Background: More media exposure than Katsav wanted

Prior to the events that have cast a cloud over his future, Katsav energetically courted the media.

October 22, 2006 01:46
2 minute read.
Background: More media exposure than Katsav wanted

katsav 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Reporters who regularly cover Beit Hanassi are well aware that prior to the events that have cast a heavy cloud over his future, President Moshe Katsav energetically courted publicity. Katsav or one of his aides would often go over the heads of the reporters covering the presidency to contact their editors or senior colleagues offering them exclusive interviews. When the president invites an editor or a senior correspondent to his office, it is unlikely he will be met with a refusal. Invitations to hand-picked journalists resulted in one specific news outlet getting an exclusive with all its rivals promptly pouncing on the bandwagon. Katsav knew from experience that feeding exclusives to reporters was much more effective than inviting all of the reporters covering the presidency when he wanted to promote one of his ideas. Whatever journalist he spoke to would feel obligated to publish something substantial in terms of space or air time, even if the item itself was inconsequential. Publicity hungry as he was, Katsav in his wildest dreams could not have anticipated the barrage of publicity that he is getting now - most of it unwanted, unflattering and occasionally unfair. Bad enough that reference to the charges that many presume will be brought against him are published daily in the Israeli press and broadcast on radio and television, but the salacious items have been picked up and commented on by media outlets all over the world and published not only in countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, but also with those that don't such as Brunei, Indonesia, Cuba, Qatar, Pakistan and Malaysia, to name but a few. One only has to surf the Internet to see that the story has aroused interest in every major and many minor North American newspapers as well as television and radio networks, plus those in Russia, Poland, Germany, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, China, South Africa, India, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia among others. As embarrassing as it is to Katsav, his family and to Israel, it would be wonderful if it was all a scheme to divert attention from the implementation of some strategically vital and historic measure by the government. That would at least explain Katsav's steely resolve and that fact that despite the enormous humiliation that he has experienced, his spirit remains unbroken. He is capable of summoning a smile and his grooming remains impeccable. Last week he told reporters that he had reason to smile because he knew the truth. The question is what truth is it that he knows? The possible scenarios are mind-blowing.

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