Role of the Media

Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post duel over democracy

It wasn’t a border dispute so much as a margin dispute. More to the point, it was the highly-flammable material between the margins that fueled last week’s clash over press freedoms and democracy between two of Israel’s most influential newspapers. Compared with the leading Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot (published only in Hebrew and with a weekday circulation of 350,000), the dailies Haaretz (50,000 per weekday) and The Jerusalem Post, (a mere 15,000 per weekday) are not the biggest players on the Israeli media market. But both Haaretz and The Post command an influence beyond their numbers in Israel. Must-reading among visiting diplomats and journalists, the weekly international edition of The Post, and the two papers’ English Web sites draw large numbers of American Jews, thereby informing the Middle East debate within the world’s largest, most powerful Jewish Diaspora community. So when Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken floated the charge that Israeli press freedoms where in jeopardy, word washed up on American shores.” Jacob Laksin writes in 

Illuminating Thomas Friedman

A webpage on Thomas Friedman, maintained by Farrar, Straux & Giroux, declares that as the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, he is in a “unique position to interpret the world for American readers. Twice a week, Friedman’s commentary provides the most trenchant, pithy, and illuminating perspective in journalism.” M. Shahid Alam pitches in. 

The two faces of Ha'aretz

“Dear reader, as Israel slides ever deeper into a morass of racism and ethnic solipsism, please do not rely too heavily on Haaretz to understand how or why this ‘light unto the nations’ has grown so dim.” Jonathan Cook examines the politically significant differences between the English and Hebrew versions of a newspaper thought to be the conscience of Israel. 

The human cost - 'Does Tony have any idea what the flies are like that feed off the dead?'

On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind. “Just for the record,” the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage. The things we see — the filth and obscenity of corpses — cannot be shown. First because it is not “appropriate” to depict such reality on breakfast-time TV. Second because, if what we saw was shown on television, no one would ever again agree to support a war. Robert Fisk writes in The Independent. 

UK media warned over terrorism reporting

John Wadham, director of the human rights watchdog Liberty, has warned of a “substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice” arising from the reporting of the recent terrorist arrests in Manchester and London. Mr Wadham said the addition of “government, MI5 and media spin” to the reporting of the arrests could unduly influence juries when the terrorist suspects’ cases come to court. Ciar Byrne reports in The Guardian. 

False witnesses: A shot across the bow of mainstream media

“Since the creation of Israel in 1948, its supporters have been highly successful in ensuring that Israel’s version of its and its neighbours’ histories has been accepted as received truth. Dents have been made, notably by Israel’s own historians as they have had greater access to official documents, in the Zionist myths. But they have usually been hammered out with alacrity, both by Israel and our domestic broadcasters.”
Tim Llewellyn, welcoming the ITC’s acquittal of John Pilger’s film “Palestine is still the issue” from false charges of undue bias, raises unsettling questions about mainstream media compliance with offical Israeli spin. 

UK TV documentary cleared of charges of anti-Israel bias

UK television regulators have cleared John Pilger of breaking broadcasting rules in his documentary, “Palestine is still the issue,” which attracted more than 100 complaints from viewers. The regulator ruled that the TV network, Carlton, had provided “persuasive evidence of the care and thoroughness with which it was researched.” Louise Jury reports in The Independent. 

Fundamentalisms, media, and the new McCarthyism: how demagogues are hijacking Washington, DC

“It is increasingly clear that Arabs and Muslims are the new enemy in Washington, a national capital that many find reminiscent of the dark days of the McCarthy Era.” A presentation delivered by EI’s Laurie King-Irani at the seventh annual “Common Terms: The Dialogue of Civilizations” conference sponsored by the Imam Musa Sadr Foundation, 13 December 2002, in Beirut, Lebanon.