web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


CAMERA: Much Needed Media Watchdog


753px-Sonyhdrfx1

If you’ve read a letter to the editor correcting a false or misleading article about Israel in the newspaper, you might have seen CAMERA at work.

If you’ve attended a program featuring a panel of high-powered Middle East experts; or viewed a video detailing global attempts to delegitimize Israel; if your college student has turned to a more knowledgeable student on campus to counter anti-Israel bias there, you’ve undoubtedly come into the lens of CAMERA.

And if you live in the Chicago area and have seen CAMERA at work, you’ve seen Fern Baker at work — even if you didn’t know it.

Baker is the energetic Midwest regional director of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting. The 30-year-old national organization, with headquarters in Boston and regional offices in several other cities, monitors media of all types for biased or false reporting about Israel and seeks to educate the public about Middle East issues.

Baker explains the mission in a few succinct sentences. “We have a thread,” she says. “We deal in media, in journalism that is false or omits important facts – anything that has bias against Israel and the Middle East. We try to enlighten people.”

Actually CAMERA does much more on its way to promoting such enlightenment. On a given day, Baker, who has been on the job for 14 months, might be on the phone to Jerusalem to entice an expert to come to Chicago to speak, or planning an event in tandem with another Jewish organization, or working with a local university in hopes of placing a CAMERA “fellow” on campus – or, of course, raising funds for the organization’s work to continue.

 

For Baker, the job is new but the passion for Israel isn’t.

Originally from Montreal, she earned an undergraduate degree in Jewish studies and a graduate degree in Jewish education from McGill University. She also studied theater, worked for a while in Toronto, then came to Chicago to work in that business. Soon she was finding success as a professional model and appearing in commercials – “running around the country doing shoots,” as she describes it.

“I learned my best salesmanship and performance skills in the business,” she says, skills she draws on in her work with CAMERA. Eventually she went into fashion and opened her own small business. (She’s currently studying for a master’s degree in professional Jewish Studies at Spertus Institute.)

At the same time, she kept up the involvement in the Jewish world that she had begun in Canada – where, she says, more than 70 percent of the country’s Jews have visited Israel, a figure that puts the American Jewish community to shame.

She’s a longtime member of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, where her children attended day school (Baker has been married for 26 years – her husband is a general contractor – and has two sons, one in college and one who has recently graduated). She became friendly with Anshe Emet’s Rabbi Michael Siegel, a tireless booster and defender of Israel. She was involved with the Hartman Institute, a Jerusalem-based research and education institute, and served as a volunteer with AIPAC and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and eventually with CAMERA.

“I was pretty caught up in their conferences, the level of their speakers,” Baker says during a recent interview, where she arrives not only flawlessly and stylishly dressed and coiffed, but armed with some of the plentiful material – books, pamphlets, videos – that the organization puts out. “That was of particular interest to me – they brought in stars. If you look at other organizations, there aren’t too many any more that bring in really cutting-edge speakers, and the funding is part of it,” she says.

For CAMERA, she says, bringing in high-level speakers is not meant to raise money but rather to educate the public.

When the position at CAMERA, where Baker was a member, became available, “I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the job,” she says. “Many people knew of my passion for Israel and my desire to get involved, to connect. They jumped on the horn and I was hired.”

Among the strengths she brings to the position, she says: “I cross a lot of different areas. I’m a good networker and I know a lot of people. I cross over many places, I know a lot of clergy in the city and have good relationships with them, and that helps.”

After getting the job, “I rolled my sleeves up,” she says. “I have really tried this past year to do an enormous amount of events and programming – sometimes three or four a month. It’s about getting the word out there, making it an interesting social and educational experience, crossing streams. I would bring (Israeli radio and TV broadcaster) Yishai Fleisher into a Reform synagogue, trying to open up doors.”

About the Author: Pauline Dubkin Yearwood is Managing Editor of the Chicago Jewish News. She is a former entertainment writer and theater critic for the Phoenix New Times and the Scottsdale (Arizona) Progress-Tribune.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “CAMERA: Much Needed Media Watchdog”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.
Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews
Latest Indepth Stories
Golan map

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Social Media pic

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Middle-East-map

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Salamon-012315

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:

“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”

Despite the 2005 Koby Mandell Act no Palestinian implicated in harming an American has been charged

The NY Times suggestion that HaMavesar cropping women from a photo is Israeli censorship is absurd.

More Articles from Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
753px-Sonyhdrfx1

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) monitors media of all types for biased or false reporting about Israel and seeks to educate the public about Middle East issues.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/media-watchdog/2012/01/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: