A Local Journalistic Dispute Under Scrutiny
ccumulating concerns over
media treatment of Israel in
Middle East news coverage is
drawing attention to the editorial and
news coverage policies of the Detroit
Free Press. The constant charge of the
villainy unleashed upon us by the Free
Press, therefore produces the responses
in which that newspaper's policies are
defined formally and officially.
What has happened is the develop-
ment of an exchange aimed at assuring
understanding and good will so vital in
a normal American community. The
Jewish community has certainly en-
couraged it. A platform was provided by
Hadassah, and David Lawrence Jr.
spoke his views before a group of the
Detroit women's Zionist organization.
He rendered a disservice which must be
clarified on one item. He charged me
with advocating a boycott of his
newspaper. Such an act was never con-
doned from the editorial chair of The
Detroit Jewish News. It was advocated
on a couple of occasions and was
squelched primarily by action from this
Then came the informative address
to the group of Jewish social workers
and educators by Free Press Editor Joe
Stroud. The Jewish News played a role
in disseminating fairness by publishing
the complete text of his address.
Such are factors which emerge in
disputes over journalistic judgments
which emphasize recognition of the ex-
itence of trends toward fairness in a pro-
perly functioning American
There is very little in evidence of
disputes with the other Detroit daily
Apparently there is a way of mak-
ing corrections, and the platforms pro-
vided by Jewish groups and The Jewish
News to Free Press spokespeople may
assist in assuring it.
In the process, it is important that
a background of thorough cooperation
should be known and understood. I had
a good relationship with Malcolm W.
Bingay who gave me my first Detroit
newspaper job when he was on the
Detroit News and we were associates on
the staff of that paper while he was its
editor. We continued the friendship
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
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and the second week of November at
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Second class postage paid at Southfield,
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Postmaster. Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 20300 Civic
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Vol. XCV No 17
FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 1989
earlier disputes with the Free Press.
They did not begin in the late 1980s.
They existed 30 years earlier.
When Mark Ethridge was editor
there was a dispute perhaps even more
bitter than the very recent. There were
charges of anti-Semitism. Then, too,
there were proposals for a boycott and
we helped to squelch them.
Community leaders found it
necessary to confer with Ethridge and
his associates on the developing issues.
There are heavy files on the occur-
rences at that time. Leonard N. Simons
became involved in the discussions and
I have one of his letters in which he
reported to me on deliberations with
Ethridge. He wrote:
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS--SECTION R. January 24, Da
June 23, 1989
1 9 5
March 8, 1971
As Seen by
Philip and Anna Slomovitz
THE JEWISH NEWS
gttroit Ora Vresh$
48-Page Supplement to THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, Friday, January 24, 1958
when he went to the Free Press. There
developed many friendships, especially
when Frank Angelo was managing
editor. Scores of my articles were
published in the Free Press and Frank
always called for my opinions on major
issues — and published them.
During the editorial regime of
Frank Angelo, Harry Golden, of Only in
America fame, and I covered the
Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, in 1962,
for the Free Press.
There were many cooperative ven-
tures with Frank, who met with us
many times at important communal
Then came the most deeply moving
and heartwarming occurrence of all:
publication of a series of my articles
from and about Israel that appeared in
the Free Press and The Jewish News.
They were reprinted in a 48-page pam-
phlet that was included in The Jewish
News of Jan. 24, 1958.
This pamphlet contained the follow-
ing endorsing statement by Free Press
Managing Editor Frank Angelo:
We at the Free Press were
highly pleased when we learned
that Phil and Anna Slomovitz
were going to Israel, particular-
ly when Phil suggested that he
would be sending some special
reports to us.
We ran almost a score of
these reports in the Free Press
and feel that through them we
were better able to inform our
readers of Israel's development
during its first decade.
It is an inspired idea that Mr.
Slomovitz has had to pull
together all these reports into
this excellent supplement. This
is an intensely interesting docu-
ment that certainly will also be
noted by future historians.
There are two factors to be em-
phasized in these recollections and
The first has already been made:
that of cherished friendships.
The second is to call attention to the
Mr. Philip Slomovitz
The Jewish News
17515 W. 9 Mile Road — Suite 865
Southfield, Mich. 48075
I received your letter of
March 5th, together with the FP
editorial of February 19th,
which I immeditely sent on to
For your information, I had
a very nice luncheon with him
today . beginning at 1:00 and
got back to my office about 3:45.
The last half-hour of our lun-
cheon included Hy Safran, who
was sitting at an adjoining table.
I invited him to join us after his
I think it was a nice lunch-
eon. I think something good
should come out of it. At least I
hope so. He was very pleasant
all through the luncheon . . . and
he told me that his sister is mar-
ried to a Jewish man in
Louisville, and has converted to
Judaism. He said also that his
mother, who on occasion hears
something derogatory said
about the Jews, will reply by
saying . . . "I don't know how
you can talk that way about the
Jewish people ... some of my
finest grandchildren are
Re the 3 letters enclosed, he
said that Letter 1 made him
quite irritated because he said
there are any number of items
mentioned in that letter that
never appeared in The Free Press
and are untrue. He especially
called my attention to the story
about the American passport.
He also said he did not
apologize twice, as my letter
said. He didn't seem to realize
there was not that much of a dif-
ference between Israel and the
Jewish people in general. He
thought there was.
He especially thought that the
younger peple who had not liv-
ed through the Holocaust,
did not feel very closely iden-
tified with Israel, etc. He
said that from time to time,
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