“The documents I’d like to read from Assad’s drawers” reads the headline from Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn’s current story.
Now, does anyone seriously think the Syrian dictator keeps documents of any kind tucked in his underwear — and if so, would you really want to read them?
OK, so it’s just a silly headline, not actually stupid.
But if you’re looking for a winning combo of dumb and evil, there’s this gem, penned by Or Ezrati: “Eat, pray, eat some more: How to stomach the impending war” followed by “With all the talk of warfare, we mustn’t ignore one of the most vital issues we may soon face: What to eat in bomb shelters?”
Ezrati the Haaretz journalist goes on to declare that “the next trend in food will actually land here from Iran, via missile.”
Really? Well, missiles might land, but they certainly won’t bring culinary innovation along with them. In fact, Paris, Tokyo and California have been at the rear guard of gastro-cool for years now, as any culinary enthusiast knows. If you’re looking for kitchen savoir-faire look at Denmark or New York, Barcelona or Tel Aviv.
But that’s a quibble. What’s troubling is the defeatest, prematurely demoralized tone of the piece, and I haven’t even read the whole thing (I was hungry).
What is offensive and yes, arguably quite evil, is that headline. I don’t care if the “story” is under the “Culture” rubric, or if the body of the piece is only available for paid subscribers (ok, I’m also not a paid subscriber — I prefer to spend my spare agorot on shakshuka).
To throw “impending war” into a headline is irresponsible journalism unless you can prove or otherwise demonstrate that it’s true. And maybe a war is impending: there’s always one going on somewhere, anyway, and the news of the world is indeed pretty grim. But this sends a message of self-hate and fear. It says to the world: “Don’t come here. Stay at home. Keep our hotels and restaurants empty. Please destroy our tourism industry in advance.”
Such writing exemplifies the kind of cheesy gallows humor that characterizes the work of so many journalists, from the Beltway to the Holy Land, who would better serve their readers by keeping certain dark thoughts to themselves and instead doing actual reporting, uncovering real cases of corruption, talking to real people, instead of flaunting their affair with snark like so many pea-brained peacocks.
Did I say irresponsible? Bad choice of word. Try dangerous.