To the Writers of theSkimm

Last week, theSkimm, which is a daily e-mail newsletter, sent out a newsletter that I found to be inaccurate and biased against Israel. I e-mailed them explaining what exactly I found inaccurate about their reporting, because I truly believe that they have good intentions, and that they are constantly trying to improve their publication. I am still waiting for a response and if/when I do receive one, I shall post that as well. For now, however, here is the email I sent them regarding their article about Israel from October 15th:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you as a Skimm lover, and as someone who often uses theSkimm as her only news source. I have always admired the way your publication has reported on the events that take place in Israel; I feel that theSkimm has usually been unbiased and has reported on the events accurately. While so many newspapers and media sources have been inaccurate in their reporting, and have misrepresented how and why certain events have occurred in Israel, I have found that your articles generally show both sides of the story, and convey events in an objective manner.

However, theSkimm that was published on October 15th most definitely did not accurately portray the tragic events of Israel this past week. First, you say that the “latest burst of violence has led to the deaths of eight Israelis and at least 30 Palestinians.” What you forget to mention, is that these Palestinians were not innocent victims. Quite the contrary. They were terrorists who stabbed and attacked Israeli civilians and were killed to stop them from stabbing more and more innocent victims. They were killed out of self-defense, while the eight Israelis mentioned were killed unprovoked. They were innocent civilians who were simply riding a bus, waiting at a bus station, or buying candy from a candy shop. Additionally, theSkimm forgets to mention the multiple Israelis wounded and in critical condition, who were also innocent civilians. By merely stating that eight Israelis and 30 Palestinians were killed, without giving any context, you do not provide your readers with a well-rounded perspective of the whole picture.

What I find most deplorable about the article is this line: “Israeli officials say these nearly daily attacks are ‘terrorism’ and that Palestinian leaders have encouraged these ‘lone wolf’ attacks.” I am hoping that the quotations marks around the word terrorism was some sort of typo, because if it was not, then I would be horrified to learn that theSkimm does not consider what occurred in Israel this past week terrorism. Do you think that two men open firing and stabbing innocent passengers on a Jerusalem bus, killing two and injuring 15 people, is not terrorism? Do you think that a driver ramming his car into a Jerusalem bus station and then getting out and stabbing those who he ran over is not terrorism? Do you think that a man stabbing an Israeli at a bus station in Raanana is not terrorism? Is the stabbing of a 13 year old boy who had just left a candy store in Jerusalem not terrorism? Do these events not strike terror in the hearts of Israelis across Israel?

I have read theSkimm every day for a number of years now, but if this false reporting continues, I’m afraid I will have to unsubscribe from what has been my favorite news source up until now. Please keep in mind both parties next time you report on Israel.

Thanks,

Sarah Singer

Then on October 20th, they again reported on Israel, and while this article was more accurate than their previous article, I still found it to be flawed. Here is what I said to them:

To whom it may concern,

In light of my email last week, I feel that it is necessary to email you again regarding theSkimm from Monday, October 20th. Yesterday morning, theSkimm that was published reported on the events in Israel much more accurately. While last week you said, “this latest burst of violence has led to the deaths of eight Israelis and at least 30 Palestinians,” this week, you changed it to “These attacks have resulted in many clashes with Israeli security; 9 Israelis and 41 Palestinians (including the assailants) have been killed in this latest wave of violence.” You provided context and explained that the Palestinians who were killed were not, in fact, innocent, as was implied last week.

However, you still decline to mention that numerous Israelis were wounded and are in critical condition due to these terrorist attacks. And yes, I did just refer to the Palestinian attacker as terrorists. The Palestinians are not simply “assailants” as you call them. They are terrorists. Not only do they wish to hurt and kill the people they are directly attacking, but they also want to indirectly hurt all Israelis by causing fear and inciting other terrorist attacks across the country. I don’t understand why you refuse to use the words terrorism or terror in your articles. Even Secretary John Kerry referred to this recent wave of violence as terrorism in a speech he delivered at Indiana University when he stated “We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.” These acts of violence are clearly terrorism and should be described as such.

Further, you say “the Palestinian president” had an international mic drop when he announced that a peace framework that had been in place for decades is now off the table.” However this wouldn’t be such a “mic drop” and wouldn’t be so surprising to your readers if you had been giving them further context into what Abbas has been saying about Israel all along. Not only has he not once condemned Palestinians for committing these acts of terror, but he even went as far as to accuse Israelis of killing Palestinians in cold blood. The false example he gave as proof of this so-called cold blooded killing was the death of a Palestinian boy, who was responsible for the murder of an Israeli thirteen year old boy and who, contrary to what Abbas said, is in fact alive, and is being cared for in an Israeli hospital.

While Abbas only just now officially said “that a peace framework that had been in place for decades is now off the table,” from his many statements regarding the recent violence, it was already obvious that this was the case. In order for your readers to fully understand the scope and complexity of the situation in Israel, you must provide this context so as not to cause an unfair bias. Giving all the facts will allow those who follow theSkimm to form more well-rounded opinions on these important issues.

On theSkimm’s website you say, “theSkimm is the daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day.” But these past few Skimms have showed me that maybe theSkimm is not everything I need to start my day. You have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and it scares me to think that for some of those hundreds of thousands of people, their only news source provides them with an inaccurate picture of the events occurring in Israel. I really hope that you will continue to move in the right direction as seen by your improvement from last week’s article to this week’s. Thank you so much for listening to your readers’ opinions. I’m sure theSkimm readers are comprised of diverse people; it can’t be easy to please them all, and you have a done a good job of doing so thus far.

Thanks again,

Sarah Singer

If you are an avid Skimmer like me, I urge you to e-mail theSkimm as well. Hopefully, they will continue to improve on the accuracy of their reporting, and hopefully I will once again be able to refer to theSkimm as a trustworthy new source.

theSkimm posts that I referred to in my article above can be found at http://www.theskimm.com/2015/10/14/skimm-for-october-15th-4 and http://www.theskimm.com/2015/10/19/skimm-for-october-19th-2

About the Author
Sarah is a Binghamton University student majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She has a passion for Israel as well as reading and writing.
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