Journalists Play “Fish” With the News
I once thought that journalists and media outlets were interested in reporting on the news-as-it-is and not the news-as-they-want-it-to-be. Silly me! Here is a recent fishing expedition brought to our attention on Twitter. It shows us how journalists play “Fish”. You know the kids’ game I am referring to? Where if you do not have in your hand any of the cards you need to make a set and you ask your fellow players if any of them have, for example, a six. If none of them do, they call out “Fish” and you take the card at the top of the deck on the table.
Well, exactly two weeks ago, I published an article reporting on the fishing expedition in which a Galatz researcher checked out the possibiity that Idan Eretz would tell them what they wanted to hear and when he did not comply, they asked him if he knew someone else who would.
So here is the latest: Michal Kesten Keidar tweeted that she was approached for an interview.
– מיכל שלום רצינו לראיין אותך בבוקר לתכנית שלנו לגבי יום הזכרון והאיסור להגיע לבתי העלמין – מעולה באמת רציתי הזדמנות להגיד שגם הבנים המתים היו מבקשים מכם לא להסתכן – אה רגע אז את לא כועסת? מתנגדת? טוב סליחה ביי.
— Michal Kesten Keidar (@KeidarKesten) April 20, 2020
In English, this is:
Michal, shalom. We are interested in interviewing you this morning for our programme about Holocaust Remembrance Day and the fact that going to the cemetary is forbidden. — Great. I had really wanted the opportunity to say that our dead sons would would also have asked us not to take the risk. — So wait, you are not angry? Not against this decree? Fine sorry bye.
I wonder how many bereaved family members this network researcher had to go through before he or she got the “correct” response. And we know that there were more:
גם אלינו פנו כמה רשתות בבקשה לראיין אותנו על יום הזיכרון. ברגע שאמרנו שאנחנו לא נגיע מפני שלא נרצה לסכן הורים שכולים מבוגרים שיגיעו אם יאפשרו, הם נסוגו מהראיון.
— מירב חגאג (@meravhgag) April 20, 2020
Meirav Hgag’s tweet in English:
We were also approached by a number of networks requesting an interview about Holocaust Remembrance Day. As soon as we said that we were not going because we did not want to risk elderly bereaved parents who would attend if it was allowed, they backed away from the interview.
Later in her thread, Kesten Keidar said she had been approached by several networks and all of them backed off when they heard she was not going to protest against this government decree.
This shows one way journalists report on or editorialize about current events, the way that twists things according to the agenda with which they want to indoctrinate their audience.
Another, more honest way, would be to interview those who have opposing views and let members of the viewing or listening audience decide which seems more reasonable or if, in fact, one side is even more correct than the other side. Another way, if they only want to air one side, would be to report on how many people they had to ask before getting the desired answer. But, of course, that would be too transparent.
My first first-hand exposure to how the media manipulates interviews that go live without the moderator having been able to filter out the interviewee who has the “wrong” attitude involved a morning radio interview with then Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara. His first interview of the morning illucidated important aspects of the situation in which no government minister attended the funerals that day of any of the four soldiers killed by a terrorist. The material was maliciously butchered in a later airing and then disappeared altogether. I describe the process here.
Maybe if we protest long enough and loudly enough, we can get the wicked witch of the media to undo the spell she spun whereby she turned journalists into propagandists. Or do we have to close our eyes, click our heels together three times and recite some magic sentence while the good witch waves a wand over our heads?
Feature Image Credit: pixabay