Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israel and the Fall of Dictatorial Journalism

May 17, 2012 9:45 am 1 comment

The Haaretz newspaper.

A disturbing trend is developing, according to the Israel Defense Forces official blog, whereby terror attacks against Israel routinely go unreported. “Though they’re very significant,” writes the IDF blogger, “A lot of incidents are never published.” The site goes on to list 12 notable incidents of thwarted terror attempts all of which took place this year.

This notable omission is no small travesty, especially as the power of media influence in shaping minds and policy is well known. An astute reader recently shared with me a saying that he had heard in Hebrew, which translated into English reads, “nowadays, kingship has been transposed by journalism.” How true, whereas in imperial days of old, the status of all subjects and members of the court as well as national priorities, sentiment and campaigns were determined by the monarch; today they are largely influenced by powerful media voices and trends rallying behind individuals and causes, then just as quickly, banishing them as they see fit.

The comparison becomes even more concise when one considers the role that editors play in most mainstream media outlets today. When it comes to setting the priority agenda in their own personal fiefdoms, in most cases, the editor calls the shots.

A rare public glimpse into this process was made available with the release last year of Page One: Inside the New York Times, a documentary film by Andrew Rossi, which depicts a page one editorial meeting, in which Editor Bill Keller, after fielding pitches from his senior editorial staff literally sets the daily news priority items for millions of readers, by assigning them to the paper’s front page. A similar process was captured in a video featuring Bill O’Reilly posted on gawker.com by the now infamous Fox News mole.

Most of the major news media organizations today are essentially run as editorial dictatorships.

The implications of this truth as far as Israel and Jews around the world are concerned can be very troubling as per the concern expressed by the IDF, and is largely the result of the editorial totalitarianism concept. If terror attacks against the Jewish state are under-reported, one could mistakenly be led to believe that security threats faced by Israel’s citizens are diminishing and as such concessions to Arab demands may be more justified, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

As I write, on the home page of the BBC’s international news website, there is a report about Arab terrorists held in Israeli jails who conducted a hunger strike. No such attention was accorded to the May 7th and May 10th attempted terror attacks against Israelis noted by the IDF blog, and other such relevant components of the Israel Arab narrative.

Even the story about the recent Toulouse killings was relegated to the bottom of the Huffington Post’s homepage, until the nail-biting siege on the killer’s residence compelled the editors to reconsider.

However, recent developments in the news media industry mark the dawn of an era of unparalleled opportunity for Jews and Israel in ensuring that our voice is heard. The ‘media spring’ of the last decade is increasingly sidelining the prominence of dictatorial journalism through the rise of democratized content models. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a myriad of lesser known platforms allow for every individual to determine and broadcast their own perceived global priorities.

The challenge at this point, in the decentralization of the various voices, is that in most cases their reach, audience and impact are limited. But as alternative news media mechanisms emerge that are designed to draw together and amplify these voices such as our own publication, The Algemeiner, the influence of old media icons will become increasingly diminished.

On Sunday, Israeli daily Haaretz became the first Jewish focused news outlet to implement a pay-wall in an effort to offset its deficit. The paper follows the lead of the New York Times with which it has established a formal circulation partnership.

Although this move may serve to lessen red ink prominence on the company’s balance sheet, it also signifies a retreat into an ivory tower that comes with the inevitable diminished audience and thus declining influence that the pay-wall will bring about.

This and similar withdrawals coupled with the rise of real representative journalism presents an era of great fortuity for the dissemination of Jewish ideas. It is up to our nation’s entrepreneurial idealists to rise to this task.

The Author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

1 Comment

  • Correct, also the Israeli mainstream-lamestream media does not report the daily rocket attacks. Thank goodness for Arutzsheva (illegal) / aka IsraelNationalNews which DOES report what’s actually happening in Israel…

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli actress Moran Atias said that playing a Muslim woman in the hit FX series Tyrant has changed her outlook. “Educating myself about a different culture has made me more hopeful and humble, that we’re all the same,” the Jewish actress, 35, said during an interview with AOL Build. Atias plays Leila Al-Fayeed, the strong and politically minded wife of the president of Abbudin, a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a dictatorial family. The Israeli-born former model, who earned the title of Miss Globe International […]

    Read more →