November 29, 2012

Continuing Construction at Shiloh

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:22 pm by yisraelmedad

FIFA’s Disaster

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:11 pm by yisraelmedad

The Gaza football stadium being put to good use:




Yes, Prosecute Hamas for War Crimes

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:37 am by yisraelmedad



MEDIA COMMENT: Micha Friedman – good or bad for Army Radio?

Posted in Media at 10:44 am by yisraelmedad

Micha Friedman – good or bad for Army Radio?


It is not surprising that Friedman feels at home in an army radio station which allows him to make sure the station does not serve the needs of the army. Indeed, under such circumstances our country would be better off without the station altogether.

Micha Friedman is one of the most influential anchors on Army Radio, the IDF radio station. In contrast to many others, Friedman, born in 1948, did not start his media career as a soldier. He was a paratrooper and participated in the fighting during the Yom Kippur War. His radio career starts in the early Eighties, and ever since, he has been a civilian employee of Army Radio. Incidentally, the vast majority of Army Radio anchors are civilians.

Friedman’s morning program, airing at 7 a.m., sets the agenda for almost the rest of the day. He competes successfully with the IBA’s Arye Golan in the parallel slot. In contrast to Golan, who has usurped the public microphone and opens his program every morning with his personal thoughts, Friedman seems to present to the world the image of the professional anchor, who asks the tough questions and whose sole purpose is to bring to his audience the news as is. But all is not as it seems.

Last February, the IBA’s Yaron Dekel was appointed to head Army Radio. At the time, Friedman was interviewed by Globes correspondent Roi Barak. His views regarding the station impressively demonstrate his lack of ability to understand public dissatisfaction with it. According to Friedman, “Galei Zahal [Army Radio] is an excellent station and there is no reason why it should not continue as such.” He went on to say that “one cannot claim that the army radio station is a conscripted station. In no way can one describe the station as serving only the needs of the army.”

Friedman was hurt by the online MyIsrael social media campaign against the station. In his words, “This contemptible campaign against Galatz, whose headline was that the station is a ‘knife in the back of the soldiers’ is a terrible phenomenon.

“The fact that so few people disassociated themselves from this campaign has hurt me personally, also as someone whose children gave their soul to their country in the army. The attempt to describe us as traitors is despicable and terrible. I dare to think that some of the people who initiated this campaign don’t really try to listen to Galatz.”

With this as context, it was very interesting to follow an interview conducted by Friedman on November 20, in the midst of the war with Hamas, with Amit, a soldier who on that day was entering the army, and his mother. We thank Talya Mann for bringing this interview to our attention.

Between “Red Alert” announcements notifying the public of imminent rocket impacts, Friedman asked the following questions, in an overly persistent manner: “Are you enthusiastic about entering a battle? Are you familiar with this question which is being asked not only of civilians entering the army but also soldiers in active duty who want to participate in the big game? There is a war in Gaza, do you in your fantasy wish that you were there? And let’s say that you were there, what do you think should be done in this war? What should be the purpose that the State of Israel has to define for itself as well as for you the soldiers who participate in it? Do you have trust [in your commanders]?”

Friedman then questions the soldier’s mother: “When your son is drafted in the middle of a war which does not seem as if it is going to end soon, at least according to the events of this morning, is this not a clue as to what he should expect in the future? Doesn’t your heart flutter? This war has now turned into a personal one for you, you know you watched it together with the children…. Listen, more or less all of the Negev, you hear, we hear together in response to the red alert [sirens]… You heard the boy who said that he too wants to partake in this story, of course this will not happen, but I am talking about his fantasies or things that guide him and you don’t say Amit, calm down, take care of yourself… As a mother and a citizen these are conflicts of interest.”

And he ends with “Rachel Kedmi, Amit Kedmi, thank you, and hopefully things will be better, what else can we say on such a morning.”

We purposefully cite the questions asked by Friedman and not the answers given by the soldier and his mother. This is because it is the questions that are revealing here.

Consider: Friedman relates to the young soldier as a “boy,” he does not have much respect for the “boy’s” mindset or thinking. His questions indicate that serving in the army is a conflict, while one of the basic tenets of Zionism is that the time has come for the Jews to take up arms and defend themselves.

Of course, defending yourself is dangerous business, everyone knows that, yet many consider serving in the army to be an honor, nonetheless. Many mothers worry about their children, yet they educate them to volunteer for the toughest of duties.

Is not Friedman attempting to instill defeatism in his questions to this young conscript? Is this the task of an Army Radio employee at a time in which the Jewish people have to fight for their very existence? As noted above, Friedman does not feel that the station serves the army. For him it is “a war,” not “our war.” Friedman could have phrased his questions very differently and they would have still remained interesting. Some would “stabbing the army in the back” to be an apt description of Friedman’s interview.

Moreover, this interview is not the only such incident. Friedman has little respect for the ethics code which demands complete separation between news and views. Responding in September to the travails of Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, Friedman added at the end of the program, among the standard credits to the various editors, “and for drinks and a good time, Stas Meseznikov.”

Like his counterpart Arye Golan, Friedman does not hesitate to make his personal opinion known – and it usually is left-of-center.

For example, in September 2009, he called Minister Moshe Ya’alon a political UFO, because Ya’alon attacked the Israeli Left. Army Radio’s ombudsman, who received a complaint from Adi Arbel, defended Friedman. Friedman does not like the ultra-Orthodox.

In July he commented that a program reviewing the Second Lebanon War would “most likely not have haredim on it.” Moshe Finkel complained and Army Radio responded by saying they were sorry if some listeners were offended by the comments.

It is not surprising that Friedman feels at home in an army radio station which allows him to make sure the station does not serve the needs of the army. But if Army Radio doesn’t serve the needs of the army, why are soldiers conscripted to it? Indeed, under such circumstances our country would be better off without the station altogether.


November 25, 2012

A New List Runs for the Knesset

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:32 am by yisraelmedad

Otzma of Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari.


November 22, 2012

MEDIA COMMENT: Irresponsibility even in war

Posted in Media at 12:02 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Irresponsibility even in war


Why do so many readers continue to support media outlets proven to be consistently unethical with unfair and biased toward Israel?

Marcus Tullius Cicero said that “Inter arma enim silent leges,” which translates as “In time of war, the law falls silent.” A better-known spin-off is “when cannons roar, the muses go quiet.” In our world, however, if the cannons roar, the media seems to get louder.

One recent example is Rupert Murdoch’s tweet: “Middle East ready to boil over any day. Israel position precarious. Meanwhile watch CNN and AP bias to point of embarrassment.” He then tweeted: “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” Murdoch’s voice is not a lone one. Buried By The Times, a 400-page book published in 2005, authored by Laurel Leff, is a damning study of Jewish media owners’ approach to coverage of the Holocaust.

The IDF spokesperson has seemingly understood the message. Instead of relying solely on the established media outlets, it opened its part in the present war in an announcement over Twitter.

IDF spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovich, in an interview with the BuzzFeed site, said she was “very proud” of the IDF’s social media accomplishments.

“We still have a lot more to learn,” she said, “and maybe other platforms to join, but I think in a relatively short time it’s very progressive.”

YouTube, Flickr, a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts are the new “bank of weapons” for those with the goal of conveying a message.

One cannot help but wonder whether the IDF’s use of social media is also part of a realization that the established media cannot be relied upon to tell the truth.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the BBC tweeted on Monday a week ago: “@Twitter bans ‘threats of violence’, but will it stop tweets by Hamas’s @AlqassamBrigade & Israel’s @IDFSpokesman.” The BBC equates information coming from Hamas and the IDF.

In fact, its bureau chief, Jon Donnison in Gaza, tweeted a picture which purported to be a local child in a Gaza hospital, a picture which was given to him by Hamas sources. A few hours later he retracted; the picture was an old one, taken in Syria and had nothing to do with the IDF. But the damage was done.

In a professional media organization, Donnison should have been fired, or at the least removed from his position as a reporter in the present conflict. He did not check his sources and gave his employer a black eye.

Arguably, Donnison would not even have apologized had it not been for the social media which glaringly exposed Donnison’s mistake.

No wonder the IDF is active in social media.

According to Government Press Office figures, as of Sunday earlier this week, almost 500 foreign journalists had requested press credentials, joining approximately 1,400 journalists and crew members who are already in Israel and the nearby region.

Most of these journalists do not speak Hebrew or Arabic, are not aware of the intricacies of the situation in Israel but must send reports back home to their employers.

This is only possible if they rely on local sources. Sadly, our local sources are not doing their job, and this is not the first time.

Already in the Second Lebanon War, Israel became the victim of crude Hezbollah disinformation. A Reuters photographer was fired for faking pictures of smoke coming from Beirut, purportedly a result of Israeli bombing.

This was exposed by social media, not mainstream Israeli media. The same is true for pictures of a lady who twice in two weeks had her home destroyed, or the many dolls to be found wherever Israeli forces destroyed a Hezbollah stronghold, and many more.

Yet our media not only failed to be the first to find out about these incidents, it made very little effort to make sure everyone knew about them. The same story is repeating itself as the war in Gaza unfolds. Hamas will put out a story about a family of 12 killed by Israel, and our media treats the story as truth from Moses at Sinai, neglecting to mention the facts that the population had been warned and a terrorist chieftain responsible for the death of Israeli civilians successfully targeted.

Hamas figures of Gazan civilians killed are already painting Israel as using disproportionate power and, as reported by NGO Monitor, this is picked up by left-wing organizations, funded by the New Israel Fund, who do their best to delegitimize Israel.

If it weren’t so serious, it could be considered ludicrous.

On October 18, a picture was published of a mother and three children killed in Syria. Hamas picked it up and on November 18 publicized it as evidence of Israeli “atrocities” in Gaza.

The BBC has learned nothing.

As reported originally by blogger Elder of Ziyon, in breaking news, the BBC showed a “wounded” Gazan civilian being removed by stretcher following an Israeli attack. The headline was: “Hamas military: Attack opens the gates of hell.” Yet 30 minutes later a clip shows the same person walking about freely. As a result, CNN corrected its report on this incident.

But the lies and misinformation do not come only from Hamas sources. CNN, for example, showed a picture titled “The Israeli military launches a missile Thursday from the Southern city of Beersheba.” This was not a missile aimed at civilians but an Iron Dome rocket sent to intercept a Gazan missile.

What is the behavior of the mainstream Israeli media? As noted by Maurice Ostroff in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, our press did not adequately expose the huge disparity between the number of civilian casualties in Libya and Kosovo and the total lack of NATO casualties. Doesn’t this constitute necessary background when dealing with criticism of Israel’s supposed use of disproportionate force? Israel’s citizens are being crippled by a lack of information, and cannot judge their own government’s actions.

The media feeds on information, and its main source from within the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas. Even the reporters who do attempt to report in an independent fashion are nevertheless very much aware of Hamas supervision, which is always a threat to their freedom.

Neither reporters nor their bosses choose to qualify such information with a standard statement noting that Hamas is notorious for manipulating and falsifying facts. Even Kol Yisrael does not do this, so why should the BBC or CNN? Our media’s disinterest in defending Israel should be contrasted with the major effort taken by Yediot Aharonot to expose what they considered to be bias in their competitor Israel HaYom.

When it hurts their pocket, Yediot Aharonot is a valiant defender of the truth, but when it hurts Israel, when millions of citizens must live in fear of missile strikes, the truth is not so important.

The only real question that remains is why so many readers continue to support media outlets proven to be consistently unethical as well as unfair and biased toward Israel.

November 15, 2012

MEDIA COMMENT: It’s election time!

Posted in Media at 12:35 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: It’s election time!


The Internet plays an ever-increasing role in our life and certainly when it comes to election campaigns.

Writing in the November 7 Guardian, Dan Gillmor had this opinion of the recent US presidential election: “America’s top journalists have pretty much gotten out of [the] business [of holding candidates to account]… I’ve never seen a worse performance in a major political campaign. On issue after issue – again, with some important exceptions, many in the alternative or new media – the press simply couldn’t be bothered to do its job.”

He was especially critical of “Big Journalism’s tendency to suck up to power, not confront it.” His dislike for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party was more than apparent, nevertheless, he also noted that “Obama has largely been given a pass by news organizations on his own worst deeds.”

For him, journalism’s “decline overall is simply too stark to deny.”

Observers more attuned to foreign policy issues saw the coverage of the Benghazi attack and Obama’s refusal to term it terror as an instance, to quote one critic, when the media “suppressed evidence in order to help a Democratic president. Simply shameful, as was the media’s disregard of any scandal or story that could have jeopardized the Obama reelection.”

An uncritical press combined with media personnel prejudiced against one candidate can be deeply affect the chances of a candidate to get elected. We only need recall Barack Obama, referring to the love the press expressed for him, joking at the October 2009 White House correspondents’ dinner, “Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me.”

Here in Israel, we have entered our own election period and already foibles and insidious behavior are observed, a situation that demands close monitoring as well as vigorous civic action to call this behavior to account and stop it.

There are academic papers claiming that voter decision-making during election campaigns is not significantly affected by the media.

They base themselves on the assumption that especially during the campaign period, information abounds. Voters are able to update their thinking sufficiently frequently during the campaign period so as to make decisions which are largely independent of one bias or another. But academia aside – and as we all know, especially in the social sciences it is very difficult to “prove” such assertions – the fact remains that every candidate is always interested in favorable and broad media coverage.

There isn’t one media adviser who suggests to his boss that the media may be ignored. We certainly know that the media has the ability to set an agenda. This sets a baseline for the voter who may then evaluate politicians based on how they dealt with the issue. The fact that one day after the elections the agenda turns out to be meaningless is irrelevant, setting the agenda has done its electoral job.

To prevent such situations from developing, reporters have a duty to be “careful not to get co-opted,” as America’s National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor once stated.

A clear example of agenda setting issues is polls. Professor Amiram Goldblum, a radical left-wing activist, initiated a biased poll to show that Israelis are proapartheid.

Haaretz and fellow extremist Gideon Levy publicized this broadly. It was immediately picked up worldwide. The fact that a few days later, all involved were forced to admit that the conclusions drawn from the poll were in fact baseless and false could not undo the damage. Israel was falsely colored as a racist, apartheid state, backed by supposed “evidence” from an Israeli newspaper.

Perhaps with this in mind, public opinion pollsters were warned by the Knesset’s Central Election Commission to follow legislated guidelines or face punishment, in some cases of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to NIS 29,000.

Poll results must be communicated to the Committee with detailed information on who commissioned the poll, how it was conducted and how the results were analyzed. Two days before election day, public opinion polls are no longer allowed to be published at all. It is a fact, that pollsters, like any normal human being, do not like to be the bearers of bad news.

A poll commissioned by Meretz to see whether it passes the minimum quota needed to be elected might lead to conclusions which are quite different from one commissioned by an extreme right-wing party. People considering voting for small parties are affected by such results, as certainly some of them do not want to see their vote wasted.

Not less important are the various appearances and interviews given to candidates. For example, Eldad Yaniv, who heads a new party called “A New Country,” was given a prime-time seven-minute interview on Channel 2 News, on November 5.

Seven minutes on TV is the length of time allotted by law by the Central Elections Committee to any new party. The interview was not a “tough” one. Questions dealing with Mr. Yaniv’s political failures in the past (he was a strong supporter of the disengagement from Gaza) were just not tabled.

His not exactly successful efforts to create a new national left-wing agenda, including the publication of a radical manifesto with controversial and some would say defeatist content, were ignored.

His financial links and related heavy involvement with the recent social protest campaign were not investigated nor discussed.

He was allowed to come across as a penitent or a Robin Hood, with interviewer Tzion Nanus’s virtual wide-eyed identification.

One could characterize the interview as flattering of, if not fawning on, Mr. Yaniv. No other politician, so far, from across the spectrum, has received such gracious treatment.

As is obvious from the election campaign in the US, political debates are not only captivating, but impress the voter. President Obama could not afford to refuse presidential debates. Candidate Netanyahu, in the previous election, did not enter any public debate. Will the press allow Netanyahu to get away with this? Doesn’t the voter deserve to be able to judge directly the values and performance of the various candidates from the candidates themselves rather than being filtered through political commercials?

The Internet, the truly free media communications network, plays an ever-increasing role in our life and certainly when it comes to election campaigns. The social media outlets, from Facebook to Twitter and beyond, are a whole new world. Yet the mainstream media still dominates our sources of information. It is not enough to say that the media should provide us with a fair campaign.

We, as citizens, should do all that we can to impress upon the media that it must be fair and, if not, that we will punish media outlets who do not obey the accepted ethical guidelines. This is, at the end of the day, to assure not only their accountability but more importantly, to protect our democratic system.

November 9, 2012

MEDIA COMMENT: Israel’s media, human rights coverage

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:21 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Israel’s media, human rights coverage
By YISRAEL MEDAD, 07/11/2012

The media’s subjective treatment of human rights issues is illustrated by the usual characterization of the haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, as a parasitical social element.

Israel has a broad human rights agenda serviced by a plethora of groups whose work should be covered by the media. One problematic camp, however, is the National/Religious/Settler section of Israel’s society.

While very active in many civic frameworks and human rights efforts and with its own legitimate human rights needs, media coverage of its activities is not commensurate and its media presence is minimal.

Unlike the media’s relation to left-wing human rights organizations, the frame of reference for the right-wing human rights work is colored with exclusionist terminology, unreliable reporting and is portrayed as either unimportant or worse, as part of the “problem.” The right-wing human rights camp is not in the picture. Why ? In this age of new and digital media tools, we are informed that the human rights issue is a major player exploiting what is termed “quasi-journalism.” As explained by Carroll Bogert, a director at Human Rights Watch, this is a conscious aping of the communications style of the media “in order that what we produce looks more like journalism… we’re moving into the media business.”

Does human rights work justify the manipulation of journalists? Or do media people permit themselves to be so manipulated due to personal preferences? Human rights is very much a media topic, and interests not only the media but serves elements within the media, from the reporter to the rewrite editor, the interviewer, the presenter, the camera-person and so on, by allowing them to insert their preferences into the news.

Does this lead to unfair framing, unethical behavior and editorial subversion? Bogert was proud that her press releases are meant “to look like a wire service story, so that when it arrives in the inbox of a wire service reporter, it moves seamlessly into the mainstream media.”

Here in Israel, in too many cases, that effort and that technique is less than necessary when it comes to left-wing human rights groups and useless when practiced by the right-wingers.

For example, the human rights of Jews living across the so-called Green Line not only are not given a fair hearing in the media but are consistently portrayed in a most biased fashion. Their stories are not properly mediated as the media’s filters are political, instead of social, cultural or economic. The difficulties they suffer are hardly ever considered by the media as a matter of human rights.

The B’tselem organization, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is broadly recognized by the media. Yet this so-called human rights organization does not really concern itself with Jewish human rights issues. With B’tzelem, it is the Arabs who have have human rights issues.

Rarely are any of the anti-occupation groups ever pressed or challenged on their concern, or lack thereof, for Jewish human rights, not to mention the unethical use by the mainstream media of edited video clips supplied by them.

Another symptom of the skewed interests is the consistent ignoring and minimalizing of human rights violations committed by Arabs in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. These include honor killings, jailing of journalists, torture of prisoners, as well as anti-Semitic incitement.

In the media, you will not find any left-wing “extremists,” only right-wing “extremists.” Leftwingers are always “peace activists.” Is the Honenu legal aid group for Jews whose human rights may have been violated granted equal media access? Which is better known – B’tzelem or Orit Struck’s Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria? A favorite of our media is “price tag” violence. Time and again, the media message is that this is in fact “settler violence,” a gross negative generalization of over half a million people. The facts are not too important. On October 9 this year, even the Alternative Information Center (not a right-wing NGO) reported: “Israel’s police commander of the West Bank… [revealed]… most “price tag” attacks are conducted by young people, even children, who don’t live in the West Bank.”

So, not only was any rabbi arrested for allegedly inciting this violence ever put on trial or found guilty, their release was shunted aside in the media.

A DIFFERENT aspect is the human rights of children. In Israel, the media is able to force-feed our children questionable content such as unrestrained sexual permissiveness, nudity, swear words, drug scenes and violence outside the regulated watershed hour. This is a purposeful sexualizing and traumatizing of our children.

A third example of the media’s subjective treatment of human rights issues is the usual characterization of the haredi or ultra-Orthodox as a parasitical social element.

The fact that for example the summer before last the great “cottage cheese revolution” was initiated by a haredi does not change the mantra.

Haredi avoidance of army service is very much a media theme, yet the avoidance of service among the cultural icons of music, dance, literature, sports and fashion is relegated to editors’ rejection lists. Why would a reporter seek to malign his comrades in Israel’s second state, Tel Aviv? We need only recall the three Kol Yisrael broadcasters and editors Chanan Naveh, Carmela Menasheh and then show host Shelly Yacimovich in the late 1990s. As admitted by Naveh (and corroborated elsewhere by Menasheh and Yacimovich), in a 2007 Haifa University media conference, “[We]… pushed in every way possible the withdrawal from Lebanon… we took it upon ourselves as a mission – possibly not stated – to get the IDF out of Lebanon… I have no doubt that we promoted an agenda of withdrawal… I’m not apologizing… I am very proud that we had a part in getting of our sons out of Lebanon.”

The human rights of one side of the ideological divide suffers not from an inability to tell the story, as may happen, but an unwillingness predicated on the prejudicial approach of the media. This is the heart of the political-ethical morass we face here in Israel and how the media views, conceptualizes and produces for the media consumer.

The media is not simply a conduit for stories of human rights matters but possess their own power, which they actively use, together with the new-found force of human rights activists who have created a new “platform,” to borrow New York University’s NYU’s Meg McLagan’s terminology, for the production, circulation and distribution of colored human rights news.

That platform, I suggest, is the Three Cs; Cooperation, Collaboration and Collateralism (in its definition as “uniting in tendency”). In Israel, there is no real media pluralism. The media interlock in Israel prevents the public from evaluating their sources of information.

These thoughts were presented recently in a Bar-Ilan University meeting entitled Broken Mirrors Conference on Human Rights Organizations, the Media and Israel. The issue is not simply one of broken mirrors, however. It is much more appropriate to think of it in terms shattered glass in the newsrooms, reflecting itself in the form of uncontrolled and inadequate supervision.

Even the ombudsmen, the media regulators and the ethical review boards or the press itself do not see a need to destroy the media bias against the human rights of certain political and cultural groups in Israel’s society.

The writer is vice-chairman of Israel’s Media Watch and the above was edited from remarks presented at the Bar-Ilan University Conference on Media and Human Rights, October 31, 2012.

November 1, 2012

הטור שלי במדור “מיקרוסקופ” ב”בשבע” גליון 516 מיום 1.11.2012

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:50 pm by yisraelmedad

<a href=”″>יותר מספין</a>

לאחר ההכרזה על הריצה המשותפת של הליכוד וישראל ביתנו, הזדמן לי לצפות בדיון שבו לקחו חלק השרים לימור לבנת ומיקי איתן. איתן הסביר שבעצם הליכוד מהווה מפלגה לאומית-דמוקרטית-ליברלית, והביע חשש שהחיבור עם ליברמן עשוי להניס מצביעים מהליכוד. הוא ציין שזאת מורשתם של ז’בוטינסקי ובגין והוסיף שהוא מפחד מתזוזה חזקה לכיוון הלא רצוי. בנקודה זו ציפיתי שהמראיינת תשאל משהו כמו: “אבל השר איתן, ב-1965 מנחם בגין יצר את גח”ל, גוש חירות-ליברלים, מהלך מקביל למה שמר נתניהו עשה, ובעצם השיג שני הישגים: תנועת החירות, שנחשבה למפלגה קיצונית ואף פאשיסטית, התמרכזה וקיבלה דימוי מתון. ואילו המפלגה הליברלית שיצאה מתוך הציונים הכלליים של חיים וייצמן במקור, קיבלה את משנתו הלאומית של המחנה הרביזיוניסטי. אז אולי משהו דומה יתרחש כעת?” אבל שאלה כזאת לא נשמעה מפיה, וככל הידוע לי גם מראיינים אחרים לא חשבו לבדוק את ההיבט הזה. התקשורת התמסרה לספין של המתנגדים לחיבור, ולא אפשרה לצרכני תקשורת לזכות למידע אמין ולדעות שקולות ומאוזנות.

עוד ספין, חמור יותר, הוא של ‘הארץ’. פעמיים בחודש האחרון התבררו כותרות העיתון כלא נכונות וגרמו לכך שעיתונים רבים בעולם, שהסתמכו על דיווחיו, נאלצו להתנצל ולשנות את כותרותיהם (במהדורות האינטרנטיות). גדעון לוי בישר ש”רוב הישראלים תומכים במשטר אפרטהייד בארץ”, בעוד הממצאים של אותו סקר שקביעותיו צוטטו הוצגו בצורה מניפולטיבית. ‘הארץ’ אף פרסם מודעת הבהרה קטנה על כך השבוע. לפני שבועיים העיתון הטעה את קוראיו כאשר עקיבא אלדר פרסם כתבה תחת הכותרת “הממשלה מודה: אין כבר רוב יהודי בין הירדן לים”. לא רק שהממשלה לא הודתה, הנתונים הדמוגרפיים לא היו נכונים. אנחנו מחכים להתנצלות אמיתית.

ישראל מידד

MEDIA COMMENT: Who gets the prize?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:30 am by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: Who gets the prize?

Not everyone who receives an award is a prime example of ethical media behavior. In the long term, the list of people awarded a prize is a reflection of the value of the prize itself.

Israel, like many other countries and societies, awards prizes. Our Independence Day ceremony ends with the Israel Prize event. It has become iconic and even viewer-riveting.

Back in 1957, however, it should be noted, Hanoch Albeck turned down the offer of an Israel Prize since he didn’t think taxpayer money should be utilized for such things and felt that there were already too many types of awards being granted. David Ben-Gurion also declined a prize, writing to the nominations committee that one should not receive a prize for serving the State of Israel.

Over the years, the category of Media Achievement has been added to the list of the Israel Prize. The first was granted to Mordechai (Motti) Kirschenbaum in 1976 and it was termed the prize for “Radio, Television and Cinema Art.”

Kirschenbaum, at the time, produced the Nikui Rosh (Head Cleaning) satire program which quite devastatingly subjected the government to outrageous skits and portrayals. In 1986, there was the Shmuel Snitzer cause célèbre when, on the basis of one article, a man’s life-long production of over five decades was dismissed as unworthy in an appeal to the High Court for Justice.

In 2007 the Israel Prize went to Nahum Barnea of Davar and Yediot Aharonot. Barnea is one of the major figures who introduced to Israel the radical (at the time) “involved journalism” style in which the reporter became an almost equal partner to the story being covered. His Israel Prize is perhaps in recognition of his ground breaking contributions to the replacement of objectivism with subjectivism in the Israeli media.

In stark contrast, last year, Ya’akov Achimeir, a founding member of the IBA television network back in 1968, and before that, Kol Yisrael, the son of famous journalist Abba Ahimeir who wrote in the 1920s for the Labor movement journals and then moved to the Jabotinsky Revisionist Zionist camp, was also an Israel Prize recipient for his contribution to Israel’s media.

Achimeir is perhaps one of the few remaining high-profile journalists in Israel who believes and practices media ethics. It is not surprising that already in 2007 he was recognized by Israel’s Media Watch and awarded the Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism.

Media prizes are also distributed by two important NGOs engaged in supervising governmental behavior, or as the Ometz web site informs us: “the maintaining [of] normative governmental systems, enforcing law and order, improving its civic standards.”

For the Movement for Quality in Government, the mission includes combating corruption and defending its exposers, protecting democracy, instilling values of a proper political culture and encouraging reliable public administration.

Between the years 2005-2011, The Movement for Quality Government recognized the following individuals for media excellence: Guy Rolnik , Ran Resnick, Micky Rosenthal, Kalman Liebskind , Ilana Dayan, Ari Shavit, Meirav Arlosoroff, Keren Neubach and Yoaz Hendel.

During that same period, the anti-corruption Ometz NGO decided that these media figures, among others, deserved a prize: Ilana Dayan, Ruthy Sinai, the Eretz Nehederet satire show, Gaby Gazit, Orly Vilnai-Federbush, Kalman Liebskind, Micky Miro, Raviv Druker, Natan Zehavi, Carmela Menasheh, Itamar Levin, Guy Meiroz, Keren Neubach, Stella Corinne Lieber, Micky Rosenthal, Shahar Genosar, Oded Shachar, Guy Peleg, Razi Barkai, Gal Gabai-Dolfin, Zvi Zachariyam, Yuval Yoaz, Pe’er-Li Shachar and Amit Segel.

There are several interesting aspects to these lists. In the first place, the large numbers of Ometz media prize recipients. Both organizations, we should recall, present awards in multiple areas of social, professional, economic, legal and governmental achievement. Second, a good few media figures are recognized by both groups. Third, representatives of the Haaretz daily constitute a large percentage. Fourth, almost all winners are members of the mainstream media. The sectarian media such as the religious, Russian, Arabic or immigrant are left out.

Fifth, the overwhelming political tint is left-of-center.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at these choices of “outstanding” journalists. Many of them, undeniably, are truly impressive, selected for honor and respect by these two “moral-centered” NGOs. To set the record straight we note that both Rolnik and Liebskind were awarded the IMW media criticism prize. Nevertheless, given the promotion by these two groups of high ethical standards, it is discouraging that a good few of those cited have been involved in serious infractions and violations of the media ethics code.

Ilana Dayan, cited by both organizations, was found guilty in a regional court of serious libel. Even though the Supreme Court found an excuse for her behavior, the case is not over. Menashe was found guilty by a disciplinary tribunal of the Civil Service Commissioner for selling information attained as an employee of the IBA to a competing private media organization.

Natan Zehavi is one of the filthiest broadcasters in Israel, having been repeatedly reprimanded and even fined for demeaning remarks, sexism and hate speech in his broadcasting.

Gaby Gazit was forced, for all intents and purposes, to leave his Kol Yisrael studio for his unbalanced and biased radio programming. He continues to broadcast, at his new Tel Aviv radio home, among others things, anti-haredi deprecations.

He violates the ethics code of the Israel Press Council by appearing regularly in advertisements.

Vilani-Federbush also had to leave her long-time state-sponsored media home. Her professional conduct is questionable.

In one of her reports, bashing the religious, she did not know to distinguish between the 10 percent tithe to the Levites and the “truma” of typically two percent given to the priests.

Keren Neubach’s record includes too many instances of imbalanced editorializing in favor of left/liberal causes to list here. She is another case of a person who is actively disobeying the code of ethics of the IBA.

Army Radio’s Razi Barkai, despite pronouncements in a famous Haaretz interview in defense of Benjamin Netanyahu, has had a long record of anti-nationalist camp prejudice.

Of course, especially as regards Ometz, one could be forgiven for presuming that their very long list suggests that they include so many media people to curry media attention. After all, for NGOs, media coverage and even favoritism is a major requisite for success. One only wonders how many left-of-center media personalities remain before their list runs out of steam.

Far be it from us to suggest that there are not worthy individuals who deserve to be awarded special recognition for their hard work in the media. What is obvious, however, is that not everyone who receives an award is a prime example of ethical media behavior. In the long term, the list of people awarded a prize is a reflection of the value of the prize itself.


Next page