Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Predetermined Conclusions

The main difference between the media in democracies and in autocracies is that in the latter the fourth estate is controlled by the government and acts as its cheerleader while in the former, journalists believe themselves to be the most enlightened members of society and its directors through their position of influence.
Since the majority of major Western new outlets are biased to the left, this generally means acting as cheerleaders when left-wing, so-called progressive governments are in power and as holier-than-thou critics when the right wing manages to win elections.
Nowhere is this more evident than when Israel puts the Likud into a position of power. Being right wing, it is seen as the enemy by both the Israeli and international press. Never mind evaluating the ideas Bibi and co. might have for any possible merit. If the Likud wants it, it is bad. Unless it's what the press wants, of course, and then it's good because Bibi's finally seen the light.
This article from Ynet notes the following:
One day during the recent Passover vacation, I read in the newspaper about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family’s brief trip to the north of the country.
The news item was friendly and supportive; it provided details about the meal enjoyed by the Netanyahu family at a northern restaurant, made note of the fact that the family did everything in order to prevent traffic jams in the area, and also shared a little information about the deep knowledge displayed by Avner, the prime minister’s son, who possesses a rare familiarity with history.
Yet on the other hand, the story’s headline was disgusting and outrageous. “After 12 days on the job,” it said there, “prime minister takes his first vacation.”
In my mind I could see the editor of the news page reading the description of the vacation at night and feeling not too comfortable with it. The story must have appeared too nice to him; too sympathetic. He must have subsequently asked himself: Why not come up with a mean headline that would ruin the lovely atmosphere?
After all, this editor must have voted for
Tzipi Livni, or perhaps for Meretz, so it is difficult for him to be happy for Netanyahu. This editor must have found it difficult to accept the change of government in Israel (after all, nobody would be able to convince me that such headline was drafted based on purely professional motives.)
During Netanyahu’s previous term as prime minister, this was the atmosphere all the time. The feeling one got was that the media cannot forgive him for daring to defeat
Shimon Peres, and on top of that, for doing that right after late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.
I think that the media, as well as Netanyahu, have reached this round softer, yet this apparently does not pertain to the above-mentioned editor, who views a trip that took half a day as a “vacation,” and a prime minister (who also happens to be a father to young children) who takes half a day to himself during the holiday as a free-rider.

No doubt had Tzipi Livni won the election, the vacation would have been portrayed in an exclusively positive light. Look, the same editor would have printed, she's a busy prime minister but still has time to take off for her family.
With the continuing growth of the internet, traditional media is becoming ever-more irrelevant. And as opposed to before where large segments of the population of a country might be hostage to the opinions of their national news editors, today's information consumer is able to seek out friendly ideas and news outlets to counter the biased vitriol that the left calls "news and opinions". Hopefully this will only accelerate as the Israeli left's media falls over itself to prove its lack of objectivity in the next 4 years.
If Netanyahu is smart, he'll read my blog and realize that the best way to deal with his political and media enemies is to concentrate on domestic issues for the next couple of years. If he's talking about economic recovery, a more sane medical system and a revamp of the educational system while his opponents insist on making it all about giving everything away to the country;s enemies, he will push them into irrelevancy even quicker.


David said...

Yesterday evening, NPR referred to the Israeli government as "Israel's right-wing government." They never seem to have any loaded characterizations of the Palestinian government (e.g., "the rabidly anti-Semitic Palestinian government" or "the terrorist Palestinian government"). Wonder why?

Garnel Ironheart said...

It's not just that. Someone in one of our national papers wrote in something else that in retrospect is obviously biased: So Avidgor Leiberman is a former nightclub bouncer. So what? Why does every mention of his name came as "Israel's foreign minister, former night club bouncer Avigdor Lieberman..."