Democracy and media manipulation

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11 Responses

  1. Moshe Schorr says:

    Jonathan, it’s a shame your words do not reach the audience which _might_ take them to heart – the great “unwashed masses” the the “elites” seem determined to mold into their own image.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    The US also suffers from this problem. See, for example, this cartoon. Of course Israel is a smaller market, which means there is less media competition. That makes matters worse.

    The problem isn’t journalists who are willing to abuse their power. It is human nature to abuse power. The problem is that the audience lets them. I suspect we do it because we all suffer from collective ADD. Consistent stories are a lot easier to digest than the real complexity of issues, and there are so many other things that compete for our attention (intellectually demanding work, TV, cell phones, blogs, advertising, etc.).

    Unfortunately, I can’t see any solution that would preserve democracy.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    There is much evidence that the liberal media in the US and its members are strongly pro Democrat and even donate to Democratic candidates. (There is no newspaper that tries to shape one’s thinking on a wide range of issues and which is resolutely anti Bush, anti Israel and anti-anything that remotely reeks of religion quite like the NY Times.)
    There is a website that recently profiled the amount of these donations. IIRC, one well known female journalist was quoted in the course of one of the Clinton campaigns that she would do anything ( Hamavin yavin vhamaskil yaskil vain makaom lhaarich yoser kaan) to “help” Clinton’s reelection.

  4. Garnel Ironheart says:

    What has always suprised me is that, with all the wealthy right-wing Jews in Israel and Golus, none of them have tried to launch a well done set of newspapers, radio stations and TV stations to counter the constant left wing propaganda in main-stream Israeli media.
    What right wing stuff is out there (Arutz Sheva, etc), while battling valiantly, lacks the panache and slick presentation of the left wing competitors.
    Why is that?

  5. HESHY BULMAN says:

    Essentially, the problem is that in Israel there is as yet no viable “alternative media”, aside from Arutz Sheva, which is widely perceived by secular Israeli society as fringe lunatic, and which, indeed, is given to exaggeration and hyperbole at times. Most disheartening is the fact that even if some enterprising individual or group were to attempt to establish such a voice, the Israeli establishment (almost certainly, the courts) would quickly either silence it outright, or make it impossible for such a station or program to continue operations, through other means. And, of course, the more popular the program might be, the more urgent the need to silence it. In areas such as this,the Israeli government has shown itself to be far more draconian than the U.S. The “fairness doctrine” (read: “THE LEFT WING AGENDA”)has long been firmly in place in Israel, and there is no indication of the political will to abolish it at any time in the future – perhaps yet another vestige of our Country’s Communist origins. Alas, I fear, there is no Jewish Rush Limbaugh on the horizen. We shall have to do with Moshiach, may he come speedily in our days.

  6. Menachem Petrushka says:

    Then there are Hamodia amd Yated Neeman the bastions of freedom of expression and speech Their writers never aim to set their readers’ agenda and control their thoughts. They only offer free and open debate

    Kol haposel bemumo poseel

    The real issue for Jonathan Rosenbkum is not that “the Israeli Supreme Court justices share with the media elites a certain arrogant assurance of their own wisdom and their mandate to impose the fruits of that wisdom on their fellow citizens”. It is pure and simple envy. The Supreme Court justices are in control and the Charedi leadership is not. Both the leftist elites and charedim believe in Plato’s Republic, they only differ on who the wise men are.

    I would bet dollars to donuts that Mr. Rosenblum does not favor
    “that the determination of public policy should be made by RABBINICAL figures who stand for election at relatively short intervals and are thus accountable to the citizenry.”

  7. Elozor Preil says:

    Sounds as if the Zionist ideal of a “democratic Jewish” state fails on both counts.

  8. Tal Benschar says:

    The major difference is that in the U.S. there are many alternative outlets for news and alternative opinions, incuding the internet, talk radio, and FOX news. In Israel, there is almost a monopoly on news dissemination and the elite like to keep it that way.

  9. HILLEL says:

    In Stalinist Russia, the members of the propaganda press were an integral part of the government. Pravda was Stalin’s lapdog.

    In most of the world, there is no such thing as an “independent” press. Each media organization speaks for a particular party.

    The only way to get a full picture of current events is to hear opposing sides of each argument by reading about the same event in two disparate news sources. This is only posible when the Government does not establish an ideological monopoly on who can broadcast over the airwaves.

    In Israel, near-monopoly by the left over the airwaves is the rule. Those who want to broadcast a more religious perspective are termed “pirate” media.

    Now that the Shas Party has taken the Communications portfolio in the Government, an attempt is being made to legitimize the “pirate” media.

    Let’s hope this initiative succeeds.

  10. David says:

    Aren’t some of the enterprises that Mr. Rosenblum mentioned publicly financed by tax dollars and wouldn’t that be a key difference between them and the Hamodia?

  11. HESHY BULMAN says:

    I second David’s astute observation. Furthermore, any Jew who believes in the Torah must give credence to the fact that it is at least possible for people whose sole occupation is Torah to posses greater truth than those whose sole occupation is the advancement of their political careers, and the protection of their rears. You may tell me that you don’t believe that there truly exists a Rabbi whose sole occupation is Torah, and I will tell you that I don’t believe that there truly exists an Israeli politician who has any concern in his life whatsoever other than his own personal advancement. I’ll cast my lot with the Rabbi’s, thank you.

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