Monday, August 01, 2005

Dance of the Headlines (or, Let the Interviewee Beware)

(That title was just begging for a “caveat,” but I don’t know the Latin word for “interviewee.” Maybe some kind soul in the blogosphere will tell me.)

Anyway ... I’ll let Brian tell his story for himself.

[I]t was with no small amount of trepidation that I agreed to be profiled in an article in this Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. The reporter actually found me through this blog and said he was writing a series of articles about the real people behind the headlines living their normal lives in the Middle East. As a former San Franciscan, I would be perfect, he assured me.
With a pick up line like that, how could I say no?
Imagine then my shock when I read the headline of the article about me that appeared in the Sunday July 24 issue of the SF Chronicle: “Settler Hopes for Peace to Take Root.”
The last time I checked, we residents of western Jerusalem were not considered “settlers.” Which got me seriously wondering: had the Chronicle come to consider all of Israel a controversial “settlement?”
Now, as a writer and a reporter myself, I know what happens in the editing process, and I know that the reporter who interviewed me, Matt Stannard, was not responsible for the headline. Indeed he sent me an apologetic email shortly after the article came out expressing his outrage and how he feels “terrible” and “sabotaged” by whoever made what he said was a “last minute overnight change” without his approval.
Still, it highlights a general problem with “balance” when it comes to media reporting in this part of the world.

The “dance of the headlines” referred to in the title follows.

Read it all.

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