If I could have one wish for 2018 then it would be that Israeli media stop being the mouthpiece of slandering politicians. A new political culture.
Israel has a beautiful bustling press. And we should keep that. I don’t want a limit on the freedom of the press. I’m not saying that politicians are necessarily saints, undeserving of criticism.
Only: The idea that criticism will improve things is a fallacy.
And so it is fiction that putting others down and sensationalism will bring readers or votes. It may bring in some fanatical supporters but at the same time you lose more reasonable people, sick and tired of negativity and libel.
Try these eight guidelines:
1. Attack policy, not politicians, people. That one is a crook and that one is a liar, that one is a thief and that one crazy. All these personal attacks amount to nothing. If their policies are wise, that’s all that counts. And if they are not, only that counts.
Besides, what light in moral darkness is anyone to attack someone else? Realize that when you point a finger at someone, typically three fingers point at yourself and one at G-d.
(If you think you must be negative about people, then reserve that for our real enemies. But also here it might be better to focus on the positive aspects: Iranians are tired of poverty and lack of freedom; people in Gaza really suffer under Chamas; most Arab Palestinians in East Jerusalem prefer to stay in Israel; most Egyptians never interacted with a Jew and all their information about Jews comes from libel, etc.)
“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
– Abraham Lincoln
2. Be honest. Keep your word and never lie – except towards enemies.
There is a difference between competition (may the best win) and enemies (may they bite the dust). Don’t be so naive to keep your word opposite an enemy who will never.
But that doesn’t mean you should also play wise-guy with your friends and competition.
If you can’t get it honestly, maybe you’re not meant to have it.
3. Don’t exaggerate.
Don’t say that many will die, that democracy will come to an end, that war must break out, if you don’t get it your way. Democracy is that you may lose.
What arrogance to hold that you know better than these stupid voters who have not seen the light yet. That … is the voice of a dictator! If you want people’s votes, start by respecting their judgment. If they didn’t vote for your ideas, apparently you failed to make your case.
Also: One club did not destroy its opponent – they won heavily. It’s sports, for Heaven’s sake!
4. Be positive. Say what you want. Explain why. Explain how your ideas are helpful.
A good idea becomes clear when you share and explain it – not when you attack others’ ideas.
Smile instead of showing off your (real or fake) anger.
Sound hopeful and confident.
Show why you are against some other ideas without (directly or indirectly) putting others down.
Press: Build Israel’s morale! So the strike is not against the scandalous wages but for a more fair pay.
5. I would be thrilled with a law that penalizes Israeli anti-Zionist news outlets slandering Israel in English while in Hebrew they’re more reasonable and Israeli pro-Zionist news outlets sweet-talking about Israel in English while in Hebrew they’re extremist and racist. (This is how they collect sympathy and support at home to spread their lies abroad.)
6. And now I’m at it: can we also stop seeing headlines like “WATCH: man fell to his death” and similar hurtful clips.
It’s downright immoral to use people’s anxiety to score views at the expense of their emotional health.
7. And the voyeuristic reports. Reporting how famous people cry at their tragedies. What else are they supposed to do? This is not news, it’s embarrassing intrusion.
Israelis who feel a right to such garbage: Get a life of your own!
8. Finance polls that shows that any criticism of anyone and all political negativity only backfires: costs votes, readers. That’ll teach’m.
(The articles of the above hyperlinks I didn’t read; only the headlines.)