AP reported the sentimental passing of baseball star Yogi Berra at the age of 90 with the headline that cartoon character Yogi Bear had died. How could that mistake have been made? Easy. A young intern, working in the wee hours of the morning, who did know the difference between Yogi Berra and Yogi Bear, had made the mistake. Just to test it out, I asked my 18 year old intelligent student interns if they knew of either Yogi Berra or Yogi Bear. They also did not know. They could have made the same mistake had they maintained the AP desk a few nights before. All this proves the point of our mentor, Dr. Joseph Lerner, who advised our office from the time of his Aliya in 1986 at the age of 66 until his death in 2006. http://israelbehindthenews.com/remembering-dr-joseph-lerner-who-passed-away-last-month-at-the-age-of-84/4852/

Joe’s point on how to work with the media was not to harp on the mistakes and mishaps of reporters, but rather to do everything possible to educate the media, with all the patience that this requires. Anti-Israel pundits thrive on the lack of knowledge that reporters and their media outlets have about Israel. The strategy of Israel critics is to create their own narrative, and to reinvent Israel’s history, and to market their vast cottage industry of misinformation to the press, in a reasonable manner.

Anyone who sees the issue in Middle East reporting as a problem of deliberate, dishonest and biased reporting misses the reality, which is that we live in an era of superficiality and surface reporting, which has gotten even more superficial since Joe Lerner’s death in 2006, where we have witnessed the media outlets in Israel cut to skeleton staffs, while organizations with an axe to grind work overtime to misinform the crucial copy writers of media outlets who cannot tell Yogi Bear from Yogi Berra.

I once showed my students who learn investigative reporting in my office how easy it was to quote a journalist Fred Flintstone from the Bedrock News and his senior writer, Barney Rubble, as a credible source in a news story.

Yaba Daba Do.

BTW, Moadim l’simcha,


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.