Another right-wing blogger just left the ranks of Times of Israel. And he did it with a bit of fanfare. He let us know he was leaving and he let us know why.
I get it. I really do. And I respect him for sticking to his guns. But I think he’s making a mistake. I’ll explain that in a minute. But first I want to talk about how I came to write for TOI.
My dear friend and colleague Zahava Englard posted a link to a blog she wrote on the Times of Israel and I was jealous. The Times of Israel was NEW. It was COOL. “How come,” I wondered, “they asked Zahava to write for them and they didn’t ask ME?”
Instead of fermenting my sour grapes, I dashed off an email to Zahava and asked her how she managed to get a blog at TOI. “I dunno,” she said. “The editor asked me.”
I asked her for then blogs editor Elie Leshem’s contact info and I wrote and asked if I too, could have a blog on TOI. Surprisingly, the answer was yes and the steps I had to take to become a TOI blogger were simple. Soon, I was posting like the best of them and in fact, I knocked TOI editor David Horovitz’s viral blog post, “Starting the Times of Israel” out of first place with one of my own posts.
Back then, during that first year, TOI was a wide open field. No one knew exactly where TOI would land: left, center, or right. But the truth is, anyone with a modicum of sense who’d ever read the Jerusalem Post while David Horovitz was at the helm as editor could have figured it out. TOI would be center left (Yeah, I know. Not true. They’re balanced).
Of course, the thing that was new and different about TOI beside the fact that it had a strictly online presence was its bloggers’ platform. No matter what articles and editorials were posted, the bloggers’ forum would be wide open to a variety of opinions. And the thing is people were drawn to TOI from the start. The bloggers, at least the ones with things to say that knew how to say them, were getting LOTS of page views.
That included yours truly.
I have a blog of my own, Judean Rose. I get nice comments. But my own blog is sort of, well, meh. It never really took off. I never figured out how to properly monetize my blog . I didn’t have big bucks behind me. So my blog space was kind of just a voice in the wilderness. TOI gave me what my blog never did: LOTS and LOTS of page views.
To be sure, I have my share of trolls and detractors on TOI. And I have loyal fans who will agree with whatever I say which kind of makes me wonder what’s the point. But I do believe that the more I put those thoughts out there, the greater chance I have of making my right wing opinions a solid part of the debate.
When I post links to my TOI blog posts some of my right wing friends will ask me to copy and paste the text: they don’t want to give TOI page views because of its perceived left wing slant.
I won’t do it, won’t copy and paste for them. Because I want to cement the right wing presence on TOI. I can’t do that if people won’t come here and read my stuff.
Not long ago, I found myself on a random Facebook thread in which people were trashing a left wing article from TOI. The original poster wrote something to the effect that she’d love to write a rebuttal but that TOI would never post it.
“Wrong,” I thought, and threw in my own two cents: “Anyone reasonably literate can blog for TOI. All you have to do is apply to the editor for a blog. You want TOI to be right wing? So WRITE FOR THEM.”
The original poster thanked me and said this was good information. I watched for a subsequent blog from her but no. It never appeared.
That’s too bad.
Here’s the dealio:
We may not be able to change a perceived slant. But we can certainly add our voices to the polyglot and GET HEARD.
Also, I’m a busy gal. I’m the communications writer at a nonprofit (Kars for Kids) and can’t be writing about politics all the time. So you gotta do your part, too.
So please stop whining to me about the left wing slant of TOI. Please stop calling me the token right wing blogger at TOI. Write your own right wing blogs. Write them well so the editor will feature your piece (oh yes she will feature a right wing blog if it is well-written). And then tell your right wing friends to jump on the bandwagon.
It’s lonely in here.