Discovery Just Can’t Help Itself: It Has to Tell Semi-Truths

Look at this absurd headline: ‘Netanyahu’ Seal From Eighth Century B.C. Found

Well that’s just incorrect isn’t it. The seal doesn’t bear a ‘Nun’ it bears a ‘Mem’. It doesn’t say ‘Netanyahu’ it says “Metanyahu’. To be sure, these are similar words and they carry the same intent and meaning- but one is what’s actually found on the seal and the other is a blatant attempt to say something the seal doesn’t.

And then doth the writer write

A 2,700-year-old seal bearing a name similar to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been unearthed near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

‘Similar to’ is correct- so why doesn’t the headline say that? Because the headline wants to misrepresent what the seal actually says and for some reason ‘contemporize’ it. I suppose that’s what sells and that, at the end of the day, is always Discovery’s motive.

Found within the remains of a building dating to the First Temple period‭ ‬ –- between the end of the eighth century B.C. and 586 B.C. — the seal is made of a semiprecious stone.

So, again, why does the headline say ‘8th century’ when that’s merely one end of the age range? Because Discovery likes to hook folk in with half-truths. Now that they have the reader’s attention they may or may not get the facts right. Unfortunately lots of dilettantes will see the headline and never notice the contents of the ‘report’. And they’ll run around saying ‘Netanyahu was found on an 8th century seal!’ Neither of which is true.

According to the ancient Hebrew inscription, it belonged to Matanyahu, who was the son of a man whose name started with the letters “Ho” : ‭”Lematanyahu Ben Ho ‭… “‬ (meaning:‭ “Belonging to Matanyahu Ben Ho ‭…”‬).‭ ‬ Unfortunately, the rest of the inscription is erased. ‭

And unfortunately, Discovery is more interested in sensationalistic headlines than factual ones.

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2 thoughts on “Discovery Just Can’t Help Itself: It Has to Tell Semi-Truths

  1. Gabe Moskovitz 2 May 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I agree with you. Sensationalizing a find, particularly when a modern political flavor is added is somewhat deceitful. The find is significant enough to stand on its own merit.
    While we are on the subject, I might further comment that I would translate Natanyahu as ‘God gave’ which I take to mean that the parents who named the child thus were praising or testifying to God’s bounty in that God gave or created this child. Matanyahu is similar (but not exact as you correctly point out) with a meaning of ‘Giving of God’ or, better stated, ‘Gift of God’ again a testament of the parents to God’s bounty for giving or gifting this person by creating him.

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  2. Chuck Grantham 2 May 2012 at 4:10 pm

    People are used to ranges in time of death on all the CSI and mystery TV shows; why do they have a problem with ranged archaeology date ranges?

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