Problems with Matti Friedman's Tablet essay

… titled An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth: A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters

  1. Betrays bias with tone-deaf language and argument that the Gaza death toll is too small to matter. “When the hysteria abates, I believe the events in Gaza will not be remembered by the world as particularly important. People were killed, most of them Palestinians…” (he’s wrong, this war will be seen as a turning point, but that’s another discussion)
  2. The idea that coverage should mirror the death toll is highly simplistic. Many factors go into news judgment about what should be covered, from interest value to strategic importance to the US’s role in creating the problem and/or its ability to solve it. Was there too much coverage of 3000 deaths on 9/11?
  3. Therefore, blaming hatred of Jews or of Israel for the high volume of Gaza coverage is an obnoxious stance. In numerous ways the US media has reflected Israel’s somewhat flawed narrative (e.g., self-defense).
  4. And if you’re counting, the context is much larger anyway. 11 million Palestinians are either in exile (5m), under occupation, or “Israeli citizens” with rights severely curtailed (marriage, land and housing, employment, freedom of movement, immigration, army), subject to vast confiscation of property, frequent violence etc. That’s a large number of people, worth covering.
  5. His self-pitying drama of the 300 million Jew-hating Arabs surrounding 6 million brave Jewish democrats is pure propaganda. Israel’s problem is the 6 million Palestinians close at hand who it displaced and who it discriminates against, not massive opposition from the Arab world (many of whom, authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are lining up to help Israel).
  6. His whining about nomenclature, who should be called Palestinians versus “Israeli Arabs” shows he is deeply embedded in the hasbara (Israeli p.r.) machine. It’s a longstanding and cruel Israeli tactic to undermine Palestinian identity and to divide Palestinians into as many small groups that can’t associate with each other and who have different rights (e.g.: residents of West Bank Areas A, B and C, Jerusalem, citizens of Israel who can vote but face 50 laws that discriminate, Gazans, and the diaspora; also, Muslims, Christians, Druze).
The Deadline

If you do this, your life

will turn into effervescent bliss.

All the wrong people will bow

all the right people will hold you

and never again will there be anything

so hard as this dragon.

Your fingers grip the parapets 

of triumph, tasks muscles

to extend a little farther and

contract a little tighter.

Just watch TV and do

what they do.



But if you let go,

if you flounder,

then there’s still

another mountain.

Another kingdom left 

to conquer.

A burning squall

of ferocity inside you


and wild.

Tumblr Crushes:

*disclosure - Unnecessary Journalism Phrases is a side-project I started last week, so that’s why the disproportionate amount of likes. And of course I recommend following that particular Tumblr, but you’re missing out if you’re not following the rest of the today’s list.