web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Fact Or Fiction?


Media-Monitor-logo

As the Monitor noted a few years back in a column that drew more than the usual number of reader responses, there’s nothing worse than finding an error of fact in a nonfiction book. It makes the reader wonder whether finishing it is even worth the effort.

The Monitor looked at the following books, ranging from the silly to the more serious, when they were hot off the presses and garnering media attention in May 2005, and found errors aplenty.

Kissing Bill O’Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy (St. Martin’s Press) is a slender volume of mini-essays by TV critic Ken Tucker. Thumbing through the book at a local bookstore, the Monitor chanced upon a reference to “the late Richard Moll,” the actor who played the towering, good-natured Bailiff Bull in the mid-1980’s hit sitcom “Night Court.” Richard Moll dead? How sad. The news came as a complete surprise, and with good reason. A Google search later that day confirmed that Moll is very much alive. (He’s also the son-in-law of Milton Berle, who happens to be genuinely dead.)

Being an aficionado of old TV shows, the Monitor turned with some interest to Tucker’s chapter on the 1960’s “Batman” series. Talk about an error-filled mess. Tucker has the show premiering in 1964, when in fact it debuted in January 1966. He claims there were “no fewer than three incarnations of Catwoman (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriweather, and Eartha Kitt),” when in fact Meriwether (Tucker misspelled her name) only appeared in the feature-length theatrical release, never in the TV series. And he writes that the show “burned out through overexposure after a mere two seasons,” when in fact it lived on for a third season (1967-68) with the character of Batgirl added to the cast.

A more serious book is Jonathan Mahler’s Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), an account of New York City in the eventful year of 1977 as seen through the prism of mayoral politics and the New York Yankees’ world championship season. Early on, Mahler describes Massachusetts Congressman Tip O’Neill as being “in his final weeks as Speaker of the House” in the fall of 1976. Actually O’Neill first began his tenure as Speaker of the House in 1977.

A Matter of Opinion (also published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is a memoir from Victor Navasky, publisher of the left-wing Nation magazine. Twice in the space of two pages he has the rival opinion journal National Review commencing operations in 1956, when in fact it was 1955. Navasky also relates an anecdote in which he has the journalist and Communist-turned-conservative Whittaker Chambers working as a contributing editor at National Review in 1963, when in fact Chambers died in 1961.

Finally, there’s David Harris’s The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah – 1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam (Little, Brown).

Harris botches the identification of a television special on Senator Edward Kennedy that, due to its unflattering portrait of the Massachusetts senator and its airing on the evening of Nov. 4, 1979, coincidentally the very day mobs seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, quickly entered the annals of American political folklore. According to Harris the Kennedy fiasco was a segment on “60 Minutes,” when in fact it was an hour-long CBS News documentary that had nothing to do with “60 Minutes.”

But what really convinced the Monitor to forgo the Harris book was a quick read of the epilogue in which readers are brought up to date on the story’s central characters. In one howler, Harris writes that Warren Christopher (a deputy secretary in the Jimmy Carter State Department) “returned to Washington and served eight years as secretary of state” under Bill Clinton, which should come as news to Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state during Clinton’s second term.

Harris makes an equally bad mistake in tracking former senator and vice president Walter Mondale, whom he describes as having “returned briefly to the U.S. Senate in 2002 to fill out the few months remaining in the unexpired term of Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone, killed in a plane crash,” when in fact Mondale never returned to the Senate, even for a second – he was merely a candidate during the last week of the campaign, losing to Republican Norm Coleman. Gov. Jesse Ventura had appointed Dean Barkley, a close associate, to serve the remainder of Wellstone’s term.

The moral of the story? If you’re writing a report or an article or merely doing research for your own edification, never trust one source, however authoritative it may seem. Book publishers spend far less effort and expense on fact-checking than the average reader assumes.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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 “Fact Or Fiction?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

Clinton-051614

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/fact-or-fiction/2009/04/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: