Prayergate: Ma’ariv Denies Denial

An afterword on Ma’ariv publishing the note that Obama put in the Wall: McClatchy correspondent Dion Nissenbaum brings the newspaper’s most recent comment on the affair. It doesn’t improve the Ma’ariv’s journalistic rep:

Maariv received the note last Thursday and, after realizing it contained no personal or intimate content, decided to publish it. Contrary to the response attributed to Maariv in a few media outlets in Israel, Maariv never requested permission from the Obama campaign to publish the note, nor was granted permission afterwards.

This is a denial of the statement, attributed to Ma’ariv, that appeared in various newspapers and websites, in Hebrew and English, claiming that the note had been approved for publication before Obama had put it in the wall. The statement also made the unforgivable claim that publishing the note didn’t infringe on Obama’s privacy, because he’s not Jewish. The wording of this statement is almost the same in Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, The Marker, and Globes. Given the small differences, it appears that a single text was read over the phone to reporters from all of these papers.

If you believe that someone not connected to Ma’ariv took the time to issue a statement in the paper’s name, just to make it look worse, you are clinically gullible.

But the original denial didn’t work. So Ma’ariv denied the denial, without apologizing. If I were a fish, I’d ask to be wrapped in a more honorable paper.

Related posts:

Journalism Lesson: Obama’s Note, The New Republic’s Goof

Obama in Israel: Political Implications

Mr. Obama, Did You Pack These Bags Yourself?

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