Ofer Eini Wants a Television Channel, Too

A desperate Channel 10 is likely to end up in someone's hands.

Most likely, like a cliff-hanger ending to a telenovela, the prime minister will pop up and save Channel 10 at the last second. The rescue has to be done at the last second, of course. Otherwise the channel's workers, from analyst-on-high Raviv Drucker to the lowest of technicians, might not fully grasp what kind of journalism can survive in Israel over the long run.

Or, how about this scenario: that some tycoon swoops in and saves the channel from its financial black hole, and the channel's employees learn about the type of journalism they're supposed to produce in an era when 10 men hold sway over Israel's economy.

Oh, we almost forgot the third aspect of the triumvirate ruling the roost of the Israeli economy.

The tycoons aren't in fashion any more and the government never was. But the third aspect of power has retained its charm, at least in the eyes of several hundred thousand families in Israel whose breadwinners work at the banks, the ports, at the Israel Electric Corp or any of the sluggish monopolistic goliaths, distended with hidden unemployment, who can roll their corruption and flabby inefficiencies onto the consumer and the taxpayer and the poor.

Big union

It is Big Union, and it is purely symbolic, and natural, that the man who will pop up at the last second and order the Channel 10 board members to void the dismissal of the Channel 10 news people, is the leader of Israel's umbrella union, the Histadrut.

Eini has a point. The tycoons own media outlets. The government has its own media outlets too. Why shouldn't the chairman of the umbrella union to which all the monopolies' workers belong have a sweetheart media outlet too?

At the end of the day, such artificial separation is silly. All the papers faithfully represent the interests of the three big powerful groups in the land - the government, the monopolies' unions and the tycoons. From time to time they may have thrown a sop to the bleeding consciences, or thrown rocks at some politician or business baron or union chief who weakened and got tossed out of the Big Business-Big Government-Big Union clique.

Keep that eyebrow down. It's nothing new that the Big-Big-Big triumvirate rules Israel's media. It always has. The shock with which the rise of social-justice protests was greeted last year, as hundreds of thousands of Israelis hit the streets, could also reflect the state of the media. People were forced to take to the streets because nobody cried their cry.

If the popular press had reported on the families unable to buy homes, if it had reflected the inequality, the cost of living, and how the tycoons and monopolies rule the roost, maybe the people wouldn't have had to take to the streets.

Based on simple journalistic criteria, the Israeli press is free. Anybody can establish a newspaper, website or Internet television channel and broadcast whatever they please. But Israel's media market is a complicated place and very few elements in it are interested in the public learning about its real problems.

For instance, there are market failures in the financial system, leading to a huge transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%. That is a global failure, as is the failures of the press. In all too many nations the press is controlled by Big Business, Big Government and Big Union.

But like with the financial system again, the fact that the failure is worldwide is no excuse for the Jews in Zion. Israel cannot afford to maintain a feeble, ineffective public sector, a concentrated economy or a "free press" that serves the interests of the fat cats.