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Media Analyses





Bogus Page-One Haaretz Headline: 'Donors Halt Funds' to Ben-Gurion University (Updated)


CAMERA has prompted a Haaretz correction. An update follows the article.
 
In a bogus front-page headline today, Haaretz's English edition falsely reports: "2 Ben-Gurion U. donors halt funds as Breaking the Silence award revoked."
 

 
Similarly, the online headline misleads: "Ben-Gurion University Donors Halt Support After Breaking the Silence Award Revoked."
 
 
The first paragraph (in the print edition) wrongly states:
Two donors to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have announced in recent days that they will cease their activities on behalf of the university after its president nixed an award to Breaking the Silence.
(The first paragraph of the online edition is even more misleading as it does not include the word "two," suggesting that the pool of "donors" halting their funds is more significant than two. It states: "Donors to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have announced in recent days. . . ")
 
More importantly, who are the two so-called "donors"? The minority of readers who look past the headline and first paragraph (and onto the jump page, in the case of the print edition) will find that one, Michael Weiler of Switzerland, "had made donations between 1991 and 1993, but not since then. He remains on the board of governors out of respect to his parents who had contributed significantly larger sums." In other words, Weiler has not been a donor to BGU in over two decades.
 
And who is the second alleged "donor" who halted funding? He is, by Or Kashti's own description (again buried low down in the story), an "Israeli relative of a donor." Kashti writes:
Another Israeli relative of a donor wrote that even though he wasn't a wealthy American donor, only someone whose uncle had donated his small estate to the university, he wished to express his humiliation and anger at the decision.
Thus, no actual donors have halted funded to the university due to the decision over the award — only a former donor and the relative of a donor. An accurate story would have stated: "Two individuals with family connections to the university have said they will not in the future donate to Ben-Gurion University. . . " Accurate, but hardly worthy of page-one coverage.
 
CAMERA has contacted editors to request corrections, both online and in print. Stay tuned for an update.
 
 
July 8 update: Following communication from CAMERA, Haaretz has corrected its article and published the following editors note online:
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article reported that donors had halted their support after the award Breaking the Silence was revoked. The article has been corrected.
The modified headline now reads, "Ben-Gurion University Slammed for Nixing Breaking the Silence's Prize." The updated first paragraph now states that "families of donors" have "protested" to the university. A correction has yet to appear in print, even though the error appeared on page one of the print edition.
 
For additional information on erroneous front-page Haaretz headlines, some of them corrected, see here, here, here, and here.
 
For the Hebrew version of this post, see Presspectiva's Facebook page.

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