Friday December 19, 2014
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19.12.2014
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Dror Eydar

Noni Mozes' dirty war

I've watched the campaign videos for the Eretz Hadasha (New Country) party. On Tuesday, the party's videographers stood in front of the home of Arnon (Noni) Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, with cameras. They wanted to ask him some questions (about why his Ynet site was not giving their party coverage). He fled from the scene, but not before convening his admirers and his advisers to devise a plan on how to evade this problem he is facing.

Up until not too long ago, the thought of going up against Noni Mozes or against Yedioth Ahronoth was in the realm of science fiction. I have written in the past that Israel's best guarded secret is not our nuclear reactor, but rather it is Noni Mozes. The man who pulls the strings that manipulate all of us — influencing politics, culture, the economy and Israeli media — is a mystery. We don't know what his opinions are on many issues, what he is interested in, what his world view is, or even how he talks, how eloquent he is, nothing!

About six months ago, a very senior figure in one of the news outfits approached me. This was a veteran professional who knows Yedioth very well. He said that Mozes is the media man that people fear most, both within the media field and in general. No one dares mess with him, or his newspaper. He asked me why no one has put a camera to Mozes' face yet and exposed him to the public. "Even if Mozes chooses to run from the camera," he said to me, "it would be saying something. It would provide instant gratification to the viewers."

Notice how Mozes also controls certain elements within Channel 2 and Channel 10 news. Channel 2's senior analyst, Amnon Abramovich, writes a column for him on a permanent basis; senior Channel 10 commentator Emmanuel Rosen does the same. It's reasonable to assume that Noni pays them for their columns. You'll never hear Abromovich or Rosen criticize Yedioth or come out against issues that the paper holds dear.

Yedioth's slogan is "The country's newspaper," but we all know that Israel is actually the paper's country. The police also know this. So do the rest of the brave media pundits who never shy away from even the slightest opportunity to attack Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but never dare make a peep against Noni Mozes or his media conglomerate.

Under the auspices of Yedioth's umbrella of belligerence, Israeli citizens have been led astray, down paths that were divergent from the opinion of the majority.

Thus, the "bad guys" were marked — the settlers, the religious, Likud, the Right, and of course Netanyahu. This demonization influenced the public to accept despicable acts perpetrated against it. Moreover, any constructive criticism was silenced, even if it was pertinent to all of our futures.

Even now, after 20 years of blood, fire and continuous terror, Yedioth still pushes and inundates public discourse with the same dangerous ideas that have brought Israel to the edge of the abyss. While every intelligent person understands the significance of this abyss, which we were pushed toward over the past decades, Yedioth recites the same mantras of yesteryear. As far as Yedioth is concerned the bad guys haven't changed: they are the majority of the Israeli public.

On Tuesday, Essam el-Erian, an adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, was quoted as saying that Israel won't exist in another ten years (hush your mouth). But what do we want from him? Open Yedioth Aharonoth or Haaretz any day and you will read similar things. As if the past four years have not been relatively good for the region and the world. According to these newspapers, if Netanyahu continues in office, things will get worse and Israel's demise will be assured.

Hamas? Fatah? Nasrallah? Iran? Don't make Noni laugh. The important thing now is the battle against Netanyahu. To do this, Noni is prepared to embrace his enemies — the pioneers of Judea and Samaria, who for years have suffered terrible articles that presented them as the greatest danger to the future of Israel and whose images were blackened, twisted and distorted time and time again by Yedioth Aharonoth. Now, Noni is embracing the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party in hopes of hurting the Likud's chances of forming a big party nucleus ahead of the establishment of the next government. This embrace is conditional, of course. The day after the election, Yedioth Aharonoth will return to scorning the settlers and will present Habyait Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and his colleagues as "extremists," "delusional," "a danger to democracy," and whatever other nicknames are created in the Ministry of Truth in Noni's operations room. Just like the Likud is being presented today. Do you remember the red headlines following the Likud primaries?

Yedioth Aharonoth and its satellites are not in the business of reporting reality. This has never been a central focus of their journalistic work, and in my opinion, neither has it been the focus of Nahum Barnea, their senior columnist. The deep core of the Israeli media, and Yedioth at its head, exists to influence reality, and to advance the social and ideological ideas of a very small group of people. In short, their aim is to control public perception. Cracks are eating away at this wall. Last night, another crack appeared, on the way to the democratization of Israeli media.

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