For an organization designed to report facts, Reuters appears to be disturbingly unaware of what a fact actually is:
JERUSALEM, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A week of international remembrances marking the Holocaust reaches a climax on Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps.Why on earth is it necessary to cite Yad Vashem here? A fact is a fact, no matter who vouches for its truth or alleges its falsehood.
Following are seven facts about the Holocaust, the state-sponsored persecution and genocide of European Jews and others by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.
-- Nearly six million Jews were murdered in Europe as part of Adolf Hitler's "Final Solution" to what the Nazi dictator called the Jewish problem, according to Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to the victims.
Math textbooks don't say, "2 + 2 = 4, according to Stephen Hawking."
Encyclopedias don't state, "Albany is the capital of New York, according to George Pataki."
And sports websites don't read, "The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, according to Curt Schilling."
Those things are facts. They're not true "according to" some source. For Reuters to cite Yad Vashem as the backer of the six million figure is to suggest that another group could just as well come up with a much lower tally.
Now, it's pretty clear from the overall article that Reuters acknowledges that a large number of Jews were killed. So why am I being so picky?
At a time when Russian politicians are demanding a nationwide ban on all Jewish groups, when a Spanish city sponsors an electronic billboard calling Israelis the "New Nazis", and when "62% of Germans are sick of all the harping on about the Jews", I'm not prepared to accept the tiniest bit of fudging about what happened during the Holocaust.
And that's a fact.