BLOG 341 March 13, 2017
The Prime Minister of Israel and the American President appear to be all smiles and good buddies. America’s love of Israel supplies Trump with a good voting base and Trump’s compliance with Netanyahu’s goal flies high in Israel. But there’s a surprisingly unexpected strange connection between the two men.
They hate the media.
In recent days, President Trump has continued a relentless attack on the American media for reporting what he doesn’t like. Secretary of State Tillerson refused to allow media to travel with him to Japan, Korea, and the Orient, preventing the press from any objective reporting of what he is doing and saying. The Israeli Prime Minister is reading from the same play book. While attempting to correct media mistakes and fake stories, they both want to harness reporting to fit their liking.
Dangerous business! While many of us may not like what we read in the papers, the media remains one of the major safe guards of democracy and the truth. Attacking the media is attacking the facts. Watch out!
For some time commentators, have been after Netanyahu for trying either to attack or manipulate the press. Netanyahu not only took the Prime Minister’s job, but also the Communication Minister’s portfolio. This gave him the leverage to seek favorable coverage from outlets he once called “radically biased.” Israeli writer Nahum Barnes noted that what he called Netanyahu’s “obsession” with the news media showed him to be “gripped by fear and paranoia.”
On the eve of the election in March 2015, the Prime Minister’s battle with the media reached its peak. Apparently, Netanyahu feared that he could loose the election because of what he perceived as the media’s hostile coverage. Three days before the election, he launched a blitz against the press itself and won the election.
Currently, Netanyahu studiously avoids being interviewed. However, aides have confided he is acutely aware of every word written about him. Writers such as Ruth Margalit and commentator Nachman Shai are too good at what they do – to be trusted!
What do we make of the situation in Israel as well as America? Sure, the news media has its biases occasionally. In America, we have one network that is blatantly false in their reporting, but on the whole, the majority of the networks and journalists seek a balanced relentless reporting of events. When politicians attempt to stifle free speech, the public must demand accountability and exposure. When it was all said and done, the fall of Richard Nixon came because of the relentless reporting of Woodward and Bernstein. In spite of massive efforts to conceal the truth, the media revealed the mess!
You may not like what the press says now and then – but for heavens sake keep them reporting!
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