The Israeli Media’s Bite Is as Weak as Its Bark

When will they understand: A journalist who is not ‘anti’ in his consciousness and temperament is an anti-journalist, and a government mouthpiece is not a newspaper.

Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid
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Trying to get the picture: Anchors, commentators and reporters talking nonstop, repeating or contradicting themselves.
Trying to get the picture: Anchors, commentators and reporters talking nonstop, repeating or contradicting themselves.Credit: Screenshot from Channel 2
Yossi Sarid
Yossi Sarid

I too was invited to take part in the annual Israeli journalism conference held in Eilat last week. I was asked to dine at two roundtables — one discussing sacred cows, the other the Gaza war and its treatment in the media.

I glanced at the long list of participants and got bored, so I stayed home. But I’ve thought up a few things I could have said there, which I’ll lay out here for my journalistic colleagues.

Faithful readers of this column have learned about the cows — whether healthy or emaciated — grazing in the grass on my riverbank. There’s not a sacred one in the bunch.

As a vegetarian I’m against any kind of slaughter — whether kosher of treif — but if we put a cow on the pedestal of sacredness, I want to butcher it immediately. The more sacred cows come up the Nile, the more people drown in it.

Be wary of sacred cows; abomination will come from them. Consider food served by the authorities an impure, disgusting thing.

Yes, the common politician, he’s guilty until proven innocent. He’s a liar until proven pure. Suspect him and suspect him — until you honor him. And not because you have little faith, but because these politicians are masters of deceit. How many times can you believe Pinocchio?

With the media during wars, it’s enlistment without any unnecessary questions. Don’t think I have a special interest in the opinion of Danny or Dana, Ronny or Udi, but they’re the ones fattening the campfire of societal unity with the kindling of their thoughts. And Amnon Abramovich isn’t enough to piss on the fire and put it out.

When the sound of the shofar is heard, they forget to be dogs — to bark and bite. Is the makeup on their faces the entire story? Maybe they’re only pretending these are their faces. In any case, they’re compelled by the ratings, the real bosses. The voice of the people is the voice of God.

Broadcasters recognize lies more than others do. Our correspondents discovered at the conference that the police lie to them, and the army spokesman hands out prizes to well-behaved journalists. Who knows the truth about the lies better than they?

Now we’re looking into the killing at Beitunia, with the defense minister saying “I know this practice of editing videos.” We hoped for a dairy farmer and got a plasterer to cover things up.

And you, my colleagues, will remain the spokespeople for the habitual liars, as if the rotting corpse of the Ashkenazi-Barak affair had already been removed from the room, as if the mystery of the Jordanian judge had already been solved — the guy who was shot five times on the Allenby Bridge and killed. Eight months have passed and there are no findings. Is this a culture of investigation or a culture of lies?

And once again you will invite to your studios the number-one expert, the guy who made a name for himself over Mohammed al-Dura and later determined that the Beitunia film was staged.

And as on every Friday, government officials will appear on the main news program and resell us the deceit about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the chief inciter. And the anchorperson won’t even raise an eyebrow. When will they understand: A journalist who is not “anti” in his consciousness and temperament is an anti-journalist, and a government mouthpiece is not a newspaper.

Thomas Jefferson is an old friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Once they met in Washington and Tommy told him how he prefers newspapers without a government to a government without newspapers.

Bibi rushed to agree: That’s exactly why I offered the Palestinians an ideal country — without a prime minister and ministers. I even agreed for Sheldon Adelson to distribute newspapers there.

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