Roland Dodds said...

Lance, I don’t like to remove or edit comments, but my blog is not going to be a place for you to make proxy insults at Snoopy. If you want to do that, post it at your blog, but in the future I will remove comments not concerned with the piece at hand.

LanceThruster said...

Fair enough, Roland. Thanks for the warning. To a degree, I actually considered it on topic since part of Dershowitz's complaint was views not being heard. Considering the alleged victim weighed in on the topic as well I considered him fair game.

I will cease referencing him in any fashion from here on in as I have made my point regarding his M.O. (which is a factual critique, btw).

Thanks again for allowing me to air dissenting views.

TNC said...

HuffPo is worthless, whether regarding Israel, Zionism, Jews, or pretty much anything.

Mark Thompson said...

I'll confess that I don't often read HuffPo, but as far as criticisms go, this seems like somewhat weak sauce. It appears to be geared almost entirely (but for the Dershowitz point at the end) at identifying anti-semitism amongst the commenters. It also doesn't provide any kind of statistics to suggest what percentage of the comments these represent. Given HuffPo's size, etc., this article seems akin to calling Hot Air xenophobic not because of its main content but because of the blatantly anti-Mexican views of a good number of commenters.

Like I said, though, I don't often read HuffPo, so I can't say whether it has delved into anti-semitism. But as far as proof that it has done so goes, this seems like pretty weak sauce.

Roland Dodds said...

While it is surely not a scientific study, taking a look at the stories Huffington Post highlights when it comes to Israel, and few could avoid the pattern. The type of anti-Israel bias the Huff has is the type often used by its foes: simply show only negative stories pertaining to Israeli politics, while not providing any context to their reporting. It isn’t the duty of a blog like the Huff to show positive stories on Israel, but it does show where their biases are, and it then isn’t surprising that people who hate the Jews and Israel gather in their neck of the woods.

As for comments on a blog, while it is unfair to say a specific comment represents the views of its host, I find that a large swath of them often reflect the tone and ideological bent of the site in question. Since the Huff only posts negative stories that have to do with Israel, it then gives their lemmings plenty to rant about in the comments section, and those commentators often don’t have the tact of the websites main writers.

As for HotAir, I don’t read the comments at their site, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were many xenophobic or anti-Mexican immigrant comments connected to some of their pieces. I rarely see a positive ‘amnesty’ or pro- foreign labour related stories on their site.