Most of us aren't, of course, privy to what really goes on at a Fairfax or a News Limited or an ABC or an SBS when it comes to reporting on Palestine/Israel. We can only draw inferences from what we read and hear regarding the extent of censorship, self-censorship, intimidation, pressure, prejudice, red lines, guidelines and sheer abysmal ignorance that we know shapes what we read about the issue. Any insight into the mindset and behaviour of opinion shapers at these news dispensers is, therefore, welcome.
Michael Visontay, currently teaching a course on Sport & the Media at the University of NSW, and a columnist (Beyond Chutzpah) for The Australian Jewish News, was a former Senior Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Among 10 "Jewish and non-Jewish resolutions for the year ahead," set out in his Beyond Chutzpah column of 8 January, Visontay resolves, at number 7, as follows: "Feel more sympathy for Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. It's been too easy to avoid thinking about how hard their lives are while grappling with the political agendas of people criticising Israeli government and military policy." (2010: a top ten to-do list)
Does this extraordinary statement by a former SMH editor of Zionist persuasion, mean that, to the extent that he was involved in the selection and framing of news and opinion pieces on the issue concerned, his number one priority was always to fend off criticism of Israel?