Media Matters, the ostensible media watchdog, has come out four-square in favor of going to war with Fox News. It henceforth will concentrate on “guerrilla warfare and sabotage,” according to its principal, David Brock.
What matters here is not specifically that Media Matters is openly at war against Fox News, which by itself is a topic somewhat outside the scope of a pro-Israel blog, but this article is relevant to us because it presents evidence as to what Israel and pro-Israel activists are up against.
1. The media war between Israel’s supporters and detractors is a strongly determining factor in the sustenance to and maintenance of Israel’s existence; this is a point I think upon which, whether ideologically left or right, we could agree.
2. The larger media war, not specifically regarding Israel, but that war between left-wing and right-wing ideologies, is a strong factor in the smaller media war over Israel; in other words, what happens in the larger media war affects Israeli PR.
3. Despite protestations to the contrary from the left, Fox News is indeed much more balanced in its presentation of news and information between left and right. Although I would not call Fox News pro-Israel, I would characterize it as a news medium much more willing and open-minded to a right wing and Israeli point of view on the subject. Regardless of whether one allows for this same characterization to apply to other mainstream news sources or not, the point is that Fox News is a major bulwark against a vast sea of anti-Israel propaganda perpetrated by most other media around the world. In other words you can find Israel’s point of view represented on that channel as you can on other news sources, but, one would also find a more nuanced critique of the Left and liberalism in general on the questions regarding Israeli policy.
4. Media Matters, specifically, and other such left-wing groups more generally, are much less inclined to be willing and open-minded to a right wing and Israeli point of view on media content. Thus, when a group such as Media Matters has as its openly stated intent, the shuttering of Fox News, then it becomes a matter relevant to the pro-Israel community.
5. As Media Matters and other such left-wing groups grow and hone their craft they will therefore become ever more dangerous to open debate on Israel. Why? They wish to shutter Fox News. Although, in the interest of open debate, we would not call for the shuttering of Media Matters, we should expose their attempts to shutter right wing media and not just to criticize it. Criticism of Israel, or just questioning its policies, is legitimate. Being a jackanapes is also legitimate, though ill-advised. Being closed-minded is also ill advised. Working to shutter criticism by argument is legitimate as well, but one opens themselves to being exposed as a hypocrite or a scoundrel. Guile is legitimate too. What is not legitimate is trying to undermine the First Amendment by using government as a lever to shut down your opponents. This is what I think Media Matters is trying to do.
6. Lastly, as a more general point, when Media Matters bills itself as a media watchdog, but then turns from that to “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox News, we have an object lesson regarding the nature of left versus right. That nature is that many ideologies, movements, institutions and organizations that bill themselves as democratic are actually more inclined to authoritarianism.
The bottom line: Remember the Latin phrase Caveat Emptor? Buyer Beware.
By: Ben Smith
March 26, 2011 07:23 AM EDT
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as a political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
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