For Israel, which probably is the most media-saturated country in the world, the relentless procession of false stories in recent years has done real damage to the country’s image abroad, and to its morale at home. Mohammed al-Dura, Jenin, the June 2006 Gaza beach explosion, the Qana bombing during the Lebanon war, the Gaza “blackout” this winter — these are just a few examples of crises created for Israel by journalists who are either staggeringly credulous (or incredibly cynical) in their willingness to promulgate a sensational story.The argument that Israel cannot afford to alienate journalists runs contrary to the fact that it certainly has not hurt the Palestinian to have have threatened, kidnapped, and even converted journalists covering the Palestinian territories.
The main reason Israel should never expel journalists, say government and military officials when one broaches the matter, is because Israel would be consumed by international outrage over such supposedly fascistic tactics. I’ve always been skeptical of this claim: journalists, in my experience, are far more concerned with their own careers and notoriety than they are with defending the supposedly inviolable principles of their profession (for which many reporters operating in Israel don’t have much regard in the first place). My sense of things is that, especially among foreign correspondents, maintaining access is the preeminent interest.
By the same token, some of the responsibility for the bad press rests with the Israel government. There has been the tendency,--as in the Al-Dura case--for Israel to jump the gun and take responsibility before themselves checking the facts.
But if it should happen that Israel does in fact decide on a new policy of kicking out journalists who have "done real damage to the country’s image abroad, and to its morale at home" and "are far more concerned with their own careers and notoriety than they are with defending the supposedly inviolable principles of their profession"--could the next step be to kick out Olmert?
Technorati Tag: Israel.
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