A similar campaign to disparage frum Yidden in the religious Jewish media has been underway for some time. Cloaked deceptively in a religious veneer, using Yiddish names and faces, the relentless disparaging of the Torah community by anonymous bloggers, and certain publications, is diluting the power of Torah and halacha among religious Jewry in our society.
Many of the individuals who habitually undermine our community’s values using purported “news reporting” are emboldened by the built-in anonymity of the internet. They prey on the public’s weakest tendencies. These people, if identified, would draw scorn for their outrageous character assaults and gossip-mongering. They would be pitied for how far they have drifted.
Yet, these people, by virtue of their access to the public through a so-called “religious” blog, have the ability to promote their agenda.
The high cost of publishing once restricted people from foisting their misguided agendas upon an unsuspecting public through the printed word. Slick, colorful publications that would entice a broad range of readers are simply very costly. The internet, though, is free. Anyone can post their views on the internet and have the public read them at no charge.
Thus, the purveyors of daily doses of scandal and morbidity are able to draw in a wide circle of unsuspecting readers. A person surfing the internet for interesting tidbits and “hock“, satiates his appetite for shallow entertainment without much effort.
Taking Aim at the Frum Community
Unaware of how they are being manipulated, these surfers easily fall prey to a dangerous and cynical mischaracterization of the frum community. They once rightfully viewed frum people as an upstanding group with a few rotten apples. They knew that you can’t impugn the character of an entire community because of the actions of a few.
But after being exposed to a steady barrage of gossip, depicting one religious person after another as a lawbreaker, one’s attitude naturally becomes poisoned. Malicious speculation regarding the motives of rabbis and other community leaders, as well as entire groups, casting them as hypocritical or irresponsible, compounds the outrage.
On these blogs, religious leaders are consistently vilified. They can do no good. Regardless of what they do, their actions are twisted and portrayed as evil. When that fails, their motives are questioned and they are portrayed as corrupt, willing tools of strongmen.