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Eitan Haber
Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
Katsav and media’s sins
Op-ed: Eitan Haber unimpressed with Israeli media’s conduct during Moshe Katsav’s trial
After 63 years as an independent and prospering state, and after engaging in a globally unprecedented effort to bring together numerous ethnicities in one country, the time has come for journalists in the State of Israel to completely refrain from mentioning a person’s descent after he is elected or appointed to any post. Enough!

 

After 63 years and more than two generations, there is no room or reason to note with enthusiasm that Moshe Katsav was our first Mizrahi president or our first Mizrahi mayor and implicitly emphasize: Look how far he made it.

 

In a state that has already appointed Mizrahi army chiefs, generals, judges, mayors and a president, this is a natural process that does not deserve any media gratitude, appreciation, or mention. Enough!

 

Moreover, despite the overwhelming conviction and the media’s ability to justify in retrospect any statement it made previously, it would be wrong to move on to the next affair without some self-examination and the drawing of some lessons.

 

No red lines

In my view, during the Katsav affair, as grave as it may have been, the media crossed every red line. In fact, the media adhered to no red lines. Journalists had been utilized by the Katsav family and its associates, the former president’s lawyers, the police, and the state’s prosecutor, as if the media stage is the court.

 

Journalists crossed the lines and clearly took sides, while not leaving any doubts among their readers and listeners.

 

Naturally, the “street” almost always tends to adopt positions against government officials. The fact is that a poll commissioned before the verdict was handed out by the court showed that Israel’s public opinion believes that Moshe Katsav is guilty, even if the court decides otherwise.

 

The fact that the court indeed found Katsav guilty does not mitigate the media’s sins. The opposite may be true.

 

 

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