Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Frum websites and blogs, who broke the news first?

Does it really matter who broke the story of the first? For some reason when a major story breaks, specifically when a Gadol batorah is Niftar and passes away, the Frum news websites and blogs are at a ratings war over who posted the news first.

 One particular Torah website who was not so quick on the petirah of Rav Ovadia Yosef Zt'l , backdated the timing of their post, making it appear as if it broke the news right away. Or perhaps they changed the time setting to Pacific standard Time (allthough it is always set on EST). They've  already done this practice once before when a previous Gadol was niftar. They had a banner calling on all to daven for Rav Ovadiah for a Refuah shleima a few hours after he passed away.

Is this ehrlichkeit we expect from our Torah online news website? As a news reporting site, its every journalists dream to break a story first, but as a frum site why not be honest. Why insult the readership and subject them to this practice of not being ehrlich. Especialy when reporting on the passing of  Gedolim who are anshei Emes.
Thats not a voice for torah Jewry.


  1. Good post. I was quite surprised that one particular website was not up to date on the news, yet was totally bewildered when checking later in the day, the news somehow appeared earlier up in their website.

    It is quite possible that they are a smaller operation and therefore did not have the 24x7 coverage that the larger newssites, or perhaps it might have been political, in that they needed to check with their rabbinical authority in how or how/what to say. In any event, if they inserted the news to make it look like they had reported it earlier, I would say it is unethical and a breach of Geneivas Daas.

    1. You make so valid points, however it appears they were stocked with prepared articles in advance ready to be posted as soon as the news would break. That would make it seem they already had the go ahead of their anonymous Daas torah.

  2. I did not see anyone at a ratings war at all.

    ywn had a live blog fr4om the hospital blogging the deteriorating situation.
    vin had it a few minutes after ywn reported the passing of r ovadia
    matav was 3 hours late and lied as usual

    where is the ratings war?

    1. There are other news sites too.

  3. Fotheringay-PhippsOctober 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    It's not so much a matter of being first specifically, but they need people to think they're getting "up to the minute" news so as to get them to make this their main website for news.

    If I could speculate a bit, I think it's part of a broader problem that the frum oilem has with emes these days. They say from R' Pam ZL that people who steal from the government programs, even with heterim, end up dishonest in other ways as well. (The velt says "what's the difference between stealing froma goy and stealing from a yid? 6 months".)

    And the problem here is that the frum media in general - whether it's newspapers and similar publications, publishing houses, or websites - has a very strong tendency to distort things. All with the best intentions and leshaim shomayim, of course. But leaving aside whether it's justified or not (& there's a published t'shuva from RYSE ZL saying you can make up stories about gedolim if you think he would have acted that way in that situation) the cumulative effect of it all is that people are not in the habit of being strict about emes, and it carries over to other areas as well.