FM aide: Ha'aretz undermines democracy

In harsh letter to Shoken, Lieberman's media adviser reportedly claims paper "twisting facts" to harm FM.

avigdor lieberman growling (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
avigdor lieberman growling
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The foreign minister's media adviser wrote a harsh letter to Amos Shoken, the publisher of Ha'aretz newspaper, complaining that the paper was "distorting facts" in order to harm Avigdor Lieberman, Army Radio reported on Monday. "It's no secret that the editorial position of the Ha'aretz newspaper does not support Avigdor Lieberman and the political views that he represents. There's no doubt that this was not a one-time mistake but rather a policy intended to harm the minister, even distorting and twisting facts for this purpose," the radio station quoted media adviser Tzahi Moshe as writing in the letter. The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report. Moshe seemed to take issue mainly with a headline that the paper ran on Friday, which said Lieberman was threatening to cancel the visit of his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt to Israel. In the letter, Moshe called the headline untrue and baseless. "I'm turning to you because the phenomenon that I've been encountering in the paper recently is worrying. This kind of journalism undermines the most basic foundations of the relationship between the media and the objects it covers, and also hurts democracy by preventing the public from its right to credible information. "Editors have the right to express their views in the paper's opinion columns, but can not allow their positions to affect their news reports, twisting information and putting words in Lieberman's mouth that he never uttered," Moshe went on to write. Ha'aretz responded to the report, saying that since Friday's headline was published, Lieberman went on to make even harsher comments on the matter, "which he has yet to deny." The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday that it was in fact Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz who intimated that Bildt may not be welcome in Israel for meeting planned for early next month, while Lieberman said there were no plans whatsoever to scuttle the visit. Herb Keinon contributed to this report