Thursday, March 20, 2008

Swallowing the Bait: The Gullible Ortho-jblogger

Ocasionally I read posts on Ortho-jblogs from outside of Israel, particularly from the U.S.A., that cause me to shake my head with disbelief and ask myself: How can seemingly intelligent people be so gullible?

Now you, dear reader, are probably scratching your head and wondering what in the world is Cosmic X talking about. I'll describe a typical scenario:

Ortho-jblogger is a God fearing Jew that is interested in Israeli current events. Where does he get his news? He reads Ynetnews, Haaretz or Jpost. He comes across an item where religious Jews are described as doing or saying something outrageous. Ortho-jblogger immediately gets into a tizzy. How could religious Jews do such a thing? He starts blogging about the latest scandal. Sparks fly from his keyboard as he eloquently expresses his indignation. He is incensed at the desecration of the Divine Name! He is shocked by the insanity that has taken hold of his coreligionists! How could Rabbi Ploni do/say this or that? He publishes his post, feeling that he has done his duty in defending the honor of Torah and Judaism as he understands it. However, Ortho-jblogger does not realize that he has been had. He has swallowed the bait: hook, line and sinker.

Ortho-jblogger doesn't understand is that the sources that he gets his news from are not always accurate, and that's an understatement. Often the writers or the editors are promoting an anti-Torah agenda. They intentionally distort events and/or quote things out of context. Frequently their ignorance of Torah causes them to err. Sometimes a faulty translation of an article from Hebrew to English is at fault. In any case Ortho-jblogger is lacking the facts, an his rant is for naught. Not only that, but he will often disparage other Jews and even Torah scholars based on the erroneous information that he has received.

If Ortho-jblogger took his blogging more seriously, indeed, if he took his Judaism more seriously, he wouldn't hit the publish button so fast. He would consider the reliability of his news source. Do they have a particular agenda that may cause them to skew their reporting? Are they more interested in selling newspapers than in telling the truth? How would he rate their knowledge of Torah and Judaism on a scale from one to ten?

Ortho-jblogger would check out other news sources, such as Israel National News. True, INN has a right-wing religious agenda, and this influences their reporting. However, my experience is that they are for more accurate than any other source of news from Israel. Moreover, they are learned, God fearing Jews. When a rabbi says something or makes a halachic ruling they understand the issue. When INN errs they are not afraid to publish a correction.

Ortho-jblogger might also want to consult with the Ortho-jbloggers that live in Israel before he flies off the handle. There are quite a few of us. He will be better informed. His blog will become a source of information instead of a disseminator of disinformation. In this way he could save himself and the rest of us a lot of grief.


yaak said...

I wish I wrote this post. Hazak Uvaruch!

Cosmic X said...

Glad you liked it Yaak. Happy Purim!

Esser Agaroth said...


Yeah, I've encountered this, too,...from at least 2 OrthoBloggers in the U. S.

< sigh >

I am VERY glad you addressed this issue.

Do people really believe everything they read?

Soccer Dad said...

If I am aware of whom you're talking about, he gets 1000 hits a day and lots of comments. He's not interested in facts or even reasoned debate; he's interested in bomb tossing and watching the resulting conflagration.

Put another way he knows his market and exploits it well.

Cosmic X said...

Soccer Dad,

I was referring to a phenomenon that appears on different blogs from time to time and not a particular blogger.

I don't think the cause of the phenomenon is a desire to "throw bombs" or cause a sensation, but rather a misunderstanding of the nature of the Israeli MSM.

Soccer Dad said...

Mr Cosmic X,

Some perhaps not. But there are those who, indeed, are anxious to stir things up. It gets them hits, and they care little about who is hurt.


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