Abraham Bril

What media should I follow ?

Since the October 7 massacre committed by Hamas most of us have been glued to the TV and to social media. I read newspapers from all over the world, including from Russia, Iran and from various Arab countries. I know what to expect from those sources, but I want to see it anyway.

Closer to home, I watch Fox News and CNN as well as occasionally Sky News and BBC (yes I am sometimes a masochist…). And of course I often watch i24 the Israeli English language online TV station that fortunately is offered by our cable TV system.

Aside from the mentioned international press, I mostly read the Times of Israel, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and also Daily Mail. I read the news sections and I also read the opinion articles and editorials. I mostly respect Opinions and Editorials because we live in the country of free expression, but what particularly bothers me of the New York Times is that, for several years now, there no longer is a separation between news and opinions. The NYT editors have no visible filter when it comes to coverage of Israel and are too happy to publish anything that is or appears to put Israel in a bad light. Of course the best example is their initial coverage of the bombing of the Gaza hospital which they immediately blamed on Israel because Hamas said so. Yes, a few days later it published an explanation and some regrets, but nothing on its institutional anti-Israel bias.

Almost on a daily basis I write comments on opinion and news articles in the NYT. These are almost always published but with a systematical exception when I criticize the NYT itself. Those comments are never published. I don’t use insulting or indecent language but criticism of the NYT itself is taboo.

Numerous times I promise myself to cancel my NYT subscription, but other than its anti-Israel stand and its general wokisme, the NYT also has a wide coverage of interesting topics. Furthermore, I want to know what this main and old established media says, even if it often enrages and/or saddens me.
The Wall Street Journal keeps a neat separations between news and opinion.

Almost 24/7 I watch CNN and/or Fox News. Fox makes no secret of being profoundly pro-Israel and it has even shown where to donate money to Israel. Generally, I criticize Fox News for also not having a good separation between News and Opinion, but I must admit that when it comes to Israel, it bothers me less.

As far as CNN, its coverage has been a surprise. Almost all of their reporters are objective without any bias. Maybe the exceptions are Becky Anderson and Michael Smerconish. I stopped watching the latter many years ago after his incendiary comments on Israel during one of the previous fights between Israel and Hamas. Some CNN reporters showed emotions when discussing the October 7 massacre and generally they objectively cover the misery of innocent civilians in Gaza, which is indeed a tragedy, though entirely to be blamed on Hamas.

But what most infuriates me is when reporters talk about Hamas as militants and not terrorists. The general definition of militant is activist, extremist, radical enthusiast, supporter, follower, devotee…. Hamas fighters may have some of these elements, but fundamentally they are terrorists. Some media, and especially BBC, glorify Hamas by talking about militants and even Richard Engel of NBC does this.

I understand the need for journalists to treat the news with objectivity and to understand both sides of a conflict, but refusing to call Hamas terrorists is not being objective and is an insult to intelligence and the truth. Journalists can talk about the many facets of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and objectively they can find issues with actions and decisions taken by Israel. Some issues are clear and other are more complicated. But Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself is not subjective. The fact that no Gaza civilian would have been hurt without Hamas attacking Israel is also not subjective. That the Gaza blockade exists because Hamas has been attacking Israel for so many years is not subjective.

Last note…. Journalists and politicians, including Biden and Blinken, should understand that what has happened in Gaza all these years proofs that their Two State solution will simply not work. Believe me, I wish that Palestinians would live outside of Israel, in a peaceful, democratic and economically stable place. The West insisted on elections in Gaza in 2007 and and see what happened. The Palestinian Authority has not held elections in the West Bank for some twenty years. Officially it blames Israel for not letting people in East Jerusalem participate in such elections, but the real reason is that Hamas would win and oust the PA just like they did in Gaza in 2007.

Therefore a Two-State solution makes zero sense if it generates more violence. Journalists and politicians should stop making these empty statements about a Two-State solution and come up with something that is realistic. I bet you that a majority of Israelis would accept a Palestinian State, and agree to very difficult concessions, IF & When it would be peaceful, but I don’t see how any Israeli can right now believe that this is possible.

About the Author
Born in the Netherlands, graduated from the Universite de Geneve and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, also in Geneva. Fluent in Dutch, French, English and Spanish, with some knowledge of German, as well as a bit of Ivrit. Spent my working career working in finance in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Geneva, Panama, Mexico and Miami. I am now semi-retired.
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