web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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
A would-be preacher delivers his message of hate from the Muslim"holy site" on the Temple Mount.
Al Aqsa Mosque ‘Stand-Up’ Preacher Calls for Annihilation of the United States
Latest Indepth Stories
Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

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: