The Ego of the Man and the Ego of the Media

No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. Being overly emotional and letting hurt pride or spite dictate whether or not you go to war is unwise and grossly negligent.

—- Sun Tzu, in The Art of War

The President of the United States is upset. The Prime Minister of Israel was invited to a party and would be willing to visit with him while in Washington. But Obama wasn’t invited to Congress, and so he’s peeved and in childish retaliation, is simply too busy, once again, to meet Benjamin Netanyahu. If Obama had invited Netanyahu and then the Congress had invited the Israeli Prime Minister to speak, all would be well with the world. But sadly, Congress did the inviting and so all manner of public catastrophes are being predicted by Israeli politicians desperate to appear newsworthy and by an equally desperate media, worried about its role in a world that needs it less and less each year.

It isn’t the first time Netanyahu has traveled to the United States without an invitation from the White House but this time, apparently, since Obama wasn’t able to shun Netanyahu “first”, and since we are pre-elections here in Israel, this has been inflated into gigantic proportions by media and man.

I find it incredibly ironic that while the media quickly runs to accuse every politician and governmental organization of acting in the name of politics during this run up to our elections, nowhere have I seen a greater instance of politics being infused into everything as in and by the media itself.

The media has turned sticking a microphone in the face of every politician into a fine art, only satisfied when the politician offers the opinion the media wants to broadcast. Every event, every action is evaluated and deemed to be political – including military actions which are clearly in the interest of our national security. In the past six years, Netanyahu has been shunned, insulted, and ignored by Obama more times than Israel can count.

Post US mid-term elections, the Congress has asked Israel’s Prime Minister to come to speak to them about the looming threat that is Iran. Why is this news? How is it possible the media and politicians turned this into a diplomatic crisis the likes of which we have not seen since the American Colonists threw tea into the harbor and demanded independence from England?

At least the United States Congress, to their credit, understand that Israel stands at the forefront of what Iran hopes to destroy. They also understand that the United States, Big Satan to Israel being the Little Satan, runs a close second.

But the ego of the man who sits in the White House is such that he must not only be invited to every party, but must determine all factors related to it. Like a child having a temper tantrum, God help anyone in the neighborhood who dares to schedule a party without first checking with His Royal Highness, the King of Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is not in Israel’s interest to refuse an invitation by the United States Congress and so our Prime Minister correctly accepted this invitation because, yes, we are Iran’s first line of attack and unlike most of the State Department, we understand the Iranian threat to our national existence is not political rhetoric but a very tangible danger to the very lives our our nation, our families.

So Netanyahu welcomed the gracious recognition of the Israel factor in the Iran debate and accepted the invitation. And then began an endless array of accusations that Netanyahu is endangering US-Israel relations. The only real response to that claim is “hogwash.” After 6 years of Obama-ism, we are finally getting close to the end of his reign of terror. He has done much to destroy America, while Israel is both financially and militarily strong.

Thanks to Obama’s distinct dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (and likely Israel as well), this won’t be the first time that Bibi goes to the States without being invited to the White House. Ultimately, what every parent knows is that if you feed the temper tantrum, it will only return more intensely and more frequently.

The ego of the American is not something that we will have to deal with for much longer and Bibi Netanyahu is correct in working to strengthen US-Israel connections outside the ailing White House connection Obama has cultivated during his term in office.

The ego of the media, both in Israel and abroad, is something else entirely. More and more, in the face of social media and the ability for everybody with a computer or mobile device and an Internet connection to become a citizen journalist, the established media is seeking to redefine itself. No longer able to be the first to report the news, more and more, the media is moving into shaping the news.

Once, the media stood between us and the knowledge of an event happening somewhere far off. This role is gone as people onsite quickly turn to Twitter and Facebook and other avenues to report what is happening. So reporters seek to add that extra value – but too often choose a dangerous path. Some make the news. Events happen because a journalist is there to offer a channel for a terrorist to gain publicity. Or, as in the case with Israel, all too often, the media attempts to re-frame the information according to their political agenda.

Take, for example, the terrorist attack last week in Tel Aviv. A Palestinian boarded a bus and stabbed 13 people with a knife. He immediately admitted it was for political reasons, for hatred, for anger and terror.

How was it reported abroad? Some well known outlets focused on the end of the story – Israeli police shoot Palestinian. Some went all “journalist” on us – Israeli police report an apparent terror attack…

It would seem that if the police didn’t report it, the media wouldn’t have bothered telling us about it. And while in any other city an unprovoked attack for religious and political reasons will quickly be called terror, in Tel Aviv it seems to have presented the media with a problem.

We will, without doubt, survive Barack Hussein Obama’s reign in the White House. As for the media, I tend to believe in people’s intelligence more than the media does and so I would question not whether Israel will survive the continued onslaught of twisted media accounts but rather will the established media itself continue to survive if they fail in their single most important task – that of reporting the news accurately and honestly.

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