Or at least that’s the official story in a string of conspiratorial articles that blame Sheldon Adelson for the unpopularity and financial meltdown of everything from Haaretz to Channel 10.
First up, Haaretz (imagine if the New York Times was run by the staff of The Nation) skipped a print edition because its staff was on strike over layoffs. This is several kinds of ironic considering that Israel’s old left is even more tethered to unions than their American counterparts. But Haaretz is trying to stay alive and that requires doing mean stuff like firing workers.
Somehow this is being blamed on Sheldon Adelson, who is not firing Haaretz workers or preventing Haaretz workers from printing copies of the leftist rag and who did not make Haaretz unpopular or economically unsustainable. What Adelson did do is fund a more popular free newspaper. Horrors! Competition!
Somehow the New York Post, the New York Times and the Daily News compete with free papers like AM and Metro. But their Israeli counterparts, for some reason, have no hope of surviving against Israel Hayom.
Publishers say that competition with the Internet, as in the rest of the world, is one reason for their decline. But they say a far bigger influence has been the cost of competing with Israel Hayom, a free-distribution newspaper that American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson founded five years ago.
This is the problem with the Israeli left-wing press. Its members don’t just lie, they lie ridiculously.
Now the New York Times would have said that the internet is a factor and that Israel Hayom is a factor. It would never have made the insane and ridiculous claim that Israel Hayom is more of a factor on the fortunes and incomes of the press… than the internet.
That’s just a stupid lie and it’s why the Israeli left wing press is so unpopular.
“Are Israelis aware that they are reading a paper that is practically in Netanyahu’s pocket? Sure they are,” said Didi Remez, a left-wing Israeli political activist. “But I’m not sure they care when they make the decision to pick up the free paper.”
This is really hilarious because
1. All of Israel’s major papers are in the pockets of tycoons linked to politicians. They’re all mouthpieces.
2. All Israelis already know this. They also know that Israel Hayom supports Netanyahu. Just as they know that Haaretz supports nuking Israel as reparations for Deir Yassin. Maybe that’s why they’re picking up Israel Hayom.
3. A sizable percentage of Israeli “journalists” work for political candidates during elections.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 10 news, one of the country’s most popular television-news stations, also has announced that it might close because of a lack of funding.
Channel 10 traces its problems to an exposé it broadcast last year over luxurious trips taken by Netanyahu and paid for by wealthy donors. Netanyahu, who filed a million-dollar libel suit against Channel 10, added to its problems after a parliamentary committee controlled by the leader’s Likud Party voted not to postpone the station’s debt for a year.
Clearly it’s a conspiracy by Netanyahu. Except for the part where every single paper and TV station in Israel is constantly making up and reporting on scandals involving Netanyahu, his wife, his children, his pet armadillo and people who once met him on the street twenty years ago.
The real issue here is that Channel 10 is completely unable to control its budget and deep in debt. It has no real hope of getting out of debt.
But Sheldon Adelson and Netanyahu are killing a vibrant free press by competing with it and not giving it money. That’s the official story from the non-vibrant un-free press.