30 May 2004
HA'ARETZ is the liar of the month for May 2004 at Take-A-Pen, for its 'achievements' in Amira Hass' article "One step ahead of the bulldozer".
The title 'Liar of the month, published on our site http://www.take-a-pen.org/, is being translated into 15 languages. This is the first time the title goes to an Israeli media organ.
It is not easy to be an outstanding or #1 liar in any month in today's brutally biased media, over which we, Take-A-Pen!, maintain a constant watch in several languages.
HA'ARETZ has been a runner up for this 'title' several times in the past Many readers and media-activists have written objecting to HA'ARETZ articles which they claim frequently quote and promote unfounded and even libelous accusations and stories, without questioning their validity. Letter writers complain that by lending the prestige of 'Israel's leading newspaper' to anti-Israeli lies and libels, HA'ARETZ gives them undeserved credit and earns wider distribution for them than they would otherwise achieve, contributing greatly to the upsurge in hatred against Israel and Jewry.
Before reaching our final decision to award the title to HA'ARETZ, we scrutinized the May 14 and 21 weekend editions.. We selected three major assaults on true and responsible journalism, and sent 3 separate politely written readers' letters, supported with factual information, in order to give the newspaper a fair chance to reply.. The response we received to all three letters was NIL, indicating a lack of interest by Ha'aretz in establishing the truth by sincere self-examination.
Three instances of bad reporting in one month were bad enough, but HA'ARETZ finally won the title based on the worst of the three, a libelous lie in an article by Amira Hass: "One step ahead of the bulldozer". See the Reader's letter below that we sent to HA'ARETZ. You can judge for yourself whether the journalist and the editor did or did not their duty, fully or even partially, to check such libelous claims before publication.
To consider HA'ARETZ a liar is no fun for us, we feel very sad about it. We'd be happiest to see a change in Ha'artez's policy and see "Israel's Leading Newspaper" show a sense of balance, avoiding publication of unsubstantiated allegations, misleading headlines and staged Palestinian photographs..
We will gladly cooperate with Ha'aretz by sharing our views for comment before publishing them or, where advisable, even without publishing them. If Ha'aretz wishes to correct or comment on anything we have written we will gladly publish their submissions as we did in the case of a recent response by the Guardian newspaper of London.