The Chronicles journalistic blunder

Unlike some members of our community, we don't believe the San Francisco Chronicle is biased against Israel.

However, we do believe the newspaper committed a journalistic blunder by ignoring Sunday's pro-Israel rally of 5,000 to 7,000 Jews in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza. At least six other area newspapers and seven TV stations thought it was important enough to cover.

The Chronicle didn't run a word about the event on Monday. On Tuesday, it finally acknowledged the local rally by inserting a single sentence into a story about the 100,000-strong pro-Israel rally in Washington.

Phoned by numerous people in the Jewish community, Chronicle readers' representative Dick Rogers said he was writing a column to address "the screw-up."

In addition, Yumi Wilson, the deputy readers' representative, sent a letter of apology to Jewish community members who complained, saying,"We blew it."

The newspaper certainly did. What's astonishing is that two Chronicle reporters visited the rally at different times on Sunday. Both told their editor that there weren't very many people at the event.

Yet at 3 p.m. when the rally got under way, those trying to enter the plaza were wedged against those in front of them. The crowd continued to surge until the rally ended at 5 p.m. And all of this happened on a sunny day when the Giants were playing at home.

Why didn't the Chronicle reporters ask the police for a crowd estimate, as we did?

As for the Chronicle's other argument that this rally didn't add anything new to the dispute, we can only respond with a question: When was the last time a rally filled Justin Herman Plaza? When was the last time a community with only 90,000 Jewish households marshaled 5,000 to 7,000 people to attend any event, let alone a rally? Isn't that news?

Rogers of the Chronicle acknowledged that indeed it is. His forthcoming column "about our Mideast coverage…addresses what I consider to be the screw-up in our coverage of the demonstration."

We appreciate Rogers' gracious acknowledgment of his paper's bad news judgment and look forward to his column. We also look forward to better treatment from Northern California's leading daily.