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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top 10 reasons why the media is biased against Israel

Ronn Torossian, who owns a large public relations firm, writes a fascinating post about the top 10 reasons why the mainstream media is biased against Israel. Here are a couple of the more interesting ones (whether because I didn't know them or because they verify what I thought all along).
  • Worldwide mainstream media shows a liberal bias – and liberals are opposed to Israel, which they view as the power in the region. In a 2001 Kaiser Family Foundation study of media professionals, the ratio of self-identified liberals to conservatives was 4.2 to 1. A 2004 Pew Research Center study of journalists and media executives, found that the ratio of self-identified liberals to conservatives was 4.9 to 1. In a 2005 University of Connecticut study of 300 journalists, the liberal-to-conservative ratio was 2.8 to 1. In a 2005 Annenberg Public Policy Center poll of nearly 700 journalists, the liberal-to-conservative ratio was 3.4 to 1. And in a 2007 Pew Research Center study of journalists and news executives, the ratio was four liberals for each conservative.
  • Israel’s political system is not conducive to good public relations. There are a slew of agencies within the government supposedly dealing with PR, yet none of them are even remotely effective. To name a few, there is a directorate for PR in the National Security Council, and PR divisions in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces. Few coordinate with one another, and all have very limited foreign contacts. Yet, when the world’s media representatives come calling they comment quickly, in less than perfect English and with little non-insider context, local expertise, or media relationships. Ambassadors have gone to countries where they don’t speak the host nation’s language, and there is little coordination in key countries amongst government entities. It’s a shame and hurts Israel worldwide.
  • Culturally, Israelis don’t look at marketing & public relations as necessities. Take Israeli technology companies – Israelis have great products, but poor marketing. Israelis are tough, and believe since their cause is just and they can defeat the enemy they don’t need to spend time convincing the public. Working with oligarchs and business leaders of the former Soviet Union countries, I witness much the same behavior. As Israel has had to fight since day one of her existence, and continues to rely upon the military, they often do not see the need to focus on something as abstract as media.
  • Israelis are not flexible with the “business of PR”. Few spend time and money entertaining reporters. Unlike Arab PR representatives who spend nights at the American Colony Hotel, and aren’t burdened with expense reports, Israeli government officials aren’t permitted to turn in regular expenses for meals or entertaining reporters, and in nearly all instances pay their own cellular phone bills for calls to and from reporters. Another government of another embattled area (outside of the Mid-East) is a client. The main spokesperson met a friendly reporter from one of the largest weekly news-magazines; after a 45 minute interview, he ended up having a real heart to heart with the official. The journalist said: “You always come to our office even when there’s nothing going on, you speak the same language, our kids go to school together, and you guys invite us for parties and fun events. It’s harder to write negative about my friends,” he laughed, “irrespective of the issues.”
  • Israel doesn’t employ professionals. A nation which (rightly) employs Stanley Fischer to manage the economy should hire Public Relations professionals to assist with their many challenges – as the Arab Nations all retain high-powered public relations firms.
Read it all

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