Thursday, June 26, 2014

Too Much or Not Enough? : Why the Coverage of Israel has become effectively innefective

“Is the reason why people have such skewed perceptions of Israel because the media covers too much of the situation?” asked Yigal Palmor, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Or is it because the media doesn’t cover enough of the situation?”

Palmor posed an intriguing argument at a panel session at the first Jewish Media Summit convention held in Jerusalem, Israel, on Israel’s Image Problem.

As the session went on, I realized that the cause of Israel’s image problem is not that we talk about it too much nor is it that we don’t talk about it enough. It is the fact that the media does not cover the proper issues in Israel and they don’t cover those issues in correct ways.

This idea can be broken down into two subtopics: the way in which the information is acquired, and how that information is presented.

Sue Fishkoff, the editor of JWeekly, the weekly Jewish newspaper of Northern California, brought up the statistic that a majority of the individuals, who publish articles expressing different views of issues in Israel, have never actually been to Israel.

How can the sources that we have come to trust effectively cover a situation in a credible way if the only way they acquire information is from second hand sources? They can’t. “ISRAELI SOLDIERS BOMB PALESTINIANS AGAIN.” These are the kind of superficial headlines that have plagued the worldwide media.

I have yet to see a headline expressing why these attacks actually happen. At this point, I do not expect such a headline from individuals who are aware of the need for Israelis to defend their land or understand it.

        One can only obtain such a view from visiting the country and experiencing the true importance of Israel. Until this happens, superficial claims will continue to overtake the media stream.

Along with the lack of knowledge regarding the situations, the media has not been taking advantage of the true advances in technology and social media.

News has changed from print media to online headlines that can be sifted through. Palmor stated, “People get their news from news-feeds, not newspapers.”

As someone who is surrounded by social media on a daily basis, I am able to see what is constantly being clicked on. I believe that as a society we are neglecting the situation in Israel. By only reading what we want to read and filtering out what we don’t want to read, we aren’t ever getting the full story.

While I may not be able to present a specific solution for this issue, I think that it is important to understand the true limitations that the media presents and what we as a society should be aware of when trying to show the world Israel in it’s proper light.

Written By: Sydney Sussman

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