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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Note On The Ethics Of Muckraking


I've been ghostwriting for a client and got hired again, thank God, to write a follow-on article.

The client is upset about the many abuses of power they have observed in the Jewish Orthodox world.

I have become conscious about the fact that corruption-hunting can easily degenerated into toxic hate.

I am concerned that my voice will be used as a tool of hatred against religion, Judaism, and Jewish people.

The first draft of the first article was unfortunately headed in that direction. I gave it to the client too soon. Fortunately I was able to provide a second version in time. 

The final draft did not contain hateful language, and it had the right message of balance: evidence-based concern linked with a forward path. A positive attitude. Hope. Maybe even healing.

Last night I talked to the client and put my concerns out front. We are in the Days of Repentance now. I don't want my work to make any more hatred ("sinas chinam"). I am turned off by how much hatred I see in the OTD/activist community.

My client smiled when I expressed this concern. It was a video call and I could perceive that her soul had lit up. It was a flame that flickered bright, if only momentarily.

"I have seen too much," said the client. "I am weary."

It was difficult for me to assert my idealism given that the client sees horrible things every day which I could never deal with. But I felt good about trying anyway.

My email to the client ended off with a prayer that God should bless our work so that it actually helps people.

In your haste to do the right thing or to make a buck (or both), please don't destroy anyone's faith. Don't make people hate on other people either.

Hate the behavior, not the person.

If you catch me breaking this rule please go ahead and call me out.

In God's eyes all of us are precious flowers.
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Copyright 2017 by Dannielle Blumenthal Ph.D. All rights reserved. Photo copyright 2017 by Dr. Blumenthal.