A New Approach to Media Relations
“The J” – Friday February 2, 2007
An Israeli carrot for the foreign press
There’s a “media war” against
“The media” is, of course, not monolithic — there are bloggers and broadcasters, print and radio correspondents, anchors and interviewers, based in or visiting Israel from virtually every country in the world. Do they all hate the Jews? Are they all anti-Israel, willing pawns in Hezbollah and Hamas’ psychological warfare campaign to destroy the Jewish state?
Of course, it is not only the media. According to Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, on a “popular level,” Americans deeply support
After visiting dozens of universities over the past three years, former Knesset member
And as attorney Alan Dershowitz notes. even some
These facts should worry us all. A generation ago, European opinion elites in the media and universities began the process of accepting the “Palestinian narrative” and demonizing Israel and its leaders; today most European leaders, nursed on images of imperialist, racist Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator, view Israel as inherently evil, and thus view the questioning of Israel’s legitimacy as a reasonable part of public discourse.
What conclusions are being reached by the media-consuming public and college students who will be the next decades’ leaders? We need only to look at the appeasement policies of Europe towards the Islamo-fascists of
I am not by any means diminishing the very real hardships that Palestinians suffer under both the strictures of
The media is the lens through which policy-makers and the public view issues about which they have no first-hand knowledge. So the media must be our first and primary focus if we are to address this crucial imbalance.
It is not enough to merely criticize the world’s media for being “biased” against
Previous approaches to
A second approach has been to criticize the media and academia for a lack of balance. The drawbacks of both these approaches — which are certainly an important element in any defense of Israel — is that they are too shrill for credibility. Journalists and professors, when presented with an “explanation” or a critique of their bias, dismiss the correction as biased or politically-motivated.
But there is an objective reality that can be researched and reported, fairly, by the media and academia. I am convinced that accuracy is
Though many arrive in
And they are, on the whole, open and accepting of such a service-oriented, gentle approach. The demand exists. As Simon McGregor-Wood, ABC News Middle East Bureau Chief and chairman of the Foreign Press Association in
If MediaCentral can offer journalists balanced and neutral assistance, we will succeed. Journalists are bombarded with unsolicited material, most of it, with an agenda, seeking to pull them one way, or another. We need access to everyone, and every shade of opinion. We need to talk to the newsmakers, and also to the people whose voices are rarely heard,” McGregor-Wood added.
The majority of foreign journalists serving in
Journalists receiving incredible hospitality and help from the Palestinian Authority and its supporters — there are at least 12 official or semi-official well-funded NGOs serving the media in the disputed territories — are inclined to relate more sympathetically to their hosts. It’s time for
Whether discovering the acclaimed new Israeli film “Sweet Mud” — the first-ever Israeli film to be accepted to the Sundance Festival competition and Israel’s entry for the best foreign film Oscar — or witnessing Arab democracy activists interacting with Israelis, whether meeting “average” Israelis informally over a beer or learning about how Israel is the only nation on the planet increasing its forest acreage rather than decimating its natural forests, foreign journalists in Israel are open to a new approach.