Open Source Center Views Israeli News Media

10.06.08 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

In Israel, “newspaper headlines are often about future events rather than past events.”

That peculiar assertion is presented by the DNI Open Source Center (OSC) in a new report on Israeli news media (pdf). The new report provides descriptive accounts of many major and minor Israeli news outlets, noting their ownership, circulation, political orientation and other distinguishing characteristics.

The OSC report also considers sensitive topics such as military censorship (which it says is “rarely exercised”), ethnocentricity in media accounts, stereotypical treatment of immigrants, and the impact of the internet.

Like most other OSC products, the new report has not been approved for public release by the Central Intelligence Agency, which manages the OSC. But the report is unclassified, is not copyrighted, and does not constitute an input into strategic decisionmaking. Therefore the refusal of the CIA to release it does not command respect. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See Hebrew- and English-Language Media Guide, Open Source Center, September 16, 2008

At its best, Israeli journalism can be very good indeed and can justify the attention of non-Israelis as well. Today in Haaretz, one story considers the growing financial crisis from the perspective of homeless people in Washington, DC. Another story looks at the limits of Israeli nuclear deterrence, with a citation to a classified 1999 report from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

The OSC statement that Israeli news headlines often refer to future events (which recalls an old Twilight Zone episode) was not immediately confirmed by a review of today’s headlines.

Update: A related article on “The Evolution of Israeli Media” appears in The Middle East Review of International Affairs, September 2008.