Media Coverage of Israel

By: Inoljt,

In the past few months and years, media coverage of Israel has had subtle but distinct change in tone. The mainstream media is taking a harder look at Israel's policies, and has found not everything is to its liking.

There are several reasons why coverage of Israel has previously been so positive, and why recently a slight change has occurred. In the first place, Israel is a country culturally very attuned to us. Israel is part of the West; it shares Western norms and values. Many Jews would be comfortable living in the West and do so to this very day. Some of them work in the media and are sympathetic to the struggles their peers face.

Moreover, many in the media (and the vast majority of our country) believed that Israel had been in the right before 2006. Israel had - has - a democracy and a free press and all the things we like a country to have; the Palestine cause and their Arab supporters by and large do not. Israelis such as Yitzhak Rabin were calling for peace; meanwhile, Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas were sending suicide bombers to kill Israelis civilians day after day.

Then came the 9-11 attacks by Muslim terrorists. In its aftermath media coverage of Israel was probably the most positive it had ever been.

There were three events, however, which changed things. At the very least, they have damaged Israeli prestige.

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Fox News

By: Inoljt,

Like many of you, I like to watch movies. Even today, they're still a lot of feel-good, old-fashioned hits that make your heart warm. Things like Slumdog Millionaire and National Treasure.

In National Treasure - the sequel, that is - there exists a scene in which the main character kidnaps the president; its necessary to "find the treasure." It's one of the scenes I remember, not because it's particularly memorable or even good, but because of what the scene expresses. The movie respects the president. He's fundamentally a decent guy or gal who's going to do the right thing in the end. For that, the president deserves our respect. And in National Treasure, he gets it.

Perhaps a lot of more sophisticated persons might view these sentiments as naive. But I'm sure many viewers of Fox News have the same, old-fashioned beliefs. With regard to George Bush in particular, I'm sure many of them believed that he was decent man trying to do the right thing for our country. Whatever his mistakes, he deserved our respect.

Which is why it so disturbs me to watch Fox News today. The channel's attitude is consistently disrespectful to our president. Fox commentators are free - are encouraged, in fact - to ridicule and malign the leader of our nation. They operate from the assumption that Barack Obama is not a decent man and that he does not want to do the right thing for the country. They seem to think that our commander-in-chief is an enemy or something, just because he happens to be a Democrat.

That's bad. It's bad for the president. It's bad for our country, because a polarized nation with a paralyzed leader is always in a state of weakness. Think about Iran today. It's even bad for Fox News and the Republicans, because when they do come up with legitimate criticism - the president's not going to listen anymore. They'll have long lost all their credibility.

Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned type of guy, but I think that our president deserves respect.

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A Major Achievement

By: Inoljt,

A few days ago the House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, a meaningful reform of the way student loans are dealt with.

In my mind, this bill constitutes one of the Obama administration's most important accomplishments.

To understand why, provided hereafter is an explanation of what the bill does. In recent years, the cost for college has increased tremendously, to the point where total expenses exceed per capita American income. Therefore the federal government encourages banks to loan money to students. These loans are guaranteed and subsidized by the government.

Unfortunately, private banks are not in the business to help students. Many private student loans can be compared to sub-prime mortgages; they charge exorbitant interest rates, add numerous fees (e.g. the origination fee), and often take advantage of vulnerable, low-information customers. Moreover, under Republican banking reforms, student debt cannot be wiped away through bankruptcy.

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America's Buddy-Buddy Campaign Press Corps

The presidential press corps seem to want to imitate leeches on the butts of subtropical hunters. Walter Brasch, an award-winning journalist and university professor, explains why.

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The Watchmen: a vapid media fiddles while America burns

This was published originally this week as a long-lead feature piece in Wilder Voice, a publication at Oberlin College in Ohio. It is crossposted at Ich Bin Ein Oberliner. I know it's long, but I think it's worth it.

At a recent campaign stop in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama went bowling. He only played seven frames. He scored a 37. This abysmal score did not go unnoticed in the media. The major papers and news services--AP, Reuters, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post--and a host of minor ones all printed stories. The big television news networks--CNN, MSNBC, FOX--not to be left out, ran their own segments. It was a column after column, day after day, Obama bowl-a-thon.

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