This interview is in Hebrew. Here are the main points.
I was asked to appear on Israel TV to analyze a survey by TPS, an Israeli news agency that provides video to news outlets around the world. The survey questioned foreign correspondents covering the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It showed that about half the respondents felt news from here is slanted against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians, and that the leading reason is ideological–news outlets are taking the side of the Palestinians in the conflict.
I used the broadcast-friendly Hebrew version of “no shit” in response, but explained that many reporters don’t see a problem with that. When I started in journalism back in the era of big, black typewriters, my job was to report the news and explain it. It’s all different now. Today’s journalists define their role as helping the downtrodden. Of course that means the Palestinians in this case. It’s good and evil, and little that falls outside that box gets in print or on the air. I told how The Associated Press banned me from writing about my discovery of Israel’s 2008 peace offer to the Palestinians–a story that, handled properly, would have been Pulitzer Prize material and could have changed the above equation. If you missed it, here’s my Tablet article about finally getting the story out just a few months ago.
There are many other examples of such flagrantly biased news judgment, to the extent that while there are groups that monitor the news media and complain when something is wrong–some of them genuinely interested in proper coverage, others interested in fomenting paranoia and raising money from it–the real problem is, how do we know what isn’t being reported? When I lecture in North America (get ready, I’m putting together my next tour for November), I dread being asked that question–because I don’t have an answer. The long-term solution would be to restore journalism to its former state–but that’s not going to happen. All we can do is continue to plug away, get the facts out there as much and as often as possible, and hope for a Grand Canyon effect over the course of time.
Israel is not, and will not be, the underdog again, and if that means the world media will continue to beat up on us–that’s better than the alternative. We act today from a position of strength. Let’s behave that way.