Above the fold

In my many years working as the editor or reporter on newspapers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and most recently as editor/publisher of The Jewish Transcript, I am shocked — and angry — that the JTNews ran what appeared to be a paid half-page ad blasting Israel, for fighting back against Hamas rocket attacks, under the guise of a news story in your Aug. 8 issue, page 14. Oh yes, inserted in the fourth paragraph the tiny, two-line acknowledgment: “We also condemn the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against the civilian population living in Israel. We stand in solidarity with the ordinary people of Israel and their desire for security, and in particular with the Israeli anti-war movement.”

Compounding this severe breach of journalistic integrity, is the headline set in regular news headline style: “Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s letter to the president.” A general, no-information headline. And this lengthy missive, which runs for half a page, is set in blue type, at an angle, as a paid display ad would be handled, but giving the deceptive impression this is a straight news story.

I know JTNews has given ample space to the now debunked and fading J Street. These are the self-professed friends of Israel. This well-financed group describes itself as Jews and others who care about the tiny nation of Israel. Right. But it is always critical of the way Israel is forced to defend itself, as it must in Gaza, and wherever else rockets and terror come from. Of course most J Street heroes live half a world away from the daily Hamas rocket attacks. Difficult to be braver than that — without risk.

But still curious to learn who, if anyone, paid for that pro-terrorism ad in the JT. Or, is it all just an error in failing to properly label this a paid ad atop the ad?

Phil Scheier



Editor’s note: The printing of Sawant’s letter, with a note offering information on how to contact the councilwoman, was an attempt to make readers aware of the proposed letter and to suggest that our readers contact her with concerns. We apologize if this created any confusion.