Monday, February 1, 2010

The Full Report: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Hatred on the Huffington Post


Continued from the introduction to this report, here

The Stimulus And The (Approved) Response:
Anti-Semitism and Israel-Hatred on Huffington Post

By "Huff-Watcher"

Note: This report was originally published in January 2010 at FrontPageMag. It was reviewed by Powerline, IsraelMatzov, the Jewish Internet Defense Forces, CAMERA and others.

Click here for the full report in PDF
("HuffPost") was recently named "the most powerful blog in the world" by The Guardian (UK). The publisher of the Washington Post said her paper "could learn" from HuffPost (which recently surpassed the Post in user traffic). Time recently called HuffPost the second-best blog of 2009.

With 9.5 million visitors per month, top members of Congress and the entertainment industry as "bloggers" (official article writers), access to presidential press conferences, and advertising from the world’s largest corporations, HuffPost — which defines itself as "The Internet Newspaper" has unquestionably become a factor in American politics and culture.

At HuffPost’s debut in May 2005, Arianna Huffington, the site's co-founder and Editor-In-Chief, claimed that her site would operate according to a higher standard than its competitors:

"If you're looking for the usual flame-throwing, name-calling, and simplistic attack dog rhetoric... don't bother coming to the Huffington Post."

Over the past several years, however, numerous critics have alleged that HuffPost bloggers harbor an anti-Israel bias (1, 2), and that the site tolerates user comments containing incendiary anti-Semitism (1, 2, 3). Two noted HuffPost bloggers also have weighed in on this issue:
  • In October 2007, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz accused HuffPost of censoring his articles "because they conflicted with its hard-left editorial line on Israel," a charge that it denied.
  • In June 2009, Columbia professor Lincoln Mitchell claimed that on nearly every HuffPost news story concerning international issues (regardless of the topic), he and his friends find that it usually takes no more than ten comments before users are finding a way to blame Jews.

In April 2009, media watchdog CAMERA produced a report that documented both HuffPost’s bias in the way it presents news stories concerning Israel, and the hateful user comments that appear on the associated threads.With the exception of its brief denial of Dershowitz’s allegation, HuffPost has not responded to any of these critics.

HuffPost has, however, occasionally responded to the overall issue of user-generated hate speech on its site. After several such incidents were exposed in the national media (1, 2, 3, 4), Ms. Huffington claimed the site has "a zero tolerance policy" for hate speech of any kind, and works diligently against it. She dismissed such incidents as being the responsibility of "a miniscule minority" of "clearly unhinged, fringe" users, and "anonymous, trouble-making trolls" (hit-and-run users), whose comments are deleted as soon as the site becomes aware of them.

HuffPost’s explanation hinges one key premise, articulated in its Comment Policy: that the site "post-moderates" user comments on its news threads. This means that HuffPost passively allows all comments to be automatically published as and when submitted, and only removes those that violate its policy after-the-fact.

This report, the result of several years of close observation of HuffPost, reveals the following facts:
  • Since March 2008, and to some extent since October 2007, HuffPost has been pre-moderating all user comments on its news stories. This means that the only comments that have appeared on HuffPost’s news threads since that time are those that it reviewed, approved and decided to publish. See Section 2.
  • HuffPost consistently "frames" news stories concerning Israeli affairs in a way that incites inaccurate and/or unjustifiably negative perceptions of the Jewish state, and particularly its military. It does this primarily through the use of (a) inflammatory, misleading and/or decontextualized headlines and headline imagery, and (b) its use of "news" sources that harbor known or easily-discovered anti-Israel (if not pro-Islamist) biases — including the terrorist-friendly, notorious al Jazeera..See Section 4 and here.
  • Many of the most persistent, egregious violations of HuffPost’s comment policies are perpetrated not by unknown "trolls" — but rather, by a group of long-term radical leftists, some of whom it has permitted to essentially "live" on the site for 8-18 hours a day, for one to four years. These users’ violations occur almost exclusively on HuffPost’s top news thread, where the bulk of its moderators’ and users’ attention is focused at any given moment. Although HuffPost "banned" several of these users (including those whom it knew threatened and urged violence), it fully reinstated them soon thereafter, and has permitted them to post up 40,000 or more comments over one or more years. Documented in a special report here.
  • While many of the radical leftists who congregate at HuffPost express varying degrees of anti-Israel propaganda, the most virulent anti-Semitic hatred, libels and conspiracy theories are espoused by a minority subset of these users. This is reflective of the phenomenon now referred to as "the leftist-Islamist convergence" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) [1]
  • HuffPost routinely censors and bans users who speak out against its "resident" radical leftists — even though they do not violate the site’s comment policy, or at least nowhere near the degree to which it permits these leftists to violate it. Documented in Sections 7 & 8, here.

(1) Early examples of anti-Semitic user comments that have appeared on HuffPost

The following is a sampling of the user comments that have appeared on HuffPost’s news threads from 2006 and 2007 — mostly, but not exclusively on stories concerning Israel. First up: "JewsRevilScum," who was able to spew the following for at least nine consecutive days:
Israel should be pushed into the ocean. Fucking deceiving lying PIGS. No wonder they don't eat pork, they ARE pigs.
By: JewsRevilScum on July 17, 2006 at 4:06am
[screencap; user account is active; 29 comments; here]

If America was interested in solving the problem all they would have to do is cut off funding to Israel. Either that or just nuke the fuck out of that little shitty state of beanie wearing bastards who consider themselves arrogantly 'chosen people'. Waste them now and save the whole world a lot of furthur headache.
By: JewsRevilScum on July 17, 2006 at 6:26am

My nephew is in Haifa.
By: Thalia on July 26, 2006 at 12:34pm

Tell it to someone who gives a shit. Blast Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa off the map.
By: JewsRevilScum on July 26, 2006 at 12:53pm

More, from 2006 — from users with up to 6,000 comments* in their archives (*see "spiritquest"):
We will see how far Israel pulls back. If they try and take the Litani River, Hezbollah will attack again and well they should. Only next time send those missiles to Tel Aviv....blast those beanie wearing pigs to hell, where they belong.
By: SatanLefttheUSA on August 16, 2006 at 11:08am
[screencap; user account is active; 819 comments here]

The Zionist controlled sports organizations, are all a plot to rattle the nerves of the spectator. Hot Dogs anyone, at prices higher than the price of a gallon of gasoline and going up by the minute [...] Suck the coins right out of your pockets, steal every cent you have, so you can go 'whoopee we win'. It's all take and no give, just rake in more [...]
By: RandyRanson on August 22, 2006 at 12:37pm
[screencap; user account is active; 3,925 comments here]

Of course jews don't run show business, it is just a coincidence that they manage to get into the show business news every minute.
By: bernarda on August 25, 2006 at 4:16pm
[screencap; user account is active; 386 comments here]

[...] Israel is the racists fascists country intent on stealing Arab land oil and water. [...] THE ISRAEL LOBBY, it runs Washington...
By: spiritquest on August 26, 2006 at 2:52pm
[screencap; user account is active; 6,412 comments here]

The following comments, from 2007, are from users who now have amassed up to 17,000 others* in their archives (*see "forpeace"):

Is there a Nation out there that will STOP the JEWS from killing innocent woman and children once and for all ?
I just cant wait for the next Hollocaust, it will be faster and cleaner now that Seimens built a 500 seater Microwave Oven.
By: BUSHCHENEYOILNAZIS on April 07, 2007 at 04:49am
[screencap user account is active; 1,005 comments here]

When Israel says they "Targeted Militants", it always means they killed some poor Civilians mostly Women and Children.
By: forpeace on April 06, 2007 at 08:17pm
[screencap; user account is active; 16,942 comments here]

On the same day that those scumbag Jewish soldiers shot and killed two men in the back, they shot another in the legs and left him to bleed to death.This happens every single day. Israels will shoot Palestinians and leave them to bleed to death, preventing medical personnel to reach them and forcing their families to watch their loved ones die. [...]
By: tellintruth on April 07, 2007 at 12:46am
[screencap; user account is active; 802 comments here]

It's Good Friday, so of course somebody had to die..Shalom..
By: TJTelecaster on April 06, 2007 at 10:17pm
[screencap; user account is active; 2,084 comments here]

(2) The proof that HuffPost has been pre-moderating its user comments since (at least) March 2008 — despite its ongoing denials of this fact in its Comment Policy

The following is a condensed version of a comprehensive report on this matter, here.

For years, and to the present day, HuffPost’s Comment Policy has claimed that the site "post-moderates" comments on its news threads — in summary, only removing objectionable content only after it had been posted. As described below, this has not been true for a very long time.

In early and mid-2007, several instances of outrageous user comments on HuffPost were exposed in the national media — including their regrets that the Taliban’s recent attempt to murder Vice President Cheney was unsuccessful. In October 2007, HuffPost placed an indicator (right) atop each news thread, identifying how many comments were "pending," meaning it was reviewing them — and deciding whether to publish or reject them.

In January 2008, on a story concerning Israel, while 16 comments were published, 175 were stuck in "pending." In February 2008, more instances of outrageous user comments were exposed in the national media — particularly regarding users’ death wishes against Nancy Reagan while she was hospitalized. Yet as is shown in the video below, Ms. Huffington still alleged that such comments (a) are essentially freak incidents that accidentally slip through, and that they (b) are removed as soon as HuffPost becomes aware of them:

In early March 2008, HuffPost’s Community Manager formally announced that the site was going to begin pre-moderating all user comments on its news threads, and that it had 15 (soon 18) moderators working 24-7 on this task. From then on, all comment-submission boxes contained a statement, "All comments are moderated."

Users immediately began to complain about how long it was taking for their comments to appear. This prompted a sympathetic response from HuffPost’s Community Manager. At the same time, a new status bar (below) began appearing on every HuffPost news thread, as it has to the present day. It shows how many comments are "pending," meaning that they are awaiting HufPost’s review, and its decision as to whether to publish or reject them. As noted, this status bar states that only those comments that are "approved" would appear on the site:

This was all confirmed by Ms. Huffington in a July 2008 interview. When asked to identify the biggest mistake HuffPost made since its debut, she replied:

"From the beginning, I would have established a policy of pre-moderating all comments on the site... [O]ur comments on the news site were originally post-moderated (i.e., objectionable comments were removed only after our moderators were alerted). We eventually decided that it was worth the substantial effort and expense to have human pre-moderation on both blogs and news."

Thus, according to HuffPost itself, all the comments that have appeared on its news threads since at least March 2008 (and to some extent since October 2007) including all those containing anti-Semitic hatred, libels, threats and conspiracy theories — were the result of its conscious decision to publish them.

To see a comprehensive report on this matter, click here.

To see a comprehensive report on how HuffPost has protected the worst-of-the-worst radical leftist violators of its comment policies --- including anti-Semites, even a user who acknowledged he was interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service in his home for his threats on HuffPost against President Bush --- click here.

(3) HuffPost’s repeated claims that it is nonpartisan and professional in its news coverage - versus the reality

Since its debut in May 2005, senior HuffPost executives have repeatedly claimed that the site is nonpartisan in its news reporting, and adheres to the highest levels of journalistic integrity:

"We are increasingly seen... as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news."
- Arianna Huffington, May 22, 2009

"[T]he news is not right-wing news or left-wing news, it's the news. And that will be the sensibility, that will basically permeate our news coverage."
- Arianna Huffington, May 3, 2005

The Huffington Post approach [is] "covering the news in a 21st-century kind of way" [in addition to] new ideas about balance and fairness...
- Conden Naste Portfolio interview with Betsy Morgan (CEO), November 14, 2007

"A lot of the discontent with traditional journalism is because too many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned."
- Arianna Huffington, July 29, 2008

"[Huffington] is offended and bewildered by the suggestion that other news outlets think she's getting a free ride. She sees herself as the future of journalism, not the end of it."
- Time interview with Arianna Huffington, May 19, 2009

Numerous critics from across the political spectrum, however, have opined on how, despite its statements to the contrary, HuffPost consistently presents news through a left-wing prism at best — and at worst, has employed smear campaigns and egregiously substandard "journalistic" practices. This archive documents numerous specific examples of HuffPost’s false/misleading headlines in recent years, with conservative individuals and organizations as its primary targets.

Nowhere, however, has HuffPost’s pathological bias been more evident than as it applies to Israel and Jews.

The following sections document elements of one sustained incident on HuffPost in which it unfairly denigrated Israel — its 2008 incursion into Gaza — and excerpts from the resulting torrent of incendiary, anti-Semitic user comments that it reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

(4) Operation Cast Lead: A prime example of how HuffPost incites anti-Israel perceptions and hatred

From 2006 to the present day, HuffPost has consistently applied a two-faceted bias to its coverage of news concerning Israel:

    1. It fashions stories in ways that incite negative perceptions of Israel, and particularly its military and political leadership — often on what are later discovered to be false, decontextualized or overblown allegations.

    2. It fails to cover or downplays stories that defend or exonerate Israel, when the original perceptions it incited are later determined to be false, decontextualized or overbown.

As Natan Sharansky noted, these acts and omissions are a subtle yet very real form of anti-Semitism. This archive contains a detailed accounting of some of the many instances of HuffPost’s anti-Israel bias — and the hate-filled user comments that it reviewed, approved and decided to publish, in response.

HuffPost's biased "reporting" reached a sustained zenith during Israel's December 2008 incursion into Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.
Israel initiated this defensive measure after Hamas refused a final demand that it stop attacking and terrorizing Israeli citizens.

This three-week conflict was the top story on HuffPost nearly every day. Rather than reporting on Israel’s actions in a fair, accurate and contextual manner, HuffPost:

  • Employed a continuous stream of inflammatory, biased headlines, headline images and reporting procedures, that consistently carried the Hamas/"PallyWood" depiction of events — with Israeli soldiers cast as thuggish villains, Palestinian civilians as their targets, and Hamas terrorists (often labeled as "security forces") as victims.

  • Uncritically employed what critics have solid reasons to believe were staged photographs ("fauxtography"), created to unfairly incite anti-Israel hatred.

  • Failed to mention that most if not all of the photos emanating from Gaza were produced by Hamas-affiliated "stringers," or foreign photographers who’d been authorized by Hamas, which limited and directed their travels, etc.

  • Did not feature any headlines or photos depicting Israeli victims of Hamas’s terrorism, or the damage that it caused to their property, facilities, etc. — the very acts that compelled Israel to initiate Cast Lead.

The following are four examples of how HuffPost applied its anti-Israel bias at points throughout Cast Lead. And as noted in the next section, many HuffPost users responded to this incitement by unleashing a sustained barrage of venomous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred, libels, propaganda and conspiracy theories. Some even voiced threats and urgings for violence against Jews and Israelis.

(Example 1) December 29 headline: "Israeli Assault Targets Symbols Of Hamas Power"

Photo caption: "The father of Palestinian Dena Balosha, 4, left, one of five members of the same family including three children and two teenagers who were killed in an Israeli missile strike [...]."

Analysis: This was the single most egregiously misleading and inflammatory headline and image that HuffPost employed throughout Cast Lead. HuffPost’s implication was that this little girl was "a symbol of Hamas Power," and that Israel mercilessly and maliciously struck her with deadly force. For unknown reasons (perhaps because this was such a grievous, anti-Semitic libel), at some point after February 1, 2008, HuffPost changed the headline image of this thread. It could not, however, change the URL, which contains the original headline wording; see top and bottom here.

(Example 2) December 31 headline: "Israel Rejects Truce Call, Attacks Gaza"

Photo caption:
"Palestinian Christian girls light candles during a
mass service in support of Gaza at the Latin Holy Family Church in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008."

Analysis: Israel was not "attacking" these children. To the contrary, all the known facts show that Israel was attempting to protect Palestinian civilians, including children, from the war crimes that Hamas was perpetrating against them, and the violence to which it was deliberately exposing them [2]. It is likely that this was pure "PallyWood" propaganda. Twice in 2008 alone, Hamas had been exposed after staging "candlelight" fauxtography — the most recent of which occurred less than 90 days earlier.

Further, a key strategy employed by Hamas and other Islamist terror groups is to call for "truces" when their murderous acts result in a forceful response [3]. These calls are often echoed by "humanitarian" groups. The actual purpose of these calls, however, is to give their terrorists time to rest, re-arm and re-strategize, then apply what they’ve learned when they provoke another conflict with Israel. There is an Islamic term for this "pause" strategy: a "hudna."

HuffPost did not address any of the above in this story, or in any of the other stories it published during or after Cast Lead.

(Example 3) January 2 headline: "Israel, Washington Discuss International Monitor To Ensure End To Rocket Attacks"

Analysis: Based on well-documented precedent [4], there are solid reasons to suspect that the supposed pacifists depicted in this headline image, painting doves on a wall in Gaza, was a staged "PallyWood" production. The implication was clearly to depict Hamas terrorists and their supporters as innocent victims, yearning for peace, and Israel as being unwilling to allow this peace to take root.

The user comments that HuffPost published in response to this headline (see next section) validate that many readers adopted this distorted view of the conflict.

(Example 4) January 10 headlne: "Israel Tells Gazans: Prepare For Escalation Of Military Offensive"

Photo caption:
"Palestinians crowd to receive food aid at a United Nations food distribution center in Shati refugee camp in Gaza City."

Analysis: In addition to trying to protect Gaza civilians from the harm from its defensive actions against Hamas, Israel had even been providing them with food, and humanitarian and medical aid — just as it has been doing for years [5]. Yet as had been reported only four days earlier, Hamas had been caught stealing the U.N. supplies destined for Gaza civilians. In an effort to stop the incendiary libels against it, the IDF even set up a live video-feed of its Gaza border crossing, to show the hundreds of aid trucks it was permitting to enter the region.

HuffPost did not address any of the above in this story, or in any of the other stories it published during or after Cast Lead.

(5) A sampling of the anti-Semitic user comments that HuffPost reviewed, approved and decided to publish on its Operation Cast Lead news threads


  • When Operation Cast Lead erupted, HuffPost had been pre-moderating user comments on its news threads for at least nine months (since early March 2008).

  • HuffPost reviewed, approved and decided to publish all of the following 18 comments while up to 1,000 or more other comments were "pending" (under its review).

  • The following 18 comments, presented in chronological order, are a sampling of the hundreds from HuffPost’s Cast Lead threads, which have been compiled into a comprehensive archive.

  • The data beneath each comment confirms its existence, the user’s status as of mid/late 2009, and how many comments are/were in his/her HuffPost archive.

  • As noted, HuffPost has permitted a number of these users to post 20,000 or more comments* under the same screen names, over a period of one to four years (*see "rich_misty," "peacekitten," "Mogamboguru").

  • (1) Usman
    Time to Ki** your Isr**li friends! Third Intifada!
    Posted 10:09 PM on 12/27/2008
    [screencap; user was banned, but got up to at least 265 comments here, here]

    (2) JeffRenseRadio
    A great time is capturing a jpiggie, taking his beanie and wiping my a$$ with it, then cramming that and his z i on aiz star of david flag down his jpiggie throat...
    Posted 06:39 AM on 12/29/2008
    [screencap; user was banned]

    (3) ArabsRSemitesPointOut
    as long as there are Js on this planet there will never be peace.....
    Posted 05:00 AM on 12/30/2008
    [screencap; user was banned, but got up to at least 13 comments — 9 after this one, here, here]

    (4) markoze
    They all need to be rounded up and gassed
    Posted 05:03 AM on 12/30/2008
    [screencap; user account is active, but HuffPost removed all comments, here]

    (5) ArabsRSemitesPointOut
    [...] They should lock and load and destroy js where they sleep. The rest of the world is...
    Posted 04:43 AM on 12/30/2008
    [screencap; user was banned, but got up to at least 13 comments — 11 after the above, here, here]

    (6) murkor
    Those J ews really are e vil...
    Posted 12:55 AM on 01/02/2009
    [screencap; user account is active, but HuffPost removed all comments, here]

    (7) rich_misty
    [...] many pro-war supporters here since the conflict started are izzy agents and paid posters for the izzies.
    Posted 07:43 AM on 01/02/2009
    [screencap; user account is active; 41,308 comments here. Note: "Rich_misty" is one of the most notorious, long-term violators of HuffPost’s comment policies, and is an ardent anti-U.S. military, anti-Israel propagandist; see special report on how HuffPost has actively enabled and protected him, here.]

    (8) Mogamboguru
    And even many "Is-ra-el-ha-te-rs" are in fact, Is-rae-li pro-paga-ndists. Why? Because thus, the Is-ra-el-apo-loge-tics can point fingers at them and can always claim, how important and how justified Is-ra-el's measures to "def-end" herself aga-inst the pale-stin-ian "vio-lence" in fasct are.[...]
    Posted 07:50 AM on 01/02/2009
    [screencap; user account is active; 16,864 comments, here]

    (9) peacekitten
    i don't think that it's any coincidence at all that now that izr@el know that h@mas has the possibility of hitting a nvclear reactor, they *might* consider softening their position. funny how they had NO problem with wiping the pals off the face of the earth until they discovered they might actually be able to strike back in a meaningful way. proof that bullies like this are nothing but c0wards.
    Posted 08:11 AM on 01/02/2009
    [screencap 1 and 2; user account is active; 19,168 comments here]

    (10) SkepticHume
    [...] Just imagine: the tiny defenseless group standing up, all alone, against a major military power bent on oppressing and destroying a people..[...] Imagine escalating outrage against Is-ra-el around the world as pictures are seen of women holding limp little b0dies of children in their hands, crying, as an Is-ra-eli soldier aims an AK.-47 at her head. [...] With each civilian casualty [...] Is-ra-el gets closer to the regime in Germany that provided the impetus for the creation of Is-ra-el...
    Posted 02:49 PM on 01/03/2009
    [screencap; user account is active; 1,715 comments; here. Note: This is the alternate screen name of "HumeSkeptic," one of the most egregious, long-term violators of HuffPost’s comment policies, and as indicated above, an anti-Israel propagandist. HuffPost has enabled and protected him to post nearly 75,000 comments, under the same screen name, as documented here.]

    (11) Amennyc
    There's a reason they have been the most problematic group for thousands of years...
    Posted 09:03 AM on 01/04/2009
    [screencap; user account is active; 2,594 comments here]

    (12) RoyLewis
    There is a new name for America. Its called the Jewnited States of America... They control the media, the FED, most of the banks, always have a few in presidential admins including the upcoming one and control the entertainment industry... There is starting a huge backlash in America against them because people are finally waking up. Same as the germans did in the 30's...
    Posted 02:05 PM on 01/04/2009
    [screencap; user was banned]

    (13) areyoucrazy
    [...] Personally I hope Russia, China, Iran just unloads about 200,000 missiles on that little ra s cist country all at once. As for me, I am targetting all jooooooooos in my area, but when they get it they will never know what hit them...
    Posted 03:08 PM on 01/10/2009
    [screencap ; user was banned; but got up to at least 27 comments, here]

    (14) Ant
    Why is our government supporting women and children being k.illed off by I.srael? [...]
    Posted 05:43 PM on 01/10/2009
    [screencap; user account is active, 6,060 comments here]

    (15) LoRiseAntlers
    This is nothing but an extermination campaign [...]the IDF and the government of Israel are edge of genocide...
    Posted 06:15 PM on 01/10/2009
    [screencap 1, 2; user account is active; 1,374 comments here]

    (16) cordillera
    [Israel is] starving children [...] You've got one ally left - and if the Democrats wake up - that one is going to be shaky - no matter who AIPAC tries to buy
    Posted 06:43 PM on 01/10/2009
    [screencap 1, 2; user account is active; 347 comments here]

    (17) goldcoastsailor
    Why are Israelis always dancing after a massacre?
    Posted 09:29 AM on 01/19/2009
    [screencap; user account is active; 475 comments here]

    (18) TimeisalmostUp
    Because they are PIGS,.............that is why they don't eat would be considered cannibalism of their own...
    Posted 09:44 AM on 01/19/2009
    [screencap; user was banned, but got up to at least 114 comments, here, here, an estimated 100 of which were after the above]

(6) Recent examples of HuffPost’s incitement and toleration of anti-Semitic perceptions and user comments

The following five articles, excerpted from this extensive archive, demonstrate HuffPost’s continuing pattern throughout 2009 of (a) framing stories regarding Israeli affairs in a biased fashion, (b) failing to cover vital follow-ups and related stories, (c) using "news" sources with clear anti-Semitic/pro-Islamist biases over reputable alternatives, and/or (d) reviewing, approving and deciding to publish the explicit and implicit anti-Semitic user comments that its actions incited.

3/11/09: Fomenting anti-Israel hatred by telling only one side of the Charles Freeman withdrawal story
HuffPost routinely provides timely updates to its stories, both the vital and inconsequential ones. Yet when Freeman withdrew his nomination to a top national security post in the Obama administration, and blamed it all on the Jews, HuffPost did not post a single update to document the broad, bipartisan opposition to him in Congress, and the reasons behind it. Predictably, HuffPost then reviewed, approved and decided to publish the outpouring of anti-Semitic hate comments that this biased coverage resulted in.

4/2/09: Ax murder of an Israeli child: Who said it - A terrorist spokesman, or HuffPost users (with approval)?

One of the most grievous, shameful examples of the different approaches that HuffPost takes to covering a murder story — and its (supposed) comment moderation standards — depending on the religion and nationality of the victim, and the perpetrator.

5/29/09: Using a biased Arabic "news" source to present a distorted account of a terror suspect killed by the IDF
HuffPost used a demonstrably biased Arabic "news" source over credible sources to insinuate that the Israeli military murdered an individual described as an "activist." The real story, which was widely available 24 hours earlier, provided the facts. Predictably, the comments that HuffPost approved on this thread contain anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hate, libels and conspiracy theories.

8/4/09: Misleading headline sourced from... Al Jazeera (ill-informed, hateful comments ensue; HuffPost: Approved!!!")

What happens when HuffPost chooses to source a story concerning Palestinian evictions only from the notorious, terrorist-celebrating Al Jazeera — then allows anti-Semites to comment on it? This.

8/19/09: HuffPost publishes anti-Semitic blood libel without any proof; users unleash anti-Semitic hate (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

HuffPost chose to publish, on its front page and as teasers atop its main story pages, the Swedish newspaper blood libel that Israeli soldiers are murdering Palestinians to harvest their organs (with a possible link to U.S. Jews). The story itself revealed that the reporter had "no idea, no clue" if the allegations are true. Turns out the Palestinian family denied making the allegations — and it's medically impossible, anyway. Another instance of HuffPost's shoddy "journalism," and of it inciting — then approving — vicious anti-Semitic libels and conspiracy theories in its user comments.

And yet, as these two "tests" that Huff-Watch conducted show, while HuffPost publishes incendiary anti-Semitic hate comments, it censors identical comments targeted to Muslims, and rapidly bans the users submitting them, as part of a larger pattern of biased moderation practices, documented here.

(7) The troubling, larger implications of what is transpiring at HuffPost

Casual news consumers might expect that the only places on the Internet where one would encounter egregious anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bias, and tolerance of users’ hatred, propaganda and conspiracy theories would be websites run by fringe groups, such as neo-Nazis and radical Islamists.

As documented herein, however, incidents of this phenomenon are consistently occurring on HuffPost, which has become "legitimized" [6] — at least in part because of its claims that it is a nonpartisan news source:

  • Numerous top members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are official HuffPost bloggers, including Senators John Kerry, Carl Levin, Byron Dorgan, Robert Byrd, Barbara Boxer and Frank Lautenberg and Representatives John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Robert Wexler and many others.

  • Ms. Huffington recently testified before the U.S. Senate on "the future of journalism."

  • HuffPost has been given the opportunity to ask questions in presidential news conferences. In one instance, a HuffPost representative was given preferential treatment, to the consternation of established White House correspondents.

  • In America, HuffPost is the #1 political blogsite, the 15th most popular political website, and 98th most popular website of any kind. Globally, it is the #1 blogsite, and the 450th most popular website. [7]

  • Some of the world’s largest corporations advertise on HuffPost. [8]

  • HuffPost recently received funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies to establish an "investigative journalism" project. [9]

Given this "legtimitization," HuffPost is clearly helping to shape opinions and perceptions on important cultural and national security matters on an instantaneous, sustained and global basis.

The following are some additional reasons for deep concern about what is transpiring at HuffPost, in regards to Israeli and Jewish affairs:

Fact: According to Alexa (a Web traffic monitor), of the 9+ million unique visitors who visit HuffPost each month, an estimated 135,000 live in two of the nations most responsible for fomenting, supporting and exporting Islamist terror: Iran and Pakistan [10].
What could be attracting these particular users to HuffPost? The following may help to answer this question.

Fact: The Internet has become the primary medium through which radical Islamists and jihadists spread and reinforce their propaganda — a centerpiece of which is their incendiary anti-Israel, anti-Semitic libels and conspiracy theories [11]. Al Qaeda even has its own Web propaganda division [12]. One of these groups’ stated missions is to infiltrate Western websites to spread their messages of hate [13].
Questions: Are some of the users cited in this report affiliated with or sympathetic to these groups, posting comments from behind "American"-sounding screen names? Are they spewing their anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred, and posting links to propaganda sites (omitted from this report) on HuffPost because they have become aware of its biases? Do they forward links to HuffPost articles regarding Israel to others, as a means of "legitimizing" their propaganda?

In June 2009, HuffPost signed a deal with an advertising services firm that will help it sell ad inventory for territories outside of the U.S... (where) millions of consumers..." use the site as "one of the top online destinations for news."
Question: How many more global "news consumers" will be spurred to take an unjustifiably negative view of Israeli and Jewish affairs — if not develop or reinforce outright anti-Semitic hatred — based on HuffPost’s biased reporting and comment moderation procedures?

Taken in totality, HuffPost’s acts and omissions (a) help further stoke the anti-Semitism that is now resurgent around the world [14], (b) further spread and legitimize the worst possible perceptions of Israel, and (c) have a corrosive, if not subversive effect on both domestic and global discourse regarding Israeli affairs.

Given the contents of this report, HuffPost clearly has a choice to make:

To continue fashioning stories regarding Israeli affairs in such a biased fashion, and tolerating such vicious anti-Semitic hatred in its user comments — or —

To recommit itself to its stated, nonpartisan journalistic principles — and to stop making exceptions to its comment policy for those who wish to express anti-Semitic, anti-Israel hatred, libels, propaganda and conspiracy theories

If HuffPost chooses the second course, it should give the Israeli government and/or its military a platform from which to address the persistent vilification and libels that it has incited and tolerated against them over the past several years. For as Ms. Huffington said in a 2008 video interview, HuffPost is happy to provides a means for public figures to respond to accusations of serious wrongdoing against them: "If someone wants to smear you about something, come to us."

For more information

To send comments to, email Mario Ruiz, Vice President — Media Relations, at

To comment on this report, email huffwatcher1 (at)

Original content is (c) Copyright 2009-2010 All rights reserved.

This report was developed in part with the financial support of the Middle East Forum.

[1] For a more detailed discussion of this phenomenon, see Section 5 in Anti-Semitism 101 (and the Zionist canard), by Huff-Watch.

[2] See "Libel 1" and "Libel 2" in Answering the Libels, by Huff-Watch.

[3] Is The Media Fair In Its Portrayal Of The Israeli-Hamas Conflict?, Steven Emerson, The Investigative Project On Terrorism, January 7, 2009.
Israel's Awful Terrorist Pacts, Steven Emerson, The Investigative Project On Terrorism, July 16, 2008.

[4] See "PallyWood" — An introduction, and Answering the Libels, by Huff-Watch.

[5] See "Libel 1" and "Libel 2" at Answering the Libels by Huff-Watch; also, The Jewish Virtual Library, Myths Vs. Facts, specifically The Gaza War, and here.

[6] See "The Political Evolution And "Legitimization" Of HuffPost," by Huff-Watch.

[7] See Section 4 in Fast facts about HuffPost, by Huff-Watch.

[8] See Section 7 in Fast facts about HuffPost, by Huff-Watch.

[9] See Section 8 in Fast facts about HuffPost, by Huff-Watch.

[10] See Section 4 — 4.3 in Fast facts about HuffPost, by Huff-Watch.

[11] Terrorists Turn To The Web as Base Of Operations, by Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser, The Washington Post, August 7, 2005.
Jihadists Use Internet As Recruiting, Networking Tool, Intel Official Says, By John J. Kruzel, American Forces Press Service, March 5, 2007.
Jihadists Making Increasing Use Of Internet To Gain Recruits, by Robert Spencer, JihadWatch, March 6, 2009.
"E-Qaeda": Jihadist Use Of The Internet, by Tim Pippard, Jane’s Strategic Advisory Services, April 16, 2009.
Islamist Websites As An Integral Part Of Jihad: A General Overview, by Y. Yehoshua, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), February 21, 2007.
Glossy Internet Magazine Targets Americans For Jihad Training, by Eric Shawn, Fox News, May 1, 2009.
Islam in America Series: Internet Jihad, by Kathy Shaidle, RightSideNews, March 22, 2009.
Foxman Briefs Knesset On Internet Hate
, The Anti-Defamation League, February 19, 2008.
E-terrorism: The Powerful Weapons Of Islamic Jihad
, by Gianpietro Mazzoleni, The University of Milan, September 2005.
Anti-Israel Facebook Groups Infiltrated, By Paul Lungen, The Canadian Jewish News, September 25, 2008.
Osama bin Laden Fan Clubs Build Online Communities, by Kasie Hunt, USA Today, March 8, 2006.
Jihadis And The Internet, The National Coordinator For Counterterrorism (Netherlands), February 24, 2007.
The Use Of The Internet By Islamic Extremists
, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, by Bruce Hoffman, RAND Corporation, May 2006.

[12] Al Qaeda: 'Kicking Butt’ Online, by Leela Jacinto, France24, February 29, 2008.

[13] Global Islamic Media Front Instructs Islamists to Infiltrate Popular Non-Islamic Forums to Spread Pro-Islamic State Propaganda, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), June 14, 2007.
Symposium: Cyber Jihad
, by Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine, Thursday, February 28, 2008.
Protest Launched Against Facebook for Being Pro-Jihad, Anti-Israel
, by David Horowitz and Robert Spencer, JihadWatch, March 7, 2009.
Jihadist Forum Calls For 'YouTube Invasion
, The Telegraph (UK), December 4, 2008.
What to Do About Pixels of Hate, by Michael Moss, The New York Times, October 21, 2007.
Al Qaeda in Europe Recruiting Cyberjihadis, Whine About CIA Plot to Take Down Islamist Websites
, by Rusty Shackleford, MyPetJawa, August 31, 2007.

[14] "Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence," Two Cats Productions, for Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2007..See 56:00 video here.
"The Oldest Hatred," by David Horowitz, The Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2009.
The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism
, Bernard Harrison, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2006. Review by Commentary here.
"UK Anti-Semitism 'Surge' Since Gaza Attack,"
by Tim Moynihan, The Independent (UK), January 6, 2009.
"Anti-Semitic Crime 'Reaches High',"
BBC (UK), February 11, 2005.
"Surge in Anti-Semitic Crime Worries French Jews,"
Suzanne Daley, The New York Times, February 26, 2002.

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