The More You Know, the Less You Trust

Matti Friedman is a former Associated Press correspondent in its Jerusalem bureau. If you missed his excellent insider’s account of how the news from the Middle East gets shaped, and becomes misshapen, please give it a read. The more you know about how the media actually operates, the less you will trust it. 

Friedman identifies a number of important  problems with coverage of Israel, starting with the oldest one:

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. 

. . . Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality. They may convince themselves that all of this is the Jews’ problem, and indeed the Jews’ fault. But journalists engage in these fantasies at the cost of their credibility and that of their profession. And, as Orwell would tell us, the world entertains fantasies at its peril.

From ignoring key aspects of the story — starting with what Hamas is and what it is about — to the outright suppression of non-conforming stories, the reality is ugly and disturbing. 

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