Analysis: Who benefits from the leaks?

January 16, 2017 06:25

Mozes is getting hit hard for appearing ready to play with his newspaper as if it is a toy with no set standards of journalistic objectivity and coverage.

2 minute read.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Everyone benefits, and everyone loses, from leaks of the talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.

Netanyahu is getting hammered by all the unflattering media coverage of him trying to bribe his way into more flattering coverage from the newspaper. The worst case scenario is either an indictment or wave of negative coverage that could lead to the government falling, though that does not seem to be the most likely possibility.

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Mozes is getting hit hard for appearing ready to play with his newspaper as if it is a toy with no set standards of journalistic objectivity and coverage. He also may be indicted, though that is very much up in the air.

At the same time, however, Netanyahu gains from the publicity, as reflected by a counterattack by his supporters against Mozes and Yediot.

Mozes personally does not gain very much, but Yediot and critics of Israel HaYom potentially win validation of their narrative that Israel HaYom is in Netanyahu’s pocket. If the prime minister is indicted or otherwise forced to resign, that potentially could be seen by Yediot and Mozes as a win, depending on who would come next.

Perhaps the group of police who are pro-indictment are doing the best since they are putting unrelenting pressure on Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to indict the prime minister and Mozes.

Mandelblit, however, has no intention to release the full transcripts of the Netanyahu-Mozes conversations before he makes a decision about whether to close the case or file indictments.

But there is no question that, if Mandelblit gave less attention to the case, he will now need to give more. He is about as impervious to pressure by the media as officials come, but if the Netanyahu- Mozes case is a borderline one, the constant pressure from the leaks will make the attorney-general think twice before he closes it.

This is not a clear-cut gain of the police at the expense of Mandelblit, as top police and state prosecution officials have concurred regarding his handling of the Netanyahu cases against some of those working under them on the investigations.

In that sense, the leaks, if they do not help push Mandelblit into indicting Netanyahu, mainly serve as a chance for the lower police and prosecution officials to give voice to their view.

Whether the public benefits from the partial leaks in forming its own, somewhat more-informed opinion despite the lid top law enforcement officials have kept on announcements regarding details of the case will be clearer once the full transcripts emerge.

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