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Media Analyses

LA Times Corrects: Judah Ben-Hur Is a Jew, not Palestinian

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, the Los Angeles Times has published a correction noting that the fictional Judah Ben-Hur, a protagonist in the Charles Heston film by that name, is a Jew from Judea, and not a Palestinian as reported. CAMERA first caught this specimen of historical (and fictional, as even the fictional film was misrepresented) revisionism in our Snapshots blog Monday. Nice work to all the Snapshots readers, who along with CAMERA staff, contacted the Los Angeles Times to request the correction. The error and correction follow:

Error(Los Angeles Times, Calendar, 9/26/11): Based on the novel by Lew Wallace, the period drama revolves around Judah Ben-Hur (Heston), a Palestinian nobleman who is enslaved by the Romans, engages in one of the most thrilling chariot races ever captured on screen, and even encounters Jesus Christ.

Correction (9/28/11): "Ben-Hur": A Sept. 26 Calendar section article about a new DVD and Blu-ray release of the 1959 film "Ben-Hur" described the title character, played by Charlton Heston, as a Palestinian nobleman. The character Ben-Hur was a Jew from Judea who lived long before the place now known as Palestine was given that name.

The Times is to be commended for the timely and straightforward correction. Nevertheless, the error still begs the question: how did the paper manage to transform a Jewish prince from Judea into a Palestinian in the first place?
For additional Los Angeles Times corrections elicited by CAMERA's work, see here.

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