Why is the media so obsessed by one former Israeli soldier's Facebook post at the expense of major Mideast news stories?
18 August '10
Israel is all too often held to different standards of behavior expected of other nation states, particularly western liberal democracies. Israel is, of course, far from perfect, yet individual blemishes are magnified under the intense glare of international media coverage to create a disproportionately negative image of the country as a whole.
We do not intend to get into an extended debate on the many issues surrounding the very public exposure of former Israeli soldier Eden Abergil's Facebook photos of her posing with blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian prisoners.
Abergil's Facebook photos are a legitimate story, but we have to question whether the stupidity and naivety of an individual IDF soldier warrants such intense international coverage. Even serious media outlets such as the Financial Times, which would usually avoid sensationalist material, have seen fit to publish the story.
The quiet summer months are often referred to in media circles as the "silly season" where stories that would not normally warrant much attention become news in the absence of really solid material. The Mideast, however, is rarely void of interesting and relevant stories of importance to the region and the wider world.
For example, at the same time as the Facebook story was breaking, the Lebanese parliament voted to grant the country's 400,000 Palestinian refugees the right to work in the same professions as other foreigners, lifting a decades-old ban that had relegated the refugees to the most menial jobs.
Or perhaps the announcement that Iran will begin building a third facility for enriching uranium in 2011?
Not to mention a horrific suicide bombing in at an Iraqi Army recruitment office in Baghdad or Israeli PM Netanyahu's visit to Greece and the subsequent upgrading of military relations between the two countries.
One can speculate that much of the media's coverage of Abergil's Facebook photos may be motivated by an agenda that promotes stories that fit the framework of Israel as, at best, a flawed society, and, at worst, a gross abuser of human rights.
(Read full critique)
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