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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Weekly Commentary: Media's temporary misgivings over bias can't be expected to impact coverage of Knesset elections

Weekly Commentary: Media's temporary misgivings over bias can't be expected
to impact coverage of Knesset elections

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 18 September 2008

With the Kadima primaries over with the desired results, some in the Israeli
media engaged in some very temporary breast beating over their failure to do
a serious job covering the campaign.

The media supported Tzipi Livni, they openly admitted, and thus failed the
public by allowing her to avoid ever actually explaining her positions on
the major issues facing Israel today or addressing the serious failures she
has been associated with during the course of her service.

The bias went, of course, far beyond that.

When Livni spent a fortune of taxpayer's money to fly back with her
entourage from Paris in time for a private event rather than later in PM
Olmert's jet, the item died in almost minutes. If the story had been about
Netanyahu it would have run for days.

The heavy involvement of Livni's husband in her campaign was mentioned in
passing without comment. The same involvement by Sarah Netanyahu would
have been a scandal worthy of thousands of column inches and hours of
broadcast time.

Even Livni's Mossad cachet remains intact despite the revelation that
instead of being a female 007, she served as an apartment sitter.

But this temporary media self criticism is nothing new.

There is a long tradition in Israel for the media to first be very heavy
handed in promoting a candidate, party or action and then engage in self
criticism only after their efforts have succeeded.

This way they can "have their cake and eat it too" since, on the one hand,
they use their power to promote their political agenda, while at the same
time embrace, ex-post, the moral high ground.

So while today, for a moment, the media may show some concern for their
failure to do their job, there is, unfortunately, no reason not to expect
the same full court press to promote their agenda: preventing Netanyahu from
becoming prime minister at all costs.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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