Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

And the Naked Emperor Proudly Paraded on. How does Newspaper Nonsense get Printed?

Let’s look at one way that nonsense gets into news reports.

What do you do if you work for a newspaper and you need to report on something that you completely don’t understand.

  • Do you ask questions until you get it,
  • Or do you present the sentences as they were given to you, writing a piece that you don’t understand, but hoping that it will make sense to some readers somehow, pretending that this is an intelligent article?

What do you do if you are the evening editor of a morning paper and there is a technical article which you can’t follow?

  • Do you give it a nice headline and a sweet place in the paper,
  • Or do you say: This won’t get in until someone can explain this to me; so far it makes no sense?

How often do reporters and editors go for plan A: pretending that they get it? Until a reader reports back: This makes no sense; the emperor is walking stark naked?

Take the publication of the findings of the investigation after the landing tragedy of the F-16I of Major Ohad Cohen-Nov.

Hebrew Y-net comes with a report, at 14:30. The writer reports in the first paragraph that “asymmetries due to differences in weights between rounds led to the loss of control of the landing.” When and if an English translation will be up is unclear.

Arutz Sheva, always quick with news, had a short but crystal clear message at 15:02, headed: “Fatal plane crash caused by imbalanced load.” Its two sentences explained further that “the imbalance of weight [came] from munitions that were left over following an operation over Gaza.” All what one needs to know to know it all. Restraint reveals the master’s hand.

The Jerusalem Post comes at 15:31 with a long confusing report. The crash was the result of … “the jet landing in “asymmetric” conditions.” Now, that is unclear, but it’s explained further down as: “landing in an asymmetric configuration.” Twice more will the journalist tell us that “asymmetric configurations” are dangerous. The next day the paper will be printed. Will the editor of the evening have spotted this, what seems to be nonsense?

  1. Aircraft configuration can mean: Internal arrangement or layout of aisles, doors, galleys, passenger facilities, seats of different sizes and pitch, etc., of a passenger aircraft.

plane config

  1. Or – everybody knows – plane configurations are these:


  1. Or, but the average news paper reader does not know this, clean configuration can mean: a configuration of a fixed-wing aircraft when its external equipment is retracted.

So, the common reader is now in the dark what seat (1.) or flight (2.) configuration has to do with landing. (Nothing.)

The Times of Israel, often the most complete, at 16:19, comes with the same information that one could glean from the other three reports together, plus a little more, all relevant, well-readable and understandable, minus the irrelevant details or repetitions. No jargon is left untranslated, like “configuration” meaning the situation of external plane equipment.

The next morning, the printed Jerusalem Post had exactly the same text as I referred to above with the headline saying nothing about the reason for the crash “Army determines cause of October F-16 crash”.

The reporter just had quoted unintelligible army jargon pretending understanding it, and the editor put it in the paper pretending understanding it. A disservice to the readers in order to keep up personal appearance.

What a sad subject, anyway.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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