Should we still trust the media? Ask Israel and Azerbaijan | Newtimes.az – Информационно-аналитический портал

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Should we still trust the media? Ask Israel and Azerbaijan

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Баку, 25 октября 2015 – Newtimes.az

By Jason Katz

We regularly lament the "impending demise'' of the great American newspaper. Newspapers and the media being the guarantors of democracy by keeping our elected officials and government honest and our populace educated. It is one of the pillars of American political order and codified in the Constitution.

What if the disappearance and downsizing of venerable American newspapers is not just about new technology and new media? What if this decline is also about something the media itself is not talking about…a steep decline in trust among average Americans?

With the explosion of on online media organizations, I caution friends and colleagues to consider the source of the articles they peruse. There are conspiracy theorists disguised as bloggers and bloggers disguised as reporters of hard news, but, thankfully, many in the media, including The Hill, have brought to bear new media to open an entire new world of information and, like The Hill, credible and authentic information, both news and opinion.

However, journalism seems to be played a little fast and loose of late. One need only look at the two major cable news outlets: Fox News clearing liking Republican presidential candidates, save Donald Trump, and CNN, clearly in the Hillary Clinton corner. Isn’t news supposed to be impartial reporting? Since when is it acceptable for the media, aside from an editorial page, to back a candidate in a race for any office?

Other formerly esteemed media seem to have also gone off the rails. The Washington Post’s "reporting'' of Azerbaijan and The New York Times "reporting'' of Israel are cases in point.

It is clear by anyone’s standards, based on the negativity, nastiness and ubiquity of The Washington Post’s reporting on Azerbaijan that they have it in for that nation. Azerbaijan is a stable and reliable ally, a former Soviet Republic on the Caspian Sea that, since its independence, has politically and diplomatically tacked consistently toward the West. Azerbaijan is the lynch pin to energy diversity and security for Europe bringing Azerbaijan’s vast natural gas reserves directly to Europe, while bypassing Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan also happens to be a nation that is tolerant (predominantly Shi’a, Sunnis, Jews and Christians live with little, if any, strife) open and progressive, a close ally of Israel, the U.S. and Europe, but you didn’t read that in The Washington Post.

In like terms, The New York Times use of misleading headlines and content, geared to position Palestinian terrorism in a positive light and Israel’s response to that terrorism in the light of a heavy handed and violent oppressor. Repeatedly, words are twisted in news articles and headlines that would have an uninformed reader believe that Israel was on a tear killing innocent Palestinians. Of course, it is not that simple and one-sided as some media would want us to believe. The Palestinian leadership, these past weeks, have repeatedly told their people to go out and "stab and kill Jews.'' So, many in this largely uneducated and hate-indoctrinated populace did just that. The Israelis, even if heavy-handedly at times, are simply protecting civilian life, just as any nation would.

Back to The Washington Post, the undisputed champion of one Khadija Ismayilova. The paper writes about her often, alternately as a human rights activist and as a journalist and seems to treat her as their cause celeb, positing that she is being tried and convicted for her reporting and/or human rights activities.

While I cannot vouch for objectivity of Azerbaijani courts, I seem to remember learning in school that journalists report the news and human rights activists, well, advocate on human rights issues. It is interesting to note that Ismayilova was trained and employed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an organization established as a propaganda machine to promote the U.S. and its policies to the Soviet Bloc, now to Russia, Eurasia, etc. Contemporarily, RFERL is repeatedly described in the media as a waste of millions in taxpayer funds, not the least of which because the organization seems to think its mission is to attack allies of the U.S. Apparently, now Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is turning into taxpayer-funded domestic PR and lobbying group, which promotes its own agenda to protect its continuous funding.

The real issue: Is the American media dependable, reliable and accurate? Are they impartial? Does the American media take up the standard of their flavor of the day or are they reporting the news? For the sake of the American democracy, the media should be asking these questions.

Katz is the principal of TSG, LLC, a consultancy that advises foreign governments (including the government of Azerbaijan), NGOs and corporations in the realms of strategic communications, politics and policy. He is also the former head of Public Affairs and Public Relations for the American Jewish Committee, based in Los Angeles.

Источник: The Hill

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