Tue 20 Feb 2024 6:26 pm - Jerusalem Time

Journalists or public relations employees?.. An Israeli magazine criticizes the local media’s bias towards the army’s narrative

"972+" magazine said that military correspondents in major Israeli media outlets have consistently neglected to investigate the army's behavior and actions, which means that the events of October 7 are a failure for them as well.

The magazine pointed out - in an article by Sebastian Ben Daniel - that the Israeli press remained throughout the war a parody of the press, and provided the average Israeli citizen with countless articles about the anger of the people of Gaza against the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), but did not provide him anything about the fact that the Israeli bombing The intense siege led to the death of more than 12,000 children, made large parts of the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, displaced millions, and created conditions for famine, in addition to the lack of solidarity of Israeli journalists with more than 120 Palestinian journalists who were martyred during the Israeli attack.

The writer sarcastically referred to Akiva Novik, a prominent news anchor and correspondent for the Israeli public broadcaster Kan, who said that the role of journalists is to raise national morale, and therefore what the Israeli public wants to hear is that there are no innocent people in Gaza, and that the Israeli army The mighty are victorious, and that the entire world is anti-Semitic, and that only military pressure will lead to the release of the detainees, contrary to all evidence, and that the Israeli soldiers shooting 3 detainees, while waving white flags, is also Hamas’ fault.

Constant glorification of the army

Ben Daniel stated that the media abdication of responsibility did not begin on October 7, as the Israelis knew little about what their army had been doing for years, when more soldiers were stationed in the West Bank to keep pace with the increasing numbers of settlers and maintain the apartheid system that pushes The Palestinians are under the pressure of the Israeli army, but the Israelis are also paying a price for it.

Just two days before the Hamas attack on southern Israel - as the writer says - two commando units were transferred from the Gaza fence to the West Bank, and the remaining forces near Gaza were left completely unprepared for the attacks that followed.

Military correspondents in Israel not only do not report on such issues, but they continue to glorify the army and take the statements of its spokesman seriously, which falsely convinces the public that everything is fine, and means that the media’s failure to scrutinize the army’s performance played a role. Key in pushing Israel to the disaster of October 7.

The writer gave, for example, the coverage of Amir Bohbut, the military correspondent for the right-wing Walla news site, and said that it glorified the head of military intelligence, Aharon Haliva, and his supposedly invincible plans, in addition to dozens of articles, not one of which criticizes or investigates the army’s activities, but some of them criticize the reserve soldiers who In the context of last year's protests, they threatened not to attend service.

Ben Daniel continued on the coverage of newspapers such as "Yedioth Ahronoth" and "Israel Hayom", which are not very different. Then he referred to the newspaper "Haaretz" and said that it is more critical than others of the army, but it only focuses - in his opinion - on the heinous crimes committed by soldiers in Gaza and the West Bank, and are usually in the opinion pages subject to subscription, and therefore only 5% of Israelis read them, in contrast to the free newspapers “Yedioth Ahronoth” and “Israel Hayom”.

On the few occasions when Israeli news sites publish “investigative reports” by military correspondents, they report only on the army’s internal investigations rather than conducting independent investigations, as happened with the investigation into the shooting of the three detainees.

The price of obliterating the truth

About a decade ago, 972+ magazine published a series of investigative reports entitled “License to Kill,” which explored cases investigated by the Military Police’s Criminal Investigation Division, including the murders of Palestinian teenagers who were shot in the back or head by Israeli soldiers. It also included forgery and lying in investigations, at a time when reporting such incidents was prohibited due to strict censorship.

The writer pointed out that he discovered that reporters often repeat what the army spokesman tells them, and sometimes remove the attribution to him, and publish the messages as news. He gave an example of the tweet of prominent Defense Ministry correspondent, Alon Ben David, when a soldier shot a mentally disabled Palestinian, saying “A terrorist opened fire on the soldiers and was subsequently killed.” It was a lie that he later corrected.

In every case I investigated - the writer says - the Israeli army spokesman published false information that was repeated without attribution, and sometimes these reporters act as public relations representatives for the army, especially when they are invited to watch military training with a new weapon that may need to be marketed before it is exported.

In fairness to many Israeli reporters, Sebastian Ben-Daniel points out that if they investigated army shootings of Palestinians in the West Bank or bombings in Gaza, they would be out of work, because the public simply does not want to hear such news.

The writer concluded that when a country does not have a judicial system that effectively supervises the army, does not have a system of public oversight of its budget, and officers are not held accountable for their criminal behavior, even when violations are clear, then journalists must fill this void, because strict journalism is a requirement. For any healthy society.

Source: Israeli press


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Journalists or public relations employees?.. An Israeli magazine criticizes the local media’s bias towards the army’s narrative