Freedom of the press — and responsibility

By Vic Rosenthal

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one — A. J. Liebling, journalist.

The New York Times owns several. And so do the Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, and other newspapers, which they used to print an op-ed by Ahmed Yousef, an advisor to Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh last week.

Big media organizations have an arrogance that comes with power. Presses (and tv/radio transmitters too) are expensive, and they dole out access according to their priorities.

My local newspaper will publish a maximum of one letter a month from me, not to exceed 200 words (assuming that they find it interesting and not objectionable). Hey, it’s their press.

But those who own large numbers of big presses also have responsibilities beyond their bottom lines.

When the spokesman for an organization with an explicitly antisemitic charter, a charter that explicitly calls for another genocide against the Jewish people, writes an op-ed calling for the destruction of a legitimate state, should his voice be amplified by the ‘responsible’ media?

Yes, he calls for the destruction of a legitimate state. Yousef writes:

Yet it remains that Hamas has a world in common with Fatah and other parties, and they all share the same goals — the end of occupation; the release of political prisoners; the right of return for all Palestinians; and freedom to be a nation equal among nations, secure in its own borders and at peace. For more than 60 years, Palestinians have resisted walls and checkpoints intended to divide them. Now they must resist the poisonous inducements to fight one another and resume a unified front against the occupation. — (no link, I own this press) [my emphasis]

If the Hamas covenant were not clear enough, it’s obvious from this that to Hamas the ‘occupation’ is not just the occupation of the territories captured in 1967, nor even the ‘occupation’ marked by the establishment of the state of Israel — it is the presence of Jews in what they consider their land, Muslim-only land.

Terrorism lives in a symbiotic relationship with the media. Groups like Hamas feed on media coverage. Giving them a voice is aiding and abetting them.

Thank you, New York Times, Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, and so forth. Sleep well.

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