A few days ago I discovered that I had been unfriended by a Facebook friend, who is also a journalist living in the US (of course I won’t mention names).
In the first week of the war, this person, who lives on the West Coast, posted a few articles that were slanted against Israel. I was surprised as I knew her from the days she lived here and she always struck me as a balanced person. The first article that made me pause was the article placing some of the blame for the killing of lone soldier Max Steinberg in the fighting in Gaza on the Birthright program. I was shocked by this awful bit of low blow journalism, but I didn’t comment.
When she posted an article that blasted Israel solely for the suffering of Gazans, and took not one line of space in her preamble to point to any wrongdoing on the part of Hamas, I decided to comment. I would cut and paste my comment but for reasons mentioned above, I no longer have to access to it, so I’ll just have to reconstruct as best I can. What I wrote, and not in a rant (but you’ll have to take my word for that), was that the parents of children in Israel who are running to the shelters with their kids every day, several times a day, are entitled to be defended, and that it’s easy when you’re in the safety and security of the West Coast of the USA to criticize Israel’s attempts to protect its innocent citizens.
A couple of weeks later, I remembered my comment and was surprised that there’d been no further comments popping up on my page in response. When I checked, I saw why – I was no longer her “friend”. The loss of this particular Facebook friend gave me no cause for a pity party. But what got my Middle Eastern goat was the fact that this person, who is an esteemed member of the press, and I would like to think supports the notion that different people have different opinions based on their particular life experience, found my personal point of view about innocent Israelis’ suffering so offensive that she couldn’t bear having me as a Facebook friend.
It’s one thing to read articles written by journalists I don’t know who are too blind, to biased or too scared to try to show both sides of the situation. But when I know the person, and know that they know what it’s like living in Israel, it turns my stomach to think that they worship at the altar of Jodi Rudoren and her ilk, hiding behind an outmoded concept of journalistic “objectivity” so they can conform to a new PC approach to Israel that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with reality.
Was she too chicken to challenge me on my opinion? Maybe it didn’t suit her to stoop down to the level of an average Israeli Joe and debate the issue with a pleb like me. Maybe she didn’t want to engage with a person who in fact supports a two-state solution and isn’t a right-winger she can so easily dismiss to herself.
Whatever the reason, this trivial action took my already shaky opinion of journalists in general (and I used to be one at one point, and I know some brilliant journalists who I will always respect) and tarnished it even further. Give me a blogger any day, who doesn’t cower behind a large organization and offers opinions that you can take or leave, but that you know are their own.
This journalist taught me one thing: Just because you’re a journalist doesn’t mean that you are incapable of putting on blinkers and being as closed minded as the next guy. The media ivory tower is clearly a lot closer to the ground than we thought, and maybe that’s just where it should be so that people know that their news often comes from fallible people.
With Facebook friends like this….