Why let reality get in the way of good PR?

The Australian Jewish News (AJN) argues that the world’s media has been generally fair to an ailing Ariel Sharon:

“Sharon, in our opinion, was a tough and courageous leader who did much to advance Israel’s interests by erecting the security wall and disengaging from Gaza – but he did not believe in a ‘peace process’ with the current Palestinian leadership, nor did he pursue one since his election in 2001. The main thrust of Sharon’s policy, after all, was unilateralism, not bilateralism – the fundamental prerequisite for a ‘peace process’ between Israel and the Palestinians.

“But if the world’s media insist on portraying Sharon as a champion of peace and reconciliation, this is one occasion when we won’t argue with them.”

The AJN may not care about the truthfulness of such adulation, but surely a newspaper of record should worry about accuracy (especially in light of recent figures that show the high price of the “peace process” for both Palestinians and Israelis.) At least Haaretz understands what a serious newspaper should be focusing on:

“It is difficult to know whether the government’s decision to imprison 800,000 Palestinians in the northern West Bank by thinning out traffic almost entirely at the main crossings from Jenin, Nablus and Tul Karm southward was taken after all the implications had been taken into consideration, or, as is often the case, whether the decision was made by the military and Shin Bet security services on the ground. It is doubtlessly easier for the security forces to pursue those planning acts of terror when the West Bank is divided, when roads are closed and reduced traffic at the crossings allows for maximum control of the Palestinian population. There is also no doubt that a few dozen Islamic Jihad activists are travelling around the northern West Bank and planning acts of terror. The question is whether someone has taken overall responsibility for the clearly disproportional steps taken since December 2 against a huge number of people, preventing them from living lives that are already difficult.

“It is Hamas that benefits from this worsening situation, channelling the distress and frustration to the ballot box on election day.” [It is interesting that Hamas is now talking about the possibility of negotiating with Israel.]

If the AJN wants to best serve its Jewish constituents, it needs to move past the platitudes and tell readers more than what they want to hear.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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