Friday, June 02, 2006

Media Bias in the US and Israel

Those among you bemoaning the state of the media in the United States should realize that it could be worse. Caroline Glick writes here latest column one at the Jerusalem Post:
In Israel, as the country's steady economic growth and high placement on just about every significant global economic index shows, the economic liberalization reforms enacted by former prime minister and finance minister Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu have been a complete success. The Israeli economy is the envy of a Europe that suffers from stagnation and decline.

Yet inside of Israel, the country's economic success is a well-kept secret. Most Israelis operate under the impression that the country is on the verge of economic ruin - that poor people are starving, that sick people are going without proper medical care. The reason that most Israelis believe that the country is teetering on the brink of an economic disaster is because the Israeli media have consistently reported an economic narrative that has absolutely no relationship with reality. So, while international investors line up to invest in the Israeli economy, Israeli citizens look to socialist politicians and pundits to save them from their capitalist nightmare of success.
A similar situation exists here in the U.S. where headlines read "Payroll Growth Stalls With 75,000 New Jobs" and "Jobs Report Signals Cooling Economy, " yet the articles state that "the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.6 percent, the lowest since the summer of 2001." The security situation is similarly distorted. In Israel

Palestinian terrorists Tuesday morning videotaped Israeli forces in the ruins of the Israeli community of Dugit attacking a Palestinian terror squad as it prepared to launch a Kassam rocket on Ashkelon. On Wednesday the IDF admitted that it has been deploying commandos in Gaza to prevent rocket and missile launches for the past two months. That deployment had been kept secret to prevent the public from learning just how ill-advised last year's retreat was. The need to deploy ground forces in Gaza today proves unequivocally that the only way to defend Ashkelon and the other communities bordering Gaza from attack is by deploying IDF boots on the ground in Gaza.

Just as they distorted their coverage of the Katyusha attacks on northern Israel on Sunday, to prevent the public from absorbing the significance of the IDF ground operations in Gaza, the media concentrated its coverage of the deployment of ground forces in Gaza on irrelevant side issues. All the media turned their attention to the terror propaganda film. That film regaled Israeli TV viewers with footage of poor terrorists dying of their wounds just before they had the opportunity to attack Ashkelon with their rockets.[emphasis added]

I almost pity those, like columnist Charles Krauthammer ("the Israeli abandonment of Gaza ... is both correct and necessary") and classicist and military historian Victor Davis Hanson ("Sharon's withdrawal policy from Gaza...can only help a militarily superior Israel"), who thought the Gaza withdrawal was a good strategy. But they should have known better. Just as in economics, regulations breed further regulations, so in foreign policy, a concession leads to further concessions. I was always skeptical of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and doubly so of the Gaza "disengagement". Now Hezbollah sits on Israel's northern border and Hamas and Al Qaeda on Israel's southern. Sometimes I really wonder whether withdrawing from Sinai in return for "peace" from Egypt was such a good idea to begin with...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Victor Hansen could really believe that the withdrawl was a good thing. Then again I don't see how he could be such a big supporter of the nation building approach to war in Iraq and diplomacy with Iran. He is a scholar of ancient warfare for goodness sake! He must have read Polybius and Livy. How can he not see that the brilliant, offensive, unrestrained wars of the Roman Republic were what won them the peace and security they enjoyed? Is it that he is just too damn Christian? I don't understand conservatives.

D. Eastbrook

Gideon said...

Hanson is also among the Conservatives (along with Dennis Prager and presumably Rodney Stark) who talk about "so-called Dark Ages" and, as I commented on a previous occasion a bizarre belittling of reason.

Ironically, Ayn Rand knew this about Conservatives all along (certainly since the 50s). I find that many of us, who study her, far from always accepting all her ideas uncritically, take years to become fully convinced of various aspects of her thought. For me, I used to think Conservatives were just slightly misguided allies. The recent increasingly explicit religiousity started getting me worried and Peikoff's DIM lecture conclusion really got me thinking. But I really think it was the behaviour of almost the entire Conservative establishment during the Schiavo fiasco that really convinced me that however many occasional intelligent points Conservatives may make on isolated issues, we are not allies. We are not fighting for the same thing. To paraphrase the title of a recent book by a prominent Conservative, they are the party of "living death."

Anonymous said...

I just read the post you linked to. It was excellent. I especially liked this quote from John Locke:

"... and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion, because they are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as a beast of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power."

Like you would ever hear a conservative speak positively about the "common law of reason." And you are right about Ayn Rand and her philosophical conclusions about conservatives. For myself, I read them and soon pushed them to the back of my mind thinking that the conservatives had improved. I have since realized that isn't the case and they are as flawed as ever. Sadly VDH is a case in point. He ocassionaly makes brilliant points, but at core he too is anti-reason.

D. Eastbrook

Gideon said...

Thanks! I think the fact that most of the time, most Conservatives sound quite reasonable is what makes evaluating them such a tricky issue. The left (particularly in its more nihilist forms) is a far more obvious enemy of civilization but that doesn't mean, despite much rhetoric to the contrary, that the Conservatives are its friend. The Conservatives are appeasers of religion and as such are bringing us closer with civilization's oldest enemy.

Anonymous said...

"The Conservatives are appeasers of religion and as such are bringing us closer with civilization's oldest enemy."

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the great post. You and Gus are two of my favorite bloggers.

D. Eastbrook