May 9, 2002
Jews and the Times
At the end of the panel discussion that took place at Temple Beth Am on Sunday, April 28, Los Angeles Times senior editor David Lauter said that the way to reach (and possibly affect) the Times with one's concerns would be to call the special office that has been set up for such concerns (Jamie Gold), or to write brief notes telling the staff what they might have missed in their reporting.
He criticized standwithus.com for putting together a lengthy report that would undoubtedly go on a shelf. He must not have realized that many of the standwithus.com board members and general members have spent collective hours on the phone with Gold expressing our concerns. Standwithus.com has received copies of hundreds, if not thousands of unhappy letters pleading with the Los Angeles Times to watch their adjectives, to consider their misleading headlines, and to offer fuller stories that would show both sides of a tricky situation. We tried all those "ways" to reach the Times to no avail. In addition, we are also aware that multiple meetings have already taken place with the Los Angeles Times and concerned leaders within the Jewish community. Also, to no avail.
It was for these reasons that the standwithus.com board of directors made it a priority to designate a media committee to do an extensive study of the publication. We feel we were completely justified in doing the study, based upon having tried all other possible ways with which to communicate to Los Angeles Times staff.
We stand by our study, and feel we have represented the thinking of thousands of Jews and Christians who have been too often offended by the reporting of the L.A. Times since the beginning of this intifada.
Roz Rothstein, Los Angeles
It was heartening to see The Jewish Journal play a leadership role in publicizing the concerns of the Jewish community with the bias of the Los Angeles Times in covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ("Why Some Jews Hate the L.A. Times," May 3). National Public Radio (NPR) is an even more egregious example of media bias. NPR bans the use of the word "terrorist" to describe suicide bombers and gunmen who intentionally murder Israeli children. I hope The Jewish Journal will ask NPR to explain its positions as you have so effectively done in the case of the Times.
Sheldon Friedlander, Los Angeles
I don't know what's sadder about The Jewish Journal's cover story on Debra Messing (May 3). On the one hand, there's a gushing tribute to her screen persona, Grace Adler, described as "hip" and "strong," when week in and week out she portrays a confused, insecure young woman in various states of comic despair who hasn't made an intelligent choice about her own life since the pilot episode. Then there's the real life Messing.
Messing is a beautiful and talented actor. More than anything though, the article ironically points out that in an industry dominated by Jews, in which many hip and strong Jewish women work, there just aren't any such characters to talk about, much less, any portrayed by women whose charitable priorities might include a Jewish institution.
Mitch Paradise, Los Angeles
To the readers who compared the caricature of Yasser Arafat (April 19) to the anti-Semitic caricaturing of a whole religion or race of innocent people as the Nazis did: Did you also write letters to the Los Angeles Times when Sharon was caricatured in its pages? Do you get upset when Bush is caricatured?
The caricatures of the Nazis demonized all Jews. The caricature on the cover of The Journal depicted the ugliness of a particular individual. It did not demonize Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, only Arafat.
Mal Cohen, Woodland Hills
The April 26 article, "Sunday in the Park," stated that "Hana Zafrani did brisk business selling hand-crafted jewelry and sculptures by Israeli artists." However, Zafrani, as well as, Rachel Gorodenzik design and make the jewelry.