Friday, August 25, 2006

Whom did you vote for in today’s elections?

Probably you are surprised by the caption. As citizens in a Democratic country, Israel, we are used to voting once every four years, which for most people constitutes the height, length and breadth of democracy. But that idea is simply not true. We vote everyday, in various ways, and the way we vote determines how our society functions, and in Israel’s case, as of now, our votes decide if the country will survive, if and when there will be another war, and how bad it will be for us.
One of the aims of this blog is to show the connection between our actions as individuals, and society as a whole. I have heard many Israeli’s complain that they are helpless ‘nobody listens to us anyway” they will say or “what’s the use – we vote and then the politicians do whatever they want.” That is only partially true. Israeli  politicians are known to act upon public opinion, and that opinion is shaped mainly by the mainstream media. The information we receive from the media determines for the most part what the aggregated public opinion will be like. What is even more important is that politicians, knowing this, are acutely aware of how the media presents reality to it’s readers. In other words – we can influence our elected officials greatly by the way we choose to get our information.
I already discussed the nature of the information we usually receive from the postmodern media and to sum it up in two words – it sucks. (Full post is here).
So every time we buy a paper, listen to the news on the radio or watch it on TV – we are making a choice: we are either encouraging professional journalism, concerned with conveying facts and analysis to it’s readers, or else we are encouraging postmodern journalism which does not care about the facts, but rather, about shaping our perception of the world according to a predetermined political stance. This is doubly true in Israel where the mainstream media is wholly owned by people from the extreme left, and mostly populated by their adherents.If fifty percent of the population was reading Carolyn Glick in Makor Rishon on weekends, instead of Yediot Ahronot, then chances are that the public would not now have to beg it's incompetent and corrupt elected officials to step down - because they would never have been elected in the first place.
So, whom did you vote for? People who never, in their most dreadful nightmares would agree to vote for Meretz (radical, secular, Ashkenazi, Left-wing party), will gladly buy newspapers that reflect the Meretz position in every important way. Yes, the mainstream media will carry various opinions – but that is just a ruse. The opinions page is redundant, when the information on the main pages is totally skewed.
How bad is the mainstream media?
I read this today on IMRA, an interview with Uzi Landau, former Likud party member in Haaretz. He has this to say about the Israeli media:

"Journalism in Israel is a cartel. You cannot express yourself, and you cannot conduct a debate. This journalism has deluded the public and prevented a serious discussion. For a long time there was a desire to keep the facade. Even now the same interviewers are inviting the same commentators and the same consultants and all those who drove us into the mud. For 13 years the elite has been explaining to us that we are the occupation and justice is with the Palestinians. We were brainwashed that the Israel Defense Forces cannot win, that it is all about the occupation. No real debate took place.”

And just to remind my readers that this by no means is an exclusively Israeli cultural phenomenon, I also read this today, a wonderfully detailed analysis of a blood libel against Israel in which all the American mainstream media participated: The Red Cross Ambulance Incident.
What is most shocking in this account is that not one reporter bothered to fact check the initial reports. Not one!!

So,for the last time - whom did you vote for in today’s elections?

Shabbat Shalom!

Edited: 29/8


westbankmama said...

Well, I have a subscription to Makor Rishon. Does that count?

Jerusalem Joe said...

every vote counts, as the saying goes.
in a previous post i counted makor rishon and arutz 7 as the two major options for the MSM in hebrew. Arutz 7 especially has a very good record of sticking to the facts.
I also used to read makor rishon but since amnon lord became editor, i have come to like it less.