This is the basic letter I wrote changing details of city and newspaper each time. Comments welcome.
10 May 2010
Re: European Jews sign petition critical of Israel May 02. 2010
Letter to the Editor: Three thoughts on a petition
When the Beatrice Daily Sun published ‘European Jews sign petition critical of Israel’ my first thought was ‘so what’? An enterprising Beatrice petitioner could probably collect three thousand signatures to repaint park benches. The names represent only 0.4% of the estimated Jewish population in Europe. Or to put it another way 99.6% didn’t agree.
My second thought was also ‘what makes this story important? On the same day there was a bombing attempt in New York Times Square; a new Greece bailout plan; volcanic ash caused travel chaos… again and a woman in Dubai was jailed for kissing a man in public. Zero comments on the website for the petition non story.
My third thought was ‘why does publishing this story’ matter? Perhaps this should have been my first thought? It does matter.
When, inevitably, people announce their electronic signature was false or they thought they were signing something else or no person of that name exists or that some of the names were Arabs who know a good piece of propaganda when they see it, will your newspaper carry that story? Will you ask why almost no Jewish community leader has given them the slightest support?
Excuse me for presuming your answer but as Associated Press, whose profits are so dependent on sale of stories to the Arab world, won’t write the follow up the answer will be no.
Perhaps translating this story into American terms will make the problem clearer? If a tiny group of Americans living overseas by choice, who regard the Democratic Party as too right-wing and the Republican Party as the army of Satan, promote a petition demanding the United Nations control who enters the United States would you add it to your international news coverage? Would you direct your readers to the website to sign?
Excuse my presumption but I predict your response would be, ‘So what?’, ‘Our readers wouldn’t consider this important news’ and ‘It’s not the job of this publication to promote groups so far outside the mainstream opinion of the citizens of Beatrice, Nebraska and the United States’. In short, no!
Thank you for your attention,