Fox News' Israel Bureau Chief: It's 'Insulting' Trump Didn't Tag Us as Enemy of the People

On the line with Fox News’ Israel bureau chief, Eli Fastman: 'No media body wants to be a collaborator of the government.'

An advertisement for 'Fox And Friends' is displayed outside of the Fox News studio, February 17, 2017 in N.Y.C. Trump recently tweeted that Fox and Friends is 'great'.
Drew Angerer, AFP

“Fox News.”

Hi, who is this?

It’s Keren.

Hi Keren, do you speak Hebrew?

[Keren, in Hebrew:] Yes.

Cool. I was just speaking to John Huddy, one of your reporters in Israel.

Uh-huh.

My name is Nir Gontarz and I write for Haaretz.

Uh-huh.

In short, he told me he needs authorization from the Fox head office in Israel, from you, in order to talk to me.

I get it. First of all, I’ll ask our bureau chief. To the best of my knowledge, authorization from New York is needed, but let me deal with it. What are we talking about? Questions about what ?

President Donald Trump described the major media outlets in the United States as “the enemy of the American people.”

Right.

He mentioned CNN, NBC, ABC, the New York Times and

But not Fox. Right.

Exactly. Not you. It interests me to know why almost everyone is an enemy of the American people, but not you.

You want to know what Huddy thinks about that, I understand. That’s what you want to hear from him.

Yes, from him or from anyone else here in the Israel branch.

No, no. It’s hard for me to believe, but let me consult with Eli Fastman, our bureau chief.

So maybe I’ll talk to Eli?

Let me check it out first. You want to leave me a number?

052-5558285. The impression at the moment is that you didn’t make the list of enemies of the people only because you support him, and not because of any other aspect of your journalistic work. Those who are for him are patriots, those who criticize him are enemies of the people in his eyes.

Far be it from me to speak for Trump and his views. Let me check with Eli.

Good. Thanks.

[Fifteen minutes later]

Hello.

Nir?

Yes.

Ahalan. Good afternoon. My name is Eli Fastman. I’m the boss at Fox here in Israel.

Hello, boss.

First of all, let me tell you that I really like your Friday column.

Nice. You’re guesting in it as we speak.

No. I’m not yet guesting in it.

Yes you are.

In any event, I understood that you started to talk to one of our reporters, and he The truth is that we’re not allowed without New York’s authorization. The authorizations from New York can take quite a few days, if they’re granted at all. I don’t know if he explained that to you calmly, or said it unpleasantly, but that’s the situation.

He was actually polite. I told him I’m always amazed at journalists who accept a ban on being interviewed from their superiors.

I agree with you one-hundred percent. One-hundred percent. I agree with you. But that’s the procedure at Fox. It really is uncalled for, but it’s like that in every media body, as far as I know.

No way. Not in Haaretz. Someone’s going to tell me not to talk?

Well, it’s different with the Americans.

Anyway, what interests me is the feeling at Fox News after President Trump claimed that many of your colleagues in America are enemies of the people – and why you remained off that list. And also: Why isn’t Fox up in arms and telling the president: “You can’t talk like that about journalists”?

I think that at least some of the Fox reporters and presenters in the United States were up in arms and did say those things in interviews. Both with the White House chief of staff and with others.

Okay.

I think also [in an interview] with the secretary of defense. Our correspondent in Iraq, or a Pentagon correspondent who accompanied the secretary of defense in Iraq, asked him if he thinks that the press really is the enemy of the people. She’s the only one who asked, and he told her absolutely not.

Okay.

I personally would not be opposed to Trump including us in that category of enemies of the people, but he didn’t do it.

Insulting, huh?

Yes. It hurts. It’s very insulting. Because it says that we are a type of collaborator.

Right.

No media body wants to be a collaborator of the government. But he made us the exception. Yes.

Fine. So thanks for talking to me.

That’s how it is. If you want, call New York. Maybe they’ll talk to you.

Yeah, right.

I know It’s hard for me to believe. They’ll probably slam the phone down.

Yes. Good, thanks. Bye.

Listen, there’s YouTube, Faceboook, you can see many reporters who were up in arms and

Listen, when we talk about the relations between Israel and the United States, it’s said proudly that they’re based on shared values. I think that’s never been as true as in the past month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attacking the media and marking us as the enemies of the people, and so is Trump. They both attack minorities. Terrific shared values.

Those are the shared values. The negative ones. It’s true. It’s true.

Good. Thanks.

Okay, Nir. Bye.