Column One: From Latma to ‘Yisrael Hayom’

By CAROLINE B. GLICK, JPOST

The Supreme Court isn’t in the business of protecting rights. It is in the business of protecting the Left.

Man reading newspaper

Newspaper [Illustrative] Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Diego Grez

Last Sunday, the government passed what was billed as a major reform in Israeli broadcasting.

The cabinet voted 18-2 to eliminate the fee the public is forced to pay to finance public broadcasting, shut down the public broadcasting authority and open a new public broadcasting authority that will be unfettered by the wreckage of the old one.

The problem with the bill that was approved by the government for submission to the Knesset is that the larger problem with public broadcasting remained unaddressed. The main reason that members of the public railed against the fee is that they don’t like what they are paying for. By and large, with a few notable exceptions, public broadcasting’s offerings are unoriginal, uninteresting and poorly done.

Moreover, they either reflect the worldview of the narrow post-Zionist sliver of the population or signify nothing at all.

The decision to close the broadcast authority and reopen it under another name while canceling the fee is a net positive achievement. But it was also a missed opportunity.

At the last moment, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni inserted radical amendments in the bill to ensure that the price of reform will be maintaining public broadcasting as a subsidized platform for the radical Left.

The original bill, written by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and co-sponsored by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, gave authority to a committee to nominate an unlimited number of candidates to serve on the new broadcast authority’s nine-member board of directors. The committee was to be chaired by an unelected, retired Supreme Court justice or district court judge, and manned by two other members appointed by the judge.

In the original draft, the judge was supposed to give the list to the minister of communications, who would be empowered to accept or veto the individual names on the list. While this system would give the retired judges enormous power to impose their political ideology on the public broadcasting system, the minister would retain some limited power to block this corruption of broadcasting independence. As new ministers are appointed every few years from different political parties, in all likelihood the minister’s power would ensure some degree of political diversity among committee members.

Livni’s amendment took the minister’s power away. Her version – which Erdan accepted and the government approved – gives the judge the power to present a closed nine-person list to the minister and the minister can either approve or reject the entire list.

So, too, the original bill gave the minister and the government ultimate power to fire the general director of the new authority. Under Livni’s amended version, only the judge has that power.

So who is this all-powerful unelected judge? Since the overwhelming majority of Supreme Court justices are radical leftists, it is fair to assume that the judge will be a radical leftist.

There is some wiggle room to be had since retired district court judges can also run the committee and there are more non-radicals among them. But the law of averages leans heavily in favor of the radical Left.

The result is that the new bill not only ensures ideological conformity in the committee, by granting a single person essentially all the power to choose the committee, it ensures that the ideological conformity will almost certainly be leftist.

This is what the Left does. It quashes independent thought while insinuating its members in every position it can to prevent an open exchange in the marketplace of ideas.

As a consequence, Israel’s news and entertainment industries are by and large closed to Zionist voices.

Consider the saga of Latma. I founded Latma, a Hebrew-language satirical media criticism website funded by private philanthropists, in February 2009. Our flagship satirical news broadcast, The Tribal Update, premiered in May 2009.

Latma’s purpose was to entertain viewers while focusing attention on the sacred cows of the Leftist elites that control the media, the legal system and academia. Until Latma’s appearance, those elites had been immune from effective criticism.

The result was immediate and overwhelming. Three months after we launched it, The Tribal Update became the most-watched Israeli Internet broadcast. Within a year of its launch, Latma had garnered international attention and tens of millions of hits.

Many in the broadcast industry were certain that if Latma’s Tribal Update were broadcast on television, it would become the most popular satirical television show in decades. And yet, neither of the commercial television stations showed any interest.

That left state television. As the station that supposedly exists to provide a platform to underserved sectors of the public, Channel 1 seemed like a reasonable fit for our show.

And indeed, in 2010, it solicited a pilot broadcast, which it immediately accepted. The station’s leadership opened negotiations toward signing a contract to produce a season of the show. But then they disappeared, only to reappear, and then disappear, again and again.

Over the past four years, Latma passed through every committee charged with approving new broadcasts multiple times. But we never received a contract.

Last fall, the Knesset’s Education Committee intervened. MK Ayelet Shaked from Bayit Yehudi demanded that Channel 1 account for its treatment of Latma.

Committee chairman Amram Mitzna, from Livni’s far-left Hatnua party, ordered the station to immediately sign a contract with us.

Three months later, when nothing happened, another meeting was called, and despite his ideological affinity with Latma’s opponents, Mitzna again gallantly ordered Channel 1 to sign a contract with Latma.

It may still happen. Our producer recently met with the station’s executives and had a productive negotiations session.

But even if there is a happy end to the story, the saga Latma has undergone as an avowedly Zionist content producer has no precedent.

At a minimum, Livni’s intervention in the new broadcast law will ensure that if and when shows like Latma’s Tribal Update appear on public television, their appearances will be rare.

The only way to remedy the situation in the media business as a whole is to deregulate it. The only way that all voices can be heard is if there is no one regulating any voices.

But rather than strip away the power of the ideologically uniform regulators, rightist politicians give them more power. And so they collaborate with the Left to perpetuate a system that is inherently discriminatory against them, and against their ideological camps, which comprise the majority of the population.

Consider the Internet. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal ran an article describing the changes that online video content is fomenting in the advertising industry. US advertising industry leaders project that by 2018, the majority of US advertising dollars will be spent on online platforms rather than traditional television networks.

As in the US, so in Israel. Online content producers – such as Latma – are taking away an ever-expanding segment of viewership from television stations.

And this is altogether reasonable. Unrestrained by “objective” regulators, online content producers can put out anything they want. Unlike traditional broadcasters, Internet content creators stand or fall on the quality of their output rather than the strength of their political connections and the nature of their politics.

Rather than protect the only free, accessible marketplace of ideas in Israel, in February Erdan formed a new committee, composed largely of regulators. It is tasked with determining how to regulate the media market in the era of Internet in order to protect the commercial viability of the commercial broadcast stations – which are run by members of the closed club of post-Zionist broadcasters.

In other words, the new committee is to find ways to limit Internet speech in order to ensure that consumers have limited choices.

The situation in print media is similarly discouraging.

In March, lawmakers from coalition parties co-sponsored a bill whose clear purpose is to shut down the free nationwide daily Yisrael Hayom, owned by American Jewish casino magnate and conservative philanthropist Sheldon Adelson.

The bill would require all nationally circulated dailies to charge consumers a fee, thus rendering Yisrael Hayom’s business model illegal.

Until Yisrael Hayom appeared on the scene seven years ago, all mass circulation Hebrew-language daily newspapers in Israel – together with television and radio news shows – were uniformly antagonistic toward Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Yisrael Hayom is not a right-wing newspaper. According to reporters who work for Yisrael Hayom, all of its editors and reporters, aside from a few sports reporters, are leftists. And their views are reflected in the paper’s coverage of events, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree than in competing papers.

And yet, from the moment it appeared on the market, Yediot Aharonot, its main competitor, and Ma’ariv, Yediot’s chronically bankrupt clone and competitor, tried to get it outlawed. The current bill is Yediot’s friendly legislators’ sixth attempt to pass a law to close down the competition.

The most distressing thing about the current bill is that it is co-sponsored by Shaked and supported by the Habayit Hayehudi party leader, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

While it is absolutely true that Yisrael Hayom favors Netanyahu over Bennett and Shaked, it is also true that Yediot and Haaretz favor the post-Zionist Meretz party over them.

Closing Yisrael Hayom won’t ensure them fair media coverage. The only way to get fair coverage is to strip all media outlets of government protection – and of government regulation.

Yisrael Hayom published an article the other day arguing – rightly – that the Knesset bill is unconstitutional because it breaches Israel’s Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation, and infringes on freedom of expression. The subtext of the article was that if the law is passed, the paper will petition the Supreme Court.

But that would be futile. The Supreme Court isn’t in the business of protecting rights. It is in the business of protecting the Left. For its sin of supporting Netanyahu, Yisrael Hayom can expect the court to trample its rights just as it trampled Arutz 7’s rights in 2002 when it absurdly ruled that it was unconstitutional to allow Arutz 7 a broadcast license.

And so the vicious circle will continue. Leftist judges will appoint leftist regulators. The regulators will act in concert with leftist broadcasters to block Zionist voices and to destroy non-leftist competition. Shortsighted right-wing politicians will collaborate with this corruption to win tactical victories against their opponents, while accepting strategic defeat in the war of ideas.

This is our system. And until our leaders open the marketplace of ideas to competition, our system it shall remain.

Caroline B. Glick is the author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

http://carolineglick.com

May 16, 2014 | 95 Comments »

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45 Comments / 95 Comments

  1. @ honeybee:

    “…or cheap psychotherapy…”

    “look who’s talking, sweetie”

    I’M talking

    — and I know what I’m talking about.

    I’ve never said — or suggested — that I was INTO psychotherapy (cheap or otherwise), for anybody.

  2. @ honeybee:

    “You DO like unnecessary drama”

    “He’s an actor”

    Irrelevant.

    It’s a mistake to assume that an actor gravitates toward the performing arts out of an affinity for drama; that simply doesn’t follow. Truth be told, I don’t especially like (or, for that matter, dislike) even NECESSARY drama. Doesn’t enter into my inclination toward the work.

    What’s more, those performers who DO “tread the boards” for its dramatic appeal don’t tend to be all that good at it, as they are apparently using it not for art but for cheap psychotherapy.

  3. @ the phoenix:

    “Patience.”

    “You DO like unnecessary drama…. Don’t you?”

    Not at all (less so, I daresay, than PresentCompany in fact).

    “If your service was so elaborate that it would require several pages…. I can surely understand… But, Do you not see how much more complicated your answer is than it really needs to be??? We’re you to type one or two sentences (and I’ll grant you that. You ARE very good with words) I am CERTAIN that you could outsmart the spam program… Don’t you think so ?”

    Perhaps. But you’re barking up the wrong tree. My answer was, as it happens, not at all complicated and actually quite brief. However, it was part of a series of answers to a number of short comments that I incorporated into one post. Re-posting this part before I know the item is out of the system could jeopardize them as well.

    If I can get online tomorrow, and the post still hasn’t shown up, I’ll re-post it.

  4. @ dweller:

    However, until I know for sure that it’s GONE and out of the system altogether, any attempt to re-post will be rejected by the system as a double posting.

    True

    Patience.

    You DO like unnecessary drama….
    Don’t you?
    If your service was so elaborate that it would require several pages…. I can surely understand…
    But,
    Do you not see how much more complicated your answer is than it really needs to be???
    We’re you to type one or two sentences (and I’ll grant you that. You ARE very good with words) I am CERTAIN that you could outsmart the spam program…
    Don’t you think so ?

  5. @ the phoenix:

    “Answer was posted some days ago, but was spammed and hasn’t appeared yet as of this writing.”

    “Ok. So let’s assume that it will not appear.
    Would it be too much to ask to repost again?”

    No trouble at all. But I notified Ted the other day, and want to give him a chance to fix it. If he can’t, then I have the original post and will re-post it. (I usually copy a comment before hitting “post,” so I can save spammed items as an email draft.)

    However, until I know for sure that it’s GONE and out of the system altogether, any attempt to re-post will be rejected by the system as a double posting.

    Patience.

  6. @ yamit82:

    “Are you sure Reagan wasn’t an ‘old Jew’?”

    “I’m sure!! He was too stupid…”

    Best poker player of his day in the highest stakes of the era — victory in — and an end to — the Cold War. If that constitutes ‘stupid,’then
    spare me the ‘smart’ ones. . . .

    “… and a lousy actor.”

    covered this already. Previous pg, #39:

    “You obviously have either not seen many of his pictures, or not much sensibility in judging the craft. Some of his stuff is quite good, while other work of his leaves a bit to be desired. The fact is that the quality of his work (as a performer) is a mixed bag.

    That being said, it’s important to note that RR’s work was often much hampered by the studio system, which often resulted in his being both typecast and miscast. As I’ve said on a number of occasions, casting directors are notoriously unimaginative — and where the celluloid media (in particular) are concerned, that failing of casting directors can be quite noticeable.”

  7. @ dweller:

    Answer was posted some days ago, but was spammed and hasn’t appeared yet as of this writing..

    Ok. So let’s assume that it will not appear.
    Would it be too much to ask to repost again?
    It would surely take you less time to write it (reader’s digest version is fine) than to explain how the dog ate the homework…
    ?
    😉

  8. honeybee:

    “…’That’ full of myself? — how ‘full’ would that be?”

    “Oh dweller, You didn’t really hand me that line?”

    “Sure I did. Not much that you (or anybody else) can do with it, though — given what I also handed you immediately afterward: ‘If I were full of myself, I WOULD’ve enjoyed showing you to yourself. As I told you, however, it does nothing for me’…”

    “Don’t kid a kidder.Sweetie”

    I never do. In the immortal words of Sherlock Holmes, “I never jest.”

  9. @ yamit82:

    “You are not only EVIL but a FABRICATOR and a very small minded SICKO!”

    “Anybody can allege ANYTHING. Takes a little something more than that to back it up with something solid.”

    “OK-I submit into evidence hundreds if not thousands of your comments on Israpundit. Let the Folks decide for themselves”

    If there are so many pieces of ‘evidence’ available, then a blustering blatherer like yourself should have no trouble pulling up a few for all-&-sundry to DO their ‘deciding.’

    Put up or shut up, loudmouth.

  10. @ the phoenix:

    “Well, I DID try twice to get an honest answer to my question…
    Somehow… I think your comment will not go unanswered….”

    “Well, I stand corrected…”

    You should’ve trusted your original judgment. Answer was posted some days ago, but was spammed and hasn’t appeared yet as of this writing..

  11. honeybee Said:

    I am surprised Yamit82 allowed you to stand.

    dear dear dear hb…
    you DO type too fast… 😉
    this was in reference to dweller, to whom i have addressed a question twice and he did not reply …
    yamit offered an answer to my ‘query’ which i was certain would be addressed by dweller but i guess he chose not to address it (in spite of his pedantic combing the comments posted on the board with a fine tooth comb…)
    Anyways, the cedars will not plant themselves on their own… so… yawl have a great day!
    🙂

  12. @ yamit82:

    @ yamit82:
    Well, I DID try twice to get an honest answer to my question…
    Somehow… I think your comment will not go unanswered….

    Well, I stand corrected…
    🙂

  13. honeybee Said:

    Are you sure !!!!! Reagan wasn’t an “old Jew”.

    I’m sure!! He was too stupid and a lousy actor. Only in America can mediocrity rise to the top and even be revered by some. PR is a science in America. Look at the recent Presidents and those who ran against them. I wouldn’t hire any of them for any position in my businesses.

  14. @ honeybee:

    “…’That’ full of myself? — how ‘full’ would that be?

    “Oh dweller, You didn’t really hand me that line?”

    Sure I did. Not much that you (or anybody else) can do with it, though — given what I also handed you immediately afterward: “If I were full of myself, I WOULD’ve enjoyed showing you to yourself. As I told you, however, it does nothing for me…”

  15. dweller Said:

    “That” full of myself? — how ‘full’ would that be?

    Oh dweller, You didn’t really hand me that line????????????

  16. dweller Said:

    “You are not only EVIL but a FABRICATOR and a very small minded SICKO!”

    Anybody can allege ANYTHING. Takes a little something more than that to back it up with something solid.

    OK-I submit into evidence hundreds if not thousands of your comments on Israpundit.

    Let the Folks decide for themselves… Barbie!!!

  17. @ honeybee:

    “He had taken Mark Rosenblit’s take on moral equivalency which had tried (unsuccessfully) to apply it to a passage from Isaiah. Yet you made no move to call YAMIT on his implicit characterization of ME as ‘evil.’ It was only when I noted that in referencing the excerpt he was really speaking unconsciously of HIMSELF (as ‘evil’ masquerading as good) that you finally got around to protesting. . . .”

    “So bite me!”

    “Why should I do that? I show you to yourself, HB. What you do with it BEYOND that point is your affair, not mine.”

    “And don’t you enjoy doing so!”

    “Frankly, I don’t get anything out of it — positive OR negative — emotionally speaking. Except that having shown you to yourself, several times now, over similar matters, I do note that the necessary repetition CAN be a bit wearisome.”

    “You really CAN’T be that full of yourself, Sweetie!”

    “That” full of myself? — how ‘full’ would that be?

    If I were full of myself, I WOULD’ve enjoyed showing you to yourself. As I told you, however, it does nothing for me. It’s just tiresome having to keep doing it for somebody who’s determined not to see the games she plays.

  18. @ yamit82:

    “Show me the difference”

    The difference between spouting unwarranted moral equivalency and calling good “evil” and evil “good”?

    Very simple:
    The first is a specific variety of the second.

    What’s more, there are people who believe there really IS a difference between good & evil but who perversely — or otherwise compulsively — get confused over which is which. That’s appalling & pernicious, but it isn’t about ‘moral equivalency.’

    “You are not only EVIL but a FABRICATOR and a very small minded SICKO!”

    Anybody can allege ANYTHING. Takes a little something more than that to back it up with something solid.

  19. @ the phoenix:

    “What did your service consist of?”

    Eighteen months in a “controlled environment” as a guest of the USA federal govt (1969-70) for organizing to deprive it of manpower to pursue a misguided, misbegotten, viciously destructive & thoroughly unlawful war, having courteously but resolutely & impenitently declined its gracious offer of conscription in a questionable cause. (The prison system is still recovering.)

    @ yamit82:

    “He provided sexual relief for the poor deprived inmates he served with.”

    This is Yamit’s charming way of expressing his personal wishes — and, in all likelihood, his unconscious inclinations as well.

    @ the phoenix:

    “Well, I DID try twice to get an honest answer to my question…”

    I gave you an honest answer to your question twice, or attempted to do so twice.

    The first time was when you originally asked it; the answer was included in a post to someone else on a related matter, so there seemed, at the time, no need to devote a separate post to it.

    The second time was yesterday; I had written the above post [“eighteen months, etc”] in reply — but library computers are terribly slow, and between the time I hit “post” and the moment the posted comment should have appeared online, the minutes remaining on the timer expired (all of these computers are timed to the second, to prevent monopolization of any terminal)

    — so the comment was lost, and there was no further opportunity for me to try again that day.

  20. @ yamit82:
    Well, I DID try twice to get an honest answer to my question…
    Somehow… I think your comment will not go unanswered…. 😉

  21. @ dweller:

    He had taken Mark Rosenblit’s take on moral equivalency which had tried (unsuccessfully) to apply it to a passage from Isaiah. Yet you made no move to call YAMIT on his implicit characterization of ME as ‘evil.’

    there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deed of the wicked, and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the deed of the righteous;

    “there are righteous ones who are treated as [if they had performed] the actions of the evil ones; and there are evil ones who are treated as [if they had performed] the actions of the righteous ones — …”

    <a

    Show me the difference AH!!!

    You are not only EVIL but a FABRICATOR and a very small minded SICKO!!! Get help…You have totally lost it.

    Woe to those who say of the evil that it is good and of the good that it is evil; who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter.

  22. @ dweller:

    “I daresay HE owes ME way more of an apology for denigrating — for
    years — my OWN service (yes, that is precisely what it consisted of) ;

    Hi dweller,

    When you posted the above quote, it sure piqued my curiosity and I asked you on that thread what was it, what did your service consist of.
    You may have answered and I missed it (and by now, god knows which thread that might be…) but I saw you reposted it here, so here we go again…
    So dweller,
    What did your service consist of?

  23. @ honeybee:

    “there are righteous ones who are treated as [if they had performed] the actions of the evil ones; and there are evil ones who are treated as [if they had performed] the actions of the righteous ones — …”

    “…who speak of Evil as [if it were] Good, and of Good as [if it were] Evil; who make Darkness into [the semblance of] Light, and Light into [the semblance of] Darkness; who make Bitter into [the perception of] Sweet, and Sweet into [the perception of] Bitter.”

    “Quite so. But the person it APPLIES to — is YOU.”

    “Yamit82 may be a bit of a rascal with Ladies, but evil, hardly.”

    Nobody is. However, his unreconstructed egocentricity allows evil a foothold to make inroads. But what I find more interesting is the fact that his original comment was directed at ME. He had taken Mark Rosenblit’s take on moral equivalency which had tried (unsuccessfully) to apply it to a passage from Isaiah. Yet you made no move to call YAMIT on his implicit characterization of ME as ‘evil.’

    It was only when I noted that in referencing the excerpt he was really speaking unconsciously of HIMSELF (as ‘evil’ masquerading as good) that you finally got around to protesting. . . .”

    “So bite me!”

    “Why should I do that? I show you to yourself, HB. What you do with it BEYOND that point is your affair, not mine.”

    “And don’t you enjoy doing so!”

    Frankly, I don’t get anything out of it — positive OR negative — emotionally speaking. Except that having shown you to yourself, several times now, over similar matters, I do note that the necessary repetition CAN be a bit wearisome.