Today, the media took a few more whacks at the pinata that is the Anat Kam-Uri Blau story and all the goodies are about to drop. The Independent published its second story on the affair and reported that Haaretz was negotiating with Israeli authorities for Blau’s return from exile. Interestingly while the first Independent story was written by Donald McIntyre and bylined in Israel, the second was written by a Britain-based reporter. I’m guessing that this means that McIntyre no longer felt able to resist the gag order that usually affects all Israel-based reporters. I’m glad to see that this attempt by Israel to suppress the story was resisted by Independent editors in London.
Perhaps the biggest hit came from AP which broke the story with a long piece covering the major details though it didn’t break any new ground. There is one egregious error which a commenter has noted here today and which makes me steamed:
The U.S.-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which is not subject to the gag order, first reported the story earlier this week.
Ah, no. The U.S.-based blog Tikun Olam first reported the story over two weeks ago and Ron Kampeas in his JTA story even acknowledges the role I played. You remember Rodney Dangerfield? “I just don’t get no respect.” A rhetorical question: why is it that the MSM believes that a story isn’t a story until one of their brethren report it? And why are blogs considered lower form of journalistic life, even if they are the ones who break a major story like this? Well, at least we know who broke it, right?
I wrote to AP asking them to correct their attribution. In which lifetime do you think it’ll happen?
In The Independent story I’ve become “Jewish blogs,” and it makes me feel that I “encompass multitudes:”
The move to gag Israel-based media has sparked fevered debate on Jewish blogs, which have freely reported the story. Bloggers have railed against the blackout, saying it represents a critical challenge to the freedom of the press.
Idan Landau is one of the first Israeli bloggers to write about this. He jokingly asked his readers to destroy the blog post when they were done reading it. We had a nice exchange earlier today and I told him I hope I don’t find that tomorrow he’s gone off on holiday to Hong Kong or London (like Uri Blau). He’s actually in Santa Cruz, CA. and so safe from the eye of the military censor (though his blog is hosted in Israel I believe and if people can disappear in Israel at the hands of the Shin Bet, so can blogs I guess).
There are a lot of good folk who contributed to my knowledge about this affair and did so with fortitude. The Israelis I think it prudent at this point not to acknowledge individually but they know who they are. Sol Salbe first made me aware of the story and Avner Cohen not only provided information, he helped me avoid some rather large mistakes. George Hale at Maan was selfless in sharing his information over the past few days.
There are a number of journalists and editors who I’d like to single out for refusing to play any role when I asked them to, but that would be rather churlish, wouldn’t it? The next time someone tells you journalism is all about the scoop, tell ’em they’re wrong. For some reason, some scoops are too hot to handle.