Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mediocre Media 4

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Welcome to the fourth edition of Mediocre Media, the internet's roundup of media criticism. If you find this interesting and want to participate in Mediocre Media, just read this post on the carnivals we host and how to participate in them.
Of note this carnival is an interview we have with career media critic Yisrael Medad of the Begin Center in Israel. A former writer for the Jerusalem Post, Yisrael has fascinating things to tell us, if in few words.

That said, this edition has plenty of really top quality criticisms and demonstrations of where the media (usually the mainstream media) has gone wrong.

I'm going to begin by highlighting something a little off the usual beaten track: Tam at Tam's Palm (as in the Palm Pilot) has criticism of the tech media for us! He criticizes Blizzard and its bad customer relations.

Beyond that, we again have submissions from our loyal friends on the Israel beat, Soccerdad and Shiloh Muse.
The good ol' soccer coach presents media spinning of Hamas' Qassam attacks on Israelis and a surprisingly (for this carnival) positive bit of Honest Reporting, by the Sunday Times magazine.
Shiloh's favourite regales us with criticisms of the New York Times. The NYT has an agenda, we learn, and that agenda is to rewrite the history of terrorists' attacks on Israelis with civilians. This is going to be one of the media's biggest scandals since the Mohammed al-Dura story in 2001, whom you'll remember as the boy that was shot by Arab terrorists who somehow managed to make world media believe that Mohammed was a victim of "Israeli aggression".

Leaving the political front for a moment, we have new participant Ashok of Writing Up discussing the state of media today along with some historical context. Nice bit of original writing there, Ashok.

Moving back to Politics, returning (after a short break) submitter Jorg of the Atlantic Review lets us know that the oh-so-open-minded German media have blamed the Haditha killings on American rednecks. Ah yes, nothing like some good old fashioned stereotyping/generalizing by the mainstream media. In Germany. Hey, at least it's a German denouncing it!

To be fair, Jorg and his Atlantic Review are a brilliant watchdog group, and whenever I read their pieces, I'm impressed by the quality of the writing (many first-language English speakers I know could learn a thing or two) and the intelligence of the criticisms. Incidentally, Jorg hosts the carnival of German-American relations, so if you have anything on that, go submit your post. The next edition is July 2nd.

Loyal submitter Josh Cohen of Multiple Mentality points out a story about an American Congresswoman breaking the law, and how the media has forgotten it and helped us forget it all to easily. How does he find these stories?? Way to go Josh! I also like this quotation on his blog: "A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular." - Adlai Stevenson. Uhh, like Iran?

To conclude the blog submissions part of the carnival, we have more people pointing out just how much the New York Times messes up! Don Surber at Don Surber presents Is it Kos or the New York Times? Don's main problem with the New York's Mediocre Media outlet is that they argue for the US military to be more humane, yet have a problem with the same military force-feeding inmates to keep them alive during hunger strikes. Ah yes, saving a life, how cruel and unusual.

Luckily for us, Don isn't done pointing out the mediocrity of the Times on this one. Oh no! Don "Proud Member of the Mainstream Media" Surber (shocking, I know) also presents NYT's hypocrisy on Gitmo's 'death with dignity'. Top stuff Don!

That having all been presented here is our interview with Yisrael Medad:

1) How did start your career in the realm of media?

In 1964, Betar NY demonstrated against delivering Hawk missiles to Saudi
Arabia and I was the press spokesman.
In 1995, after many media contacts and adventures, I was appointed
director of Israel's Media Watch and got paid to do what I had been
doing in the realm of critiquing the media.

2) What have been your favourite experiences in that realm so far?

Getting the media to admit they're wrong and even correct themselves.

3) What about your least enjoyable experiences?

Watching & hearing media people get all self-righteous about themselves
when they know they're wrong.

4) What are the major forces in media today? That is, who are the
agenda-setters, the power-players, the big "machers" as we say in

What media? Here or the world?

5) What is the influence of media in politics? How does that influence

They can cut off your flow of reliable information.

6) What are the mainstream media's greatest contributions to society

Allowing a form of public debate platform.

7) What do you see as their most important shortcomings?

Most media people are not knowledgeable and the rest are biased.

8) Comedian Stephen Colbert, in a recent address to President Bush at an

important gala for the press, joked that "reality has a well-known
bias" [paraphrase]. Do you believe the media has a left-leaning slant?

I know it.

9) What are the 5 most serious recurring problems in the media's
coverage of
the Israeli-Arab conflict?

a. they really don't believe Israel has a "right" to be here anywhere.
b. Arabs are victims and victims are underdogs and underdogs are right
and need to be helped.
c. Zionism is colonialism.
d. Arabs can violate agreements with impunity.
e. Jews can be killed.

10) What is your opinion on the development of alternative media (niche
magazines, blogs, satellite radio, web forums)?


11) Do you see alternative media as gaining the type of influence the
mainstream media currently enjoys within say, 10-15 years? Why/not?

Sure. It's halfway there already.

12) What are alternative media's greatest contribution to our public

Doing what the mainstream media doesn't = check facts.

13) What are the greatest shortcomings of alternative media?

Too many.

14) How can the mainstream media improve? How about alternative media?

See above.

15) Can you propose some things government might do if media doesn't
steps to improve itself?

Allow smaller media firms to get a start.

16) All that having been said, could you summarize for us your view on
current state of the media (both mainstream and alternative)


17) If you could write for any newspaper/magazine, on any topic, what
it be? Why?

An op-ed in NYT on the Jewish communities in yesha in my language terms.

18) Any advice for newcomers to the world of media?

Take a deep breath.

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At 3:54 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger YMedad said:

Anyone who wants help in the area of media watchdoging, etc., feel free to contact me at My replies may be pithy and short but they'll be helpful. ;>)


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