At first I thought the latest video by Israel's foreign ministry the one that lampoons media coverage of last year's Gaza war was unfunny, amateurish, and useless. Needless to say,it wasn't my cup of satire.
After seeing the overheated reaction by many journalists, though, I must admit to a slight change of heart. It may still be true that the animated clip, which cast foreign reporters as myopic and oblivious to the realities of the region, was ill-conceived. But it turns out that the video, whether by design or not, was actually useful in that it exposed some of the strange beliefs, blind-spots, and self-justifications relied on by prominent journalists, whose angry reactions in fact underscored thetruth behind the video's central premise: that media coverage of Israel deserves criticism.
Note, for example, the response by Robert Mackey, a news columnist at The New York Times. While dismissing the video's message that coverage of Israel is flawed, Mackey oddly describes Israel's now-defunct Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs as the ministry of Hasbara responsible for what Israel calls public diplomacy and its critics call propaganda.
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