Media Comment: The ‘New Order’ at Educational TV
Opinionated anchors deal with social issues from their personal point of view, paying special attention to social, cultural topics.
Child watching TV Photo: Hemera
The Educational TV (ETV) station is a governmental entity, funded by the
Education Ministry, operating as an autonomous unit. It broadcasts a daily
infotainment program, Ossim Seder Chadash (Implementing a New Order). The ETV
website promotes the program as: “The headlines confuse you? You don’t find
yourselves in the media sea of words and news? Ben Caspit and Gal Gabbai
organize the important items for you on a daily basis. The opinionated anchors
deal with social issues from their personal point of view, paying special
attention to social and cultural topics within Israeli society.”
seemingly innocuous description is rather heavily loaded. The program broadcasts
interviews with many social activists.
Studying eight programs broadcast
between April 10 and April 24, Elisheva Arnovitz and Ziv Maor of Israel’s Media
Watch found that there is indeed a new social order – and it that of the program
and its hosts.
Shmulik Zezik was one of the people appearing on the
program during the review period. He was described for the viewers as “an
educator and social activist.”
That he is a member of Meretz, a party
political agent, was conveniently ignored.
Asma Agbariya was presented as
“an activist in the Ma’an workers organization.”
It so happens that
Agbariya also ran for elections on the ticket of the Arab Da’am political
Michal Rozin was interviewed on the issue of sexual attacks. She
was described as “the executive director of a central organization that helps
sexually molested women.” In fact, she is active in Meretz and was formerly a
lobbyist for the New Israel’s Funds Shatil group.
There are additional
examples and all seem to indicate that part of the “new order” is to hide the
true identity of the people chosen to be interviewed, and so blindside the
viewer and keep him confused, preventing him/her from discovering that “social
order” would appear to be a code name for “left wing.”
HEADLINES ARE an
important factor in creating an atmosphere and guiding the viewer. Arguably,
they are even more important than the content which they presume to describe.
Indeed, ETV itself relates to this aspect by noting that “in the headline
industry, what we really need is moral interpretation, knowledgeable criticism
and most importantly, a social aspect.
So, after 700 programs, New Order
continues to do what is important – organizing the issues.”
It is then of
interest to look at the headlines of the “New Order” program itself. In their
research, Arnowitz and Maor presented the headlines of 32 items to two people;
one who identifies with the right, the other with the left. The right-winger
identified two headlines as right-wing oriented, 18 as left-wing oriented and 12
The left-winger identified four as serving the right wing,
seven items as left-wing and 19 items as neutral.
Here are some nuggets:
“The molesting colonel – the IDF carries out unwanted tasks”; “Sending Israeli
youth to Poland causes emotional damage”; “The refugees in Israel have no place
to return to,” and so on.
It would seem that Gabbai and Caspit and their
editors take pains to paint the headlines with a distinct red color. This of
course makes it easier for the viewer to finally understand the “right” order of
When analyzing the items themselves, one finds that approximately
30 percent were left-leaning and only 10% right-wing oriented.
people interviewed 14 were left and only seven right. Quite a lopsided
GAL GABBAI does not hide her weltanschauung.
2011, an item was headlined: “Trips to the West Bank, a love of the land or a
provocation?” She then described Judea and Samaria as Palestine and had to
apologize for the “error” a week later.
In an interview with Naftali
Bennett, former executive director of the Council of Jewish Communities in
Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, she educated her confused viewers on the
issues having to do with the Migron settlement: “The situation in Judea and
Samaria is not a regular one. The ruler there is the army commander and every
argument becomes loaded.”
This is not the first time IMW researched this
program. In 2009, a similar study revealed a clear bias for preferential
interviewing of Labor party representatives and that journalists from the Yediot
Aharonot newspaper were “stars” as compared to other news outlets.
present study, it turns out that this aspect has been corrected. Only one MK was
interviewed during the period – MK Zevulun Orlev from the Jewish Home
The journalists were much more distributed with no noticeable bias
among the mainstream media. Haredi and Arab media outlets, however, were not not
on the screen.
THIS SHOW is not the only infotainment program on ETV. The
Media File is a weekly program that reviews the media with an emphasis on the
local scene. Like the New Order, diversity and pluralism are not a major
For years, B. Michael (Michael Brizon) and Yair Garboz have
treated this program as their personal opinion column. Both are identified with
the extreme left wing. A Garboz pearl is: “The right in Israel thinks it is
patriotic but in reality it is simply racist.”
B. Michael’s wisdom is,
for example: “Our trust in a Creator is the basis for all the wars that were and
that will be.”
Yet ETV and the Media File program insist on giving both
of them the right of expression and is not willing to provide its viewers with a
modicum of balance.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar has shown in the past
that he can wield influence on his TV station. Their daily news roundup has been
changed and it is the only major news roundup program in Israel where the right
wing has two – Sarah Beck and Erel Segal – out of four presenters. Yet the
message of fairness, balance and pluralism has not yet filtered
Educational TV in Israel is an anomaly which should be banished.
It has no ethical code, no public oversight and is no longer needed. Why should
the taxpayer foot the bill? Isn’t the billion shekels of tax money the IBA
receives annually not enough? Indeed, Israel needs its own “New Order” in its
The authors are, respectively, vice chairman and chairman
of Israel’s Media Watch, www.imw.org.il.