12:02 PM, Jul 30, 2014 • By JONATHAN MARKS
Recently National Journal’s Ron Fournier published this story, “Why Benjamin Netanyahu Should Be Very, Very Worried.” Fournier’s strange line is that the Israelis until recently enjoyed a “near-monopoly” over “the mind share of public-opinion elites.” Partly because those elites “embraced and amplified the Israeli case,” “public opinion in the West, and particularly in the United States, firmly supported Israel.” But now, gee whiz, we have the Internet and “democratized media.” And so, Fournier strangely concludes, although Israel “has the absolute right to defend itself” and although no nation would fail “to respond fiercely to attacks like those of Hamas,” the inevitability of negative media coverage means that the Israelis had better “reset their strategic position with moderate Palestinians.”
Fournier has a point. After all, we now have the estimable Richard Cohen saying in the pages of no less an establishment paper than the Washington Post that Israel “has adopted the morality of its hostile neighbors. Now it bombs cities, killing combatants and non-combatants alike—men as well as women, women as well as children.”
Sorry. My mistake. Cohen said that in 1982, during the Lebanon conflict. Norman Podhoretz cited Cohen in a piece documenting the “explosion of invective against Israel” that year, the year that John Chancellor of NBC commented that “we are now dealing with an imperialist Israel” and that “Israel can't go on much longer horrifying the world by its brutal siege of West Beirut.” As Jonathan Tobin observes in a post at Commentary, if Fournier thinks that Israel has until recently enjoyed a monopoly on elite opinion, he “hasn’t been paying much attention to the coverage of Israel over the last 40 years.” Yes, when CNN correspondent Diane Magnay described some of the Israelis she was covering as “scum” on Twitter, she used saltier language than correspondents once used. But she was doing nothing new.
If you were to add a more triumphalist tone to Fournier’s piece, its assertion that Israel once seamlessly dominated the Western media narrative, but that such dominance is now, for the first time, being challenged, would be perfectly at home in a propaganda outlet like the Electronic Intifada. Of course, Fournier’s piece is written more in sorrow than in anger. But that should not stop us from pointing out, more in sorrow than in anger, that Fournier, who purports to describe recent changes in media coverage, rehearses claims about Israel that long predate the Internet.
Fournier is right to point out that in “the United States, younger Americans are far less likely to say Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip are justified.” Only 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, Gallup recently found, consider Israel’s actions against Hamas justified. That is troubling for Israel’s supporters. But Fournier is wrong to suggest that we are looking at something new, a “generation of global citizens . . . rising to power without the Israeli narrative embedded so firmly in its consciousness.” Sure, Gallup found “only 34% of this age group said they sympathize more with Israel, compared to 22% who sympathize more with the Palestinians,” which must be close to a low. But, come to think of it, Gallup made that particular finding in 2002, during the “Second Intifada.” Did this finding herald a new era? In 2013, 55 percent of Americans aged 18-34 sympathized more with Israel, compared to 12 percent who sympathized more with the Palestinians.
1:06 PM, Jul 15, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Someone I'm related to by marriage has written a superb column on the problem of media ignorance. The fact I'm not a disinterested observer shouldn't stop me from noting that the column and the event that prompted it has attracted some attention. The piece is pegged to a much discussed interview talk radio star Hugh Hewitt conducted with Zach Carter, the Huffington Post’s “senior political economy reporter.” Hewitt asked Carter why he was spouting off various critical opinions related to Dick Cheney and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Certainly, Carter's not alone here -- the rise of ISIS has had liberal journalists queuing up to insist President Obama bears minimal responsibility for the disintegration of the situation in Iraq. Joe Biden bet his vice presidency Iraq would extend the Status of Forces Agreement, and had they not failed, it might well have prevented the current mess. But here we are.
7:01 AM, Jul 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Agence France-Presse State Department correspondent Jo Biddle is claiming on Twitter that members of the media traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry to China "have had their bank accounts hacked."
12:01 PM, Jun 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Maggie Flick of Reuters is reporting that:
Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years in Egypt on Monday after a court convicted them of helping a "terrorist organisation" by spreading lies, in a case that has raised questions about the country's respect for media freedom.
Yes, that would raise questions. But:
Egyptian officials have said the case is not linked to freedom of expression and that the journalists raised suspicions by operating without proper accreditation.
10:23 AM, Jun 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In the print edition of Politico, columnist Roger Simon asks, "Will the Real Hillary Clinton Please Stop Talking?"
It's a provocative title for a piece on someone who might be the first female president of the United States. So provocative, in fact, that Politico changed the title for the online edition of the column. "Can Hillary Clinton be herself and still win?" the title now reads.
12:33 PM, May 28, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Reporting on the administration’s bungle that blew the cover of the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief, Paul Richter of the Los Angeles Times does a little egregious falsifying of the historical record. The objective, apparently, was to remind readers of how nasty the Bush administration was by comparison. Obama, you see, might be inept. But Bush … well, he was evil.
On page one.1:11 PM, Apr 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The front page of today's Denver Post skips Easter. Its main focus? Marijuana.
"All weed, no Easter on Denver Post's page one," says media reporter Jim Romenesko.
3:34 PM, Mar 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The professional press corps has been frozen out of Michelle Obama's swing through China. But the White House has partnered with CNN to bring in amateurs. Katie Hawkins-Gaar, a CNN editor, coordinated the effort to solicit and accumulate submissions from "iReporters" interested in asking questions about the "importance of students learning from one another's cultures," Mrs. Obama's stated emphasis for this trip.
It's just a show.8:43 AM, Mar 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A CBS reporter from Arizona reveals that President Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, receives questions from the press in advance of his daily press briefing. In fact, she says, the reporters often receive the answers in advance of the briefing, too.
11:26 AM, Jan 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
White House press secretary Jay Carney is concerned that the press in China -- the foreign press there -- is facing "restrictions."
10:49 AM, Dec 18, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Appearing with Piers Morgan on CNN, Barbara Walters summed up The Grand Disillusionment this way
11:05 AM, Dec 10, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Dan Rather is still at it. The story that brought him down was true, he claims, unlike the one that is the cause of Lara Logan’s difficulties. On CNN, Rather said:
1:22 PM, Dec 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In Politico, Trudy Lieberman delivers a careful, detailed analysis of how the media failed to see the approaching Obamacare storm: