Adelson answers critics: Israel Hayom is “fair and balanced”

Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: media, The Right | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

israel hayom

Israel Hayom, the free rightwing tabloid which has become second only to Yedioth Ahronoth in circulation, has launched its counter attack on the MKs and newspapers publishers which have been trying to pass the “journalism law” in the Knesset. If approved, this bill will allow only Israeli citizens to publish daily newspapers. Israel Hayom is owned by the gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the richest Jew in the world, who is known for his conservative views and his close friendship with PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an interview to Jacob Berkman at JTA, Adelson called Arnon Moses, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, “the most powerful man in the State of Israel” and blamed him for attempting to block Israel Hayom.

Adelson said that Israel Hayom is not endorsing or supporting Netanyahu specifically (Adelson reveled that some of this criticism actually gets to him when he used the nickname the paper got in Israel, Bibi-ton), and that by publishing the paper he wasn’t trying to involve himself in Israeli politics, but rather give the Israelis a “fair and balanced” newspaper.

JTA: Your critics say that your involvement has been or could be detrimental to democracy in Israel. How do you answer those critics?

Adelson: Who are you talking to? J Street? What I am doing is detrimental to the State of Israel? I would like to know what they are doing that is positive for the State of Israel. What do they view as positive and negative?

You were also close at one time with Ehud Olmert, but you broke with him over ideological differences (namely Olmert’s readiness to accept a two-state solution). Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly voiced support for a two-state solution.

What are you trying to figure out?

Do you still stand behind Netanyahu now that he has come out in favor of a two-state solution?

I am not against a two-state solution if it is on the right terms. But I don’t think the right terms will ever be achieved.

In Israel, your political involvement is well known …

What political involvement? I am not involved politically in Israel. Period. And everybody thinks I started the newspaper Israel Hayom purely to benefit Bibi. Nothing could be further from the truth. I started the newspaper to give Israel, Israelis, a fair and balanced view of the news and the views. That’s all. It is not “Bibi-ton.” It is not a newspaper started for and operated for Bibi. And this is the propaganda of our competitors to say to their customers, “Don’t take Israel Hayom seriously because all it is a promotion for Bibi. …”

All it is just competitive propaganda. I am not involved politically whatsoever.

So why do you think people outside of the newspaper business have latched onto this idea?

Because they read it in Yedioth and Maariv. Because [Arnon] Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth, is the most powerful man in the State of Israel and all he wants is to maintain his power, and he manipulates the government.

The truth is, of course, that Israel Hayom is “fair and balanced” exactly as the news network that invented this phrased (I wrote more about this here). Ofer Nimrodi, publisher of the tabloid Maariv – which also took a mostly rightwing approach in recent years – said in a recent interview that during business negotiations with Adelson, the American billionaire accused him that his paper “is not patriotic enough.” Read the rest of this entry »