The media’s dangerous failure

We now know a politicized press fed us false information for years about a vital security issue.

By
March 12, 2012 15:54
Boaz Harpaz

Harpaz 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has done the Israeli public a great service. And in so doing, he has highlighted the glaring failure of Israel’s other self-proclaimed watchdog of democracy – the media.

Last week, Lindenstrauss published a draft report on the dysfunctional relationship between two men who headed Israel’s defense establishment for years: Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. The report wasn’t made public, but media leaks reveal that Lindenstrauss didn’t assign blame equally. Barak, he found, sometimes treated Ashkenazi badly (no surprise; his abysmal interpersonal skills are notorious). But it was Ashkenazi whose staff, with his knowledge and consent, actively dug for dirt about Barak. It was Ashkenazi who for months concealed an explosive document from his civilian superiors, despite believing it revealed a genuine effort to subvert the choice of his successor (it later proved a forgery). And it was Ashkenazi who, after the document came to light, was less than candid with both the public and the police about his relationship with suspected forger Boaz Harpaz, an ex-army officer with a checkered past.

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