Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid at the Maariv Leaders Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid took the podium at the Maariv Leaders Conference in Jerusalem to advocate for a free press, and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of destroying democracy by attacking the media.
Speaking of his own experience as a journalist, Lapid said that the media has undergone a decline since he left the industry. Collapsing economic models, declining credibility and the dawn of social media had driven the media to chase after “likes” and to become addicted to tweets and instant notifications, he said.
Yet, unlike Netanyahu, Lapid declared that he refrained from attacking the press.
Education minister Naftali Bennet at the Maariv conference, October 15, 2018 (Go-Live).mp4
“Why don’t I attack? Because I’m aware of the alternative.” He said.
A world without the media would be a world where wealthy social media magnates would manipulate the masses through misinformation and fake news, the former journalist mused. But “the media needs to check itself,” he warned, “check why it is trying to imitate social media instead of being its opposite.”
“When [the media] chases after ‘likes,’ it plays into its enemies’ hands,” and the attacks from all sides were warranted in many cases, he said.
But even bad media is better than no media at all, Lapid said. The “only way to manage the media, is not to manage it at all,” he continued. When the government or the prime minister attacks left-leaning journalists, he doesn’t [just] attack leftists, he destroys democracy.”
The Yesh Atid chairman said that “too many people want to live in a democracy but are not ready to pay the price.”