Yesterday I started facilitating a 6-session course on Hasbara and Israel Advocacy with 30 students in the Machon (of the Jewish Agency) on their year off in Israel. Having shown them a surprisingly open-minded CNN clip that displayed Gaza settlers as human beings with emotions and feelings, some in the class expressed deep concern that we (as Israel supporters) would favor such a one-sided clip.
That is, surely if we are trying to encourage fairer media coverage, we must demand that the networks put the "Palestinian viewpoint" in such an article too.
All this raised a question that had not quite struck me in this way previously. Is it acceptable for pro-Israel advocates to accept one-sided seemingly pro-Israel news reports?
Unsure myself, I raised the quite legitimate argument that we must look at 'news reporting' in the wider context. That is, that the world media in general is somewhat swayed towards excessive criticism of Israel and it is therefore not such a terrible thing that there is the odd article that presents an (not 'the') Israel view only.
This argument was not accepted by all in the class and that's OK.
BBC recently tried to show 'all sides' after the recent Stage (Tel Aviv) nightclub terror attack. BBC (both in print and in TV coverage) spent 1/2 the report showing the mourning of the bomber's parents and had them crying over photos of him etc. BBC came under extreme criticism over this approach and cut the report from their website.
My concern is that with most TV news clips being about 3 minutes long, we might be encouraging even worse reporting by demanding that they cover every opinion and view in each clip.
It's always refreshing to have such issues proposed by students. That's what my KIC business is all about - making people think, not telling them what to think.
Let me know your thoughts.