Monday, 21 May 2007

Israel Media Watch

I just discovered the website of the Israel Media Watch - to be checked out

Sunday, 13 May 2007


I read in The Economist , a publication I respect, about Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his tasteless (not to say inaccurate) comments about Japan's Imperical Army and sex-slavery in the 1930's and 1940's.

According to The Economist "[Mr Abe]...was hailed as a youthful,electorally savvy representative of a new political generation........Mr Abe began in spectacular fashion..." but later in the article "This revealed Mr Abe's true colours, as a conservative politician who has long taken a revisionist view of Japan's 20th century history".

So we see what the media, even the unhysterical Economist has done. First they built up Mr Abe as the great reformer after the historical insensitivities of his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi. And then, barely a few months later, they tear him down.

Is this hypocrisy or merely sloppiness? Did The Economist not know of Mr Abe's long-held revisionist views when they built him up? Or were they simply enjoying the benefit of 2 stories -one to build him up and the other to tear him down.

The news media are on the constant search for drama and dramatic rises followed by crashing downfalls of companies, politicians and other celebrities serve this purpose perfectly. While, in our personal and professional lives we generally favour stability and gradual change, in the media world the more volatile, unpredictable and unreliable someone is , the more media coverage he or she can get.

Understanding the media

Welcome to David Lisbona's Understanding the Media blog. The aim of this blog is to share with you my questions and insights about the way conventional print and broadcast media bring us what they call the "news".

Let me explain my perspective. I am a 58-year old Jewish Israeli , born in Britain and living in Israel for for the last 34 years. My interest in the news media is as a consumer in a country which generates a lot of "news" for its small size and where the news makes a lot of difference to our lives. I can imagine that in many other places in the world you can live most of your life without the news ever making a significant impact on your life.

In Israel, we are living in a dangerous and volatile part of the world and many of us believe that perceptions and political power can affect our long term-future here and whether we live in peace or in an ongoing war footing.

News media has changed dramatically over the last 40 years and I believe that most of us trust the news media much less than we did years ago (as we trust most symbols of authority much less). I invite you to join me on a voyage of discovery and understanding.