BLOG 387 March 19, 2014
The issue of “so-called Fake” news has reached an all time high with the prompting of the Trump Administration, leaving an impression with the public that their charges are an attempt to cover the real story (whatever that might be). The issue also has ramifications for the Middle East.
A reported in Politico.com indicated 54% of the American public believe the mass media while only 36% believe President Trump and trust his charges above the media. The low figure represents about the same numbers for those who support Trump come hell or high water. In 2016, Israel Democracy Institute index pointed to an all-time low in Israel for the public press. In 2017, the trend was reversed with a 4% rise in trust for the media.
The fact is that people don’t like to read about what they already disagree with. The result is that the bearer of bad news is blamed for the story.
A significant divide also exists in how American political parties feel about Israel. The Pew Research Center found 79% of Republicans sympathetic with Israel compared to 27% of Democrats. Never has there been a greater divide between Democrats and Republicans in 40-years of polling. Americans favorably inclined for Israel are less like to believe a two-state solution is possible. The Pew organization noted that the younger a person is, the more likely they are to believe in the possibility of reaching an agreement.
The issue of trust and honesty in the press came to a head again a week ago when it was discovered that Egypt had ties with North Korea. The media discovery turned up the fact that missiles made in Pyongyang were being sold in Cairo. The realization that the Egyptians had a connection with an American enemy angered the State Department.
On an island in the Suez Cannel is a statue presented by North Korea of a towering AK-47 rifle with the muzzle and bayonet pointed toward the sky, symbolizing and enduring alliance. The monument remains as a commemoration of the 1973 war against Israel when a North Korean fought and was killed, flying for Egypt.
The world now knows that Egypt buys armaments from North Korean and has allowed North Korean diplomats to use the Cairo embassy for military sales across the region. Washington is currently down on President Abel Fattah el-Sisis’s case over this situation.
Egypt’s cozy relationship with the US has been severely jarred over these economic transactions with an aggressive country under American sanctions. Tensions are probably ahead because the United Nations will eventually report on the cargo inside a rusty North Korean freighter intercepted off the coast of Egypt in 2016. Apparently, the ship was carrying armaments with 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades worth around $26 million dollars. Egypt has denied being the intended recipient.
So far, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Public trust has been jarred.