Home Daily Brief The Price Of A Free Press

The Price Of A Free Press

by Mike Fegelman

Dishonestrepagainisrael230_1 The Jerusalem Post’s Anshel Pfeffer takes a look at an important study which analyzed the media’s overall coverage of last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The study was written by veteran reporter, author and broadcaster Marvin Kalb, a Senior Fellow and Faculty Chair at Harvard University.  According to Pfeffer, Kalb’s study "makes real sense of what we (journalists) were doing during those fateful 34 days."

According to Pfeffer, the report

"is the first to give a comprehensive explanation of how, in an asymmetrical war ‘between a state [Israel] and a militant, secretive, religiously fundamentalist sect or faction [Hizbullah],’ the fight is just as much about information and image as it is about military gains.?

In contrast to Israel’s vibrant free press, Pfeffer writes that

"Hizbullah controlled the journalists covering the situation in Lebanon with an iron fist. Media tours of Hizbullah-controlled areas, where the IDF’s bombing was mainly concentrated, were tightly managed, with foreign reporters being sternly warned against wandering off and talking to local residents unsupervised. Infringement of these rules would be punished by the confiscation of cameras and disbarment from any further visits or access to Hizbullah members. According to Kalb, only CNN’s Anderson Cooper openly admitted to having operated under these rules. " (Watch Cooper’s report here.)

Interesting thoughts worth pondering: "In a confrontation in which information is a weapon, should a democracy curb freedom of the press when its adversary is craftily manipulating the media and utilizing every report in the free press as military intelligence? (Hizbullah had a special section that monitored every detail in the Israeli and international press, and passed on up-to-date information to its forces in the field.)"

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