Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Our Israeli Media, Our Dangerous Media

From Evie Gordon:

...Israel journalists don’t like either Barak or his boss, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. They loathe Netanyahu for refusing to make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians; they loathe Barak for joining Netanyahu’s government and then splitting the Labor Party to remain there; and they loathe both men for their hawkish line on Iran. So anyone who opposes Netanyahu and Barak is guaranteed a sympathetic media ear, especially if he portrays himself as being victimized for his “moderate” political views.

And that’s precisely what the politically savvy Ashkenazi did: He told the media Barak hated him because he opposed a rash attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. And since this fit neatly into the media’s preconceived narrative, journalists lapped it up and sought no further...

... the media’s bias condemned Israel to years of an incredibly dangerous situation – one in which its two top defense officials were barely on speaking terms – by depriving Barak of the usual democratic remedy: He couldn’t simply fire Ashkenazi and appoint a new chief of staff, because the media would have crucified him...

... What else are we not being informed of due to the media’s ideological bias?

In an unwittingly revealing op-ed last week, Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit wrote that Ashkenazi considered his insubordination legitimate because he was “subordinate to four elected officials that the public considered illegitimate – prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, and defense ministers Amir Peretz and Barak.” I have no idea whether Ashkenazi actually thought this. But Shavit clearly does, and so do many of his colleagues...

...on what grounds does Shavit conclude that the public considers Netanyahu “illegitimate”?

There’s only one possible answer: What Shavit means is that the media considers Netanyahu illegitimate. It dislikes his positions and doesn’t want him as premier. And therefore, all’s fair in the effort to undermine his government – even undermining Israel’s security by idolizing an insubordinate officer consumed with petty politics, and thereby precluding his dismissal.

As long as this remains true, the public has no hope of getting honest information from the media about any government action, any more than it did on the Barak-Ashkenazi feud. That’s a devastating indictment of Israel’s media – and far more dangerous to the country’s long-term health than any spat at the top of the defense establishment.

Now you know why we need Israel's Media Watch?

1 comment:

NormanF said...

What has Israel's media been telling us about the nature of the Hamas threat from Gaza? Apart from its dislike of Israel's current government, it can't be depended on to accurately inform Israelis about the dangers their country faces.

In short, Israel's most dangerous threat may well not come from the Arabs but from Israel's unelected Fourth Estate itself.