Washington Post Takes On Matzav.com for Editing Article


bin-laden-raid-white-house-situation roomMelissa Bell of the Washington Post reports: Last week, Hasidic news publications decided to run the iconic Situation Room photograph with a noticeable change: they either cropped or photoshopped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counterterrorism director Audrey Tomason out of the image citing modesty concerns.

It turns out photographs were not the only thing censored. A Hasidic news Web site also censored my story about the incident. Matzav.com, a Web site with the tagĀ­line “The Jewish world @ your fingertips,” reprinted seven paragraphs, removing these two paragraphs that raised some criticism of the practice:

However, many other people saw the incident as an example of the religion’s supression of women. “Extreme discomfort with the presence of women or even images of women is common to virtually all totalitarian religious communities, regardless of the tradition involved,” Brad Hirschfield, a Jewish blogger for The Post, writes.

Others took issue with the affront to journalistic standards. One reader on my previous post about the photo manipulation cited a section the Code of Ethics according to the Society of Professional Journalists. It reads: “Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.”

It did link to my original piece at the bottom, but there was no indication that the text had been changed and, even with the ommissions, it read as a complete article.

{Read more at The Washington Post}

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. For what it is worth, this may or may not be printed on Matzav, but as a Torah observant Jew, I feel strongly that all of the comments I post or offer to Matzav or other sites are within my scope as a Jew and honor my Creator. That said, I often have many posts that are not posted. I realize that certain commentary may be hard for some people to chew on once in a while, but I am always saddened when my commentary is either omitted or edited for the Matzav or other Jewish audiences. I mean no harm to any person and I am quite sure that I do not qualify as lashon hora, but that said, I have been critical of a few institions as well as other persons in my comments in the past and sadly, I would really wish that Matzav and the editors would publish more of our contents without editing or omissions. Unless it is a clear case of Profanity, I believe in the freedom of presses. If I post a comment that is either inflammatory or inappropriate, we must rely on the good nature and Torah observance of other chatters and commentators to rectify my own disregard for Torah and thus, in doing so, Torah Values are upheld, taught and discussed. This does more than preventing controversal commentary from seeing the “light of day”.

  2. You were absolutely correct for omitting those two paragraphs. Please. pray tell, how does the long-standing practice of not publishing photos of woman sever as any sort of indication or “proof” to the claim of “supression (sic) of women. ‘Extreme discomfort with the presence of women'”.

    If you’d like to make such a claim against Torah-true Judaism, fine. However, Please, do the subject justice, do proper research and cite examples of this preposterous claim. Making such a claim, based on the exclusion of publishing pictures of women is not sufficient for such a claim. It’s certainly not an indicator of anything other than having modesty guidelines.

    [I ask you, is using scantily clad clad women in order to sell toothpaste or tires – a practice the Washington Post is a full partner to – not degrading and disrespectful to women?]

    I credit Matzav for being open-minded enough to reprint her article, while omitting some incorrect accusatory statements.

  3. If we are going to be an Or L’Goyim perhaps we should start with what is most likely to be seen by the goyim — take some journalism ethics classes!!!

    Matzav should be walking on eggshells given the spate of recent uproars regarding public failures of frum Yidden.

  4. Please let us say it straight out. We commend Matzav.com for this article and condemn it for being so stupid as to censor a previous story. The damage is done, sweetie.

  5. The Post makes up things about frum Jews and then they get upset when people don’t want to reprint it???? Anyone see the irony here??

  6. Matzav was quite right about editing the article and leaving out the LIES that this Ms. Bell got someone to state about our kehillos. So kudos to Matzav. And Matzav gave a link for those who wished to read the article.

    I think this Ms. Bell is barking up the wrong tree here.

  7. From the comments over there on her article, nobody cared much.

    It’s a cowards work to post mid-day Friday timed to minimize any criticism from our community for the first 36 hours. But, I don’t think this is worth stirring up at this point. She doesn’t have a clue about our communities.

  8. Look any one familiar with the site knows that the very essence of it is to present a censored content. It’s for people who WANT the things to be cencered in a certain way. Who ever want the pure, or rather impure, facts, knows exactly how to get to it. No one is being fooled.

    It’s far far better than what the main stream media does these days, manipulating important crucial facts to the entire nation, as we all know…

  9. maybe Matzav.com acted in accordance with the Washington Posts copyright policy only permitting a reprint of partial articles with a link to see the complete article.

    that is why Matzav left out those paragraphs.

    dan lecaf zechus.

  10. Journalists take themselves very seriously. They publish personal attacks as if anyone cares about them. This attitude stems from their broader perspective of themselves. They are taught that their mission is to spread peace. Wrong. Their job is to tell the news, whether they like what happened or not. They call it balanced reporting when they insert qualifiers into someone’s claim, or when they’ll add an opposing view — to balance the article. What I call balanced reporting is when you print what you get, and don’t mix in your two cents.

    It’s not like Matzav edited the text, you merely printed the parts of the article that are befitting a Jewish site. They don’t seem to get it that the readership is Frum and we are not interested in hearing that ‘there is a problem with the religion’, or any other similar nonsense.

    Thank you for printing clean and appropriate news.

  11. It is common practice to type an ellipsis (…) where material has been removed in a quoted passage.

    As far as the laughable generalization posted about “totalitarian religious communities”… Shouldn’t her journalistic integrity have mandated that she seek response from Matzav about that quote?

  12. #1,

    How is your comment relevant to this story?

    What type of organizations and people are commenting about that it doesn’t constitute loshen hora?

    I’ve found that Matzav is willing to expose deviant and bogus organizations.

    I’ve also found that some sites practice double standards. They generally don’t permit loshen hora, and certainly don’t permit maligning other people. However, with one of their employees, they allow her to continuously malign a former family member of hers, as well as allow her to encourage others to follow other of her anti-halachic behaviors.

    If anyone challenges her behavior, they allow her to delete and then censure all the responses, and delete all commentary of the challengers, even the most irrelevant threads.

  13. As an aside to this whole issue, I don’t understand why no one has explained that the omission of all women from pictures is a stringency either because of lo plug or as a broadening of a milsa dichasidusa.

    In other words, the picture itself, by all means and standards, is not in of itself something that an average frum person would find any issue with.