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Are American media controlled mostly by Jews? is an act of hatred, just by the title.

The fundamental assumption, that 'Jews' are a category of people who could or would act in concert to 'control minds' is one of the hallmarks of the worst of antisemitism in the modern era.

I'm going to propose a title edit to make this site seem less like a platform for hate, but I wonder at the fact that this question got all those upvotes.

Note that I didn't propose that anyone close or delete the question. My problem is with the language; the question's title and text read like just another posting of this stuff. I would expect the question to have some, well, skeptical distance, something like:

Many books and sites make claims about 'Jewish control' or influence over the media or other fields. Here is a link to an example, is there any factual basis ?

Instead, the language of the question (including the off-hand offensive reference to percentage) and the embedding of the chart have no skeptical distance at all. The percentage reference offends because asking about 'percentage' of Jewish, or African, or Asian, 'blood' is an absolute hallmark of racism. No one else thinks in those terms.

On other sites of the SE network, an upvote doesn't just endorse the idea of asking the question; it endorses the particular form and choice of words of the question. As per the second sentence above, it is my view that the question was phrased so as to assume, and as a result push, a particular view: that Jews are a collective entity. There are other ways to phrase the question. In other words, as soon as you ask 'do Jews control the media' you are pushing the idea that it's valid to talk about 'Jews' as a well-defined thing that could control the media. The answers challenge this; I'm not making it up. I wished that the question had dissected it.

All this being written, I only washed up here because this question became your community's representative on the hot question list. I wasn't a participant here before, and I don't plan to become one, and it seems clear that as much meeting of minds as is going to happen on this subject has happened. Perhaps in the context of your community, this relatively offhand presentation of evil is normalized and harmless; but you aren't in fact operating in isolation.

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    There is no need to express personal incredulity about a claim in the question. It is more neutral to just state the claim and ask whether it is true. To characterize the claim as "extravagant" moves away from neutrality. The "off-hand" reference to percentage is not offensive, but simply a restating of the definition of "most". – user5582 Mar 24 '14 at 16:07
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    It seems to me that the more offensive the thing being held up for scrutiny, the more care is called for not accidently endorsing it by repeating it. Maybe my language is too strong in the opposite direction. Why if I omitted the word 'extravagant'? – bmargulies Mar 24 '14 at 18:58
  • I have made some changes - mainly notability, based on comments - that may also have had the effect of using distancing language. Please check to see if you find it acceptable now, better but still not acceptable, or not any better. – Oddthinking Mar 25 '14 at 0:59
  • I'm content. Thank you. – bmargulies Mar 25 '14 at 1:13
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Your question touches on a lot of related issues.

Are there taboo topics for Skeptics.SE? None have been found yet and race questions are explicitly permitted by the community.

The question should be phrased using respectful language but I think the question here isn't offensive. The nature of the claim is. If the title of the claim had used racist epithets, it would certainly be something to edit.

A more troubling issue - in that it hits at the very heart of the existence of Skeptics.SE - is whether taking a nonsense claim, and ripping it apart with evidence, serves to persuade humans that the claim is false or whether, perversely, it persuades them it is true. i.e. would it be better to not give oxygen to the false claimants? That is a bigger issue than this question, but I think it is fair to say the position of the community to date has been to shine a light on false claims.

I suspect (and strongly hope!) the number of upvotes does not reflect a community that is hoping to reveal the existence of a Jewish Media Cabal, but a community that is keen to have such claims exposed as falsehoods in a place where people on the fence can see the evidence for themselves.

  • As edited above, I don't agree that the question used respectful language. – bmargulies Mar 24 '14 at 11:42
  • Ok. I don't see it, but I understand I may be missing dog-whistling and the like. I'm quite comfortable with your suggested edit. – Oddthinking Mar 24 '14 at 12:26
  • I like this answer, this is what I think about when I think of skepticism. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a culture to Skeptics and perhaps a little groupthink sometimes. I think there are subjects that are taboo, or get peoples hackles up. This question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/19707/… was deemed to be out of the purview of science, so no scientific discussion was even allowed. – Mauser Mar 26 '14 at 13:53
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    I don't think your example supports your point. The Bible is not a taboo topic here as the tag attests. The question was closed because no scientific answer could address the supernatural claim. No amount of "scientific discussion"could answer "How strong is a bone wielded by a man infused with the spirit of God?" – Oddthinking Mar 26 '14 at 14:11
  • Why could it not? From reading the scripture it appears as if the man had the supernatural influence, not the bone. All you have to do is assume the bone is as strong as any other bone and see what you come up with. I don't even think the apparent supernatural is out of the purview of science, isn't that what science is about? Finding and developing knowledge to explain observations of the real world. – Mauser Mar 26 '14 at 14:35
  • To a skeptic, is anything really supernatural? Is the supernatural now a taboo subject? – Mauser Mar 26 '14 at 14:37
  • @Mauser: There are simple answers to all these questions, but we are way off-topic. Can we take it to chat, or would you like to post your own meta-skeptics question where all can see and discuss? – Oddthinking Mar 26 '14 at 23:59
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The question is on-topic. It is a notable claim that has been widely made and believed by more than a handful of people. The question is neutral as to whether the answer is yes or no. The current answer is a good one that debunks the specific claim and the table that the question is asking about.

  • The question is not neutral, as the language used takes the fundamental racist questions on-board, rather than holding them at a skeptical distance. – bmargulies Mar 24 '14 at 11:43
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    If somebody is going to ask about the truth of a claim that is offensive, it does not make sense to alter the nature of the claim to remove that offense. If the claim is offensive, so be it. It's still possible to ask a neutral question about an offensive claim, and we can still provide a skeptical answer. – user5582 Mar 24 '14 at 16:11
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We have a policy of allowing and handling questions about controversial topics, and we wish to continue to do so. We believe that racism and ignorance are most definitely not fought by hiding information, but by the correct representation of facts, which is what we aim to do.

For reference, this was the copy when you asked the present question:

Are American media controlled mostly by Jews?

Image below can be found on many sites. Is it accurate and representative? Is it true that American media is controlled mostly by people with Jewish origin (more than 50%)?

I understand that you object to the language, but there's nothing offensive in it. The question is neutral about the claim, this isn't hate speech.

As others have noted, the question is clearly not against Jews. The question is neutral, whereas the claim which is question is against Jews.

In other words, if you feel strongly about the issue and if you are convinced to have the facts on your side, put them together in a stellar answer and answer the question! It's a great chance to set the record straight. It is also the appropriate place to "put some skeptical distance"

Regarding the upvotes, they clearly mean two things:

  1. That people appreciate we take the time debunking this
  2. That the question is very popular, since votes are related to views

I wouldn't read anything else into them.

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