The press is "out to get" the prime minister, Asi Shariv, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's outgoing spokesman, said Thursday. He accused Channel 2 of taking out of context Olmert's statement to the German Sat1 network that Iran was "working to get nuclear weapons like the US, France, Israel and Russia." Shariv said the German interviewers believed no news was made in the interview and that Olmert had not said anything new about Israel's nuclear capability, but the press had created an artificial uproar.
Politics: Oops... we're out of etrogs (feature)
"The prime minister has the problem that the press is trying to get him. There was no story," he said, when asked whether Olmert had a problem making statements he later regretted.
Shariv said the press did the same to Olmert's predecessors, Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, when he first took power. He said Sharon avoided the media's efforts to harm him by limiting his media appearances.
"Most prime ministers are not treated like an etrog," Shariv said. "We love remembering just his last year in office, but Arik [Sharon] took a lot of hits at the beginning of his premiership. The first year is never easy. Arik had 1,000 deaths from terrorism his first year and came out of it all right, and so will Ehud."
Sources close to Netanyahu responded that Sharon received special treatment because he pandered to the left-leaning media by withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and adopting leftist language about occupation. They said Olmert earned his treatment by the media.
"Everything that Olmert has been attacked for was for things that he himself said, so he should only look at himself," Ophir Akunis, Netanyahu's spokesman, said.