How were Israel's television anchorwomen perceived on social media?

New research found social media users to criticize anchorwomen Yonit Levi, Geula Even-Saar and Tamar Ish Shalom primarily in sexist, and sexual, connotations.

Yonit Levi with Tony Blair (photo credit: SHACHAR MAMAN)
Yonit Levi with Tony Blair
(photo credit: SHACHAR MAMAN)

Social media discourse in 2018 surrounding anchorwomen, past and present, of Israel’s three largest television channels, Yonit Levi, Tamar Ish Shalom and Geula Even-Saar, was aggressive and sexist, new research shows. Internet users regularly lobbed curses in context of their appearances, sexuality and spouses.

The research, conducted by Vigo and the Ifat Media and Communications group, was presented at the DIGIT2019 conference on Monday to the school for digital journalism at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications of IDC Herziliya, in conjunction with Google.
The study notes that Levi, anchorwoman of Channel 12, has the highest levels of discourse and is perceived as the most negative among the anchorwomen, mainly because she is perceived by internet users as a "leftist."
Internet users tended to curse Levi primarily in sexual and sexist contexts, as they spoke about her mostly in terms of her appearance and sexuality. Among the curses used were “wh*re,” “b*tch,” “moron” and “hag.”
Even-Saar, who resigned from her position of anchorwoman at Kan news when elections were announced in December, was perceived during her time as anchorwoman as someone aggressive who fought with others, and absorbed many comments on her presentation and reactions to various events. In addition, she was widely accused of upholding the political interests of her spouse, MK Gideon Saar (Likud).
Ish Shalom, who anchors Channel 13, on the other hand, was the anchorwoman to receive the most support in the study, but she received the smallest share of the discourse in the past year. In addition, the discourse surrounding Ish-Shalom centered on her appearance, by and large in a positive sense.
Roy Katz, founder and producer of the DIGIT conference, explained, “the dominance of women in the presentation of all major news broadcasts in Israel leads to a discourse of hate on social media.”