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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.