web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

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: