The Liberal-Conservative Media Divide

Monday, February 29, 2016 |  Tsvi Sadan

Israeli media outlets have published their annual "most influential people" lists, and a predictable image has emerged.

There is a clear divide between new social media and the old TV, print and radio establishments. This was most clearly demonstrated in the lists published by the daily business newspaper Globes and the online news portal Walla!.

Globes focused almost entirely on TV, radio and newspapers. Walla!, on the other hand, was more concerned with who was popular on Facebook. 

Number one on Globes' list is Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is clearly the exception. Immediately after him is Noni Moses, owner of the daily Yediot Acharonot, who is a bitter enemy of Netanyahu. 

Next on the list is Avi Nir, a senior executive at Israel's Channel 2. Nir has successfully hidden his political views, but if the saying "tell me who your friends are" means anything, the coddling he receives from the  radical left-wing daily Haaretz is enough to safely place him on the Left of the political map. 

Following Nir is Avi Weiss, CEO of Channel 2's news division, known for its open left-wing bias. And last but not least is the owner and CEO of Channel 10, also distinguishably leftist in flavor.

While the basis for the Globes list is not clear, the Walla! list is based on popularity measured by how often a person was "followed" on Facebook. In this more "scientific" survey, all 10 of the most popular Facebook personalities are vocal, hardcore right-wingers. 

First on the list is the rapper known as "The Shadow," who has 150,000 followers. Yoav Eliasi (his real name) pulls no punches in calling out those Israelis who collaborate with anti-Israel organizations. Next is reporter Emili Amrusi, who lives in a "hated" settlement. Following her is the controversial Ben-Zion Gopstein, allegedly linked to "Jewish terror" groups.

Rounding out the Walla! list are politician and columnist Moshe Feiglin and Avishai Ivri, founder and editor of the popular satirical website Latma.

The disparity between the mainstream media list and that from social media speaks to the exclusion of personalities whose convictions are in opposition to the agenda of the liberal-controlled media.

Left with no place to be heard, these people have turned to the open and pluralistic social media that is fast becoming even more influential than the old media establishments of TV, radio and newspapers. 

The tight political control the mainstream media exercises was recently played out on Army Radio after talk show host Razi Barkai expressed sympathy toward the "bereaved" families of terrorists. The outcry that followed demanded his resignation, but to no avail.

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