Opinion

Another Targeted Assassination of Israeli Media

Half an hour before the state-run TV station’s flagship program is aired, 49 years after it debuted, its staff gets half an hour to say goodbye, half an hour to find the words

Veteran anchorman Yaakov Ahimeir, left, during the final broadcast of "Mabat," Tuesday May 9, 2017.
Channel 1 screenshot

The receiver and his cohorts destroyed Mabat’s people last night with a D-9 bulldozer to the cheers of the obtuse rightist coalition. But their show wasn’t a final accord but the beginning of a swan song, which is expected to be long, shrill, horrific and devastating.

Some mistakenly think that things got out of control, but everything is under the control of one person, who is watching the goings on like a UN observer. Just like he watched, with a look that seemed half-amused, the horror show staged by Likud MKs David Bitan and Miki Zohar in front of the bereaved parents, just as he and Naftali Bennett’s student amused themselves at the sight of the spitting and urine bags hurled at other bereaved parents, and at the right-wing trolls who crawled out of Facebook to the ceremony plaza, as though they were in charge of bereavement and its customs.

The obsession with the media, the persecution of the free press, the surveillance of tweets and posts published by journalists and marking them as friend or foe of Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife – all these are merely the wrapping of the poisoned candy, which the public has no choice but to swallow from Netanyahu’s hand.

Because the best way to scare the public is to show that the power structure not only beats up on the weak, it beats up on the strong as well.

But the media isn’t really strong, and some journalists have given up and decided to lose without complaining and stay in the game, supposedly. They chose to be OK with everyone, to write about “radicals from both sides,” while knowing which side they’d better not mess with. So Netanyahu gave the appearance of gagging the strong, although both he and they know they haven’t been strong for a long time, while at the same time showing everyone else what he is capable of doing.

The method is simple. A decision is made, protest arises, the protest is silenced by a meeting of protesters convened by the prime minister himself. The nave protesters are convinced that the man who likened them to Hamas in his election propaganda is going to fight to the end to keep things as they are. The pendulum swings all the way to the other side, and the people of the new broadcasting corporation, the old Israel Broadcasting Authority’s brothers, who until then had the advantage without wanting it, try to fight back – but only get the finger.

Heads roll in basements, the spin job goes wild in the Whatsapp accounts of TV news editors, and just when things seem to be shaping up, the bad news is brought down like a sword. Half an hour before the IBA’s flagship program is aired, 49 years after it debuted, its staff gets half an hour to say goodbye, half an hour to find the words.

The players are mostly exhausted, too frightened to make a sound, to protest or identify themselves. The largest opposition party is in the midst of a leadership primary and swinging between a frightened left and a confused left. The second largest party is heedlessly busy calculating votes, and its people are too arrogant to understand that they’re next in line. The third, small party, which dares to raise its head, is showered with the sweat of its bigger sisters, who shun it.

This ends our broadcast. Another successful targeted assassination by the right-wing’s government.