Would anyone pay to read Adelson's newspaper?

Matti Golan

Sheldon Adelson wants "fair and balanced" - but in his favor.

In a recent interview with "Politico", Sheldon Adelson said about his freesheet "Israel Today", "We intended to make it fair and balanced, because the other newspapers are so far to the left. The problem in education and in the press is that everybody is to the left."

What is "fair and balanced?" It seems that the definition that was best on target was by Israel's late foreign minister Abba Eban, when asked what was an objective position about the Middle East conflict. He said straight out, "Any position that coincides with ours." Eban naturally meant this as a joke, but in reality it is a very valid statement. Everyone wants "fair and balanced" - but in their favor.

Political and personal ideology mixed

This is also true for Adelson, of course. Even the old party affiliated newspapers "Davar" and "Al Hamishmar" were not characterized by such partisanship. Moreover, Adelson mixes political ideology with personal and social ideology. It is important for Adelson, and therefore for "Israel Today", that Israel should adopt his right-wing positions. But it is equally important to him that Israel should also adopt Benjamin Netanyahu (and his wife, Sarah). Netanyahu has never said, "L'etat ces moi" (even though he may think it). But Adelson does say, as implied by the content of his newspaper, "The state is Netanyahu (and his wife, Sarah)."

Why is a right-ring paper only read when it's distributed for free?

Let us move to the second half of Adelson's statement: "The problem in education and in the press is that everybody is to the left." That is really the problem for Adelson and Benny Katzover, for example. But the question is why, Adelson? Why is this so? In other words, if your ideas, of the right, are right for the country, why does the majority, according to you, go for other people's contrary ideas? Why do most people (in your home country of the US, too, by the way) do not follow your right-wing positions and ideas?

Why, Adelson, does a right-wing newspaper have to be distributed for free to get people to read it? Again - if you have something interesting and important to say, why do you not put it to the supreme, absolute, test - will people be willing to pay for it? Israel already has a right-wing newspaper, "Makor Rishon", but it does not have your billions, Adelson, which is why it has to be sold to us for money. And in truth, what is the circulation of this newspaper? Not much apparently.

Do you have a problem with education, Adelson?

What does it say about the right, which can only hope that someone will be interested in your newspaper if it's free? What does it say about the other newspapers, which are far more fair than you, Adelson, give them credit for? The fact is that Netanyahu, and other right-wing leaders, were elected before "Israel Today" existed, when Israel was "ruled" by left-wing and right-wing newspapers - which means that there is no problem with education or the media.

By the way, the media and the education system have taught Israeli citizens to be democratic. That is how the Israeli public conducted itself when it awarded a majority of votes to the right, and to the left, and to the center, too. This means, Adelson, that if the establishment of your newspaper means that we have to dance to your tune, then maybe you have a problem with education? Maybe that is the reason why people aren’t willing to pay for newspapers of people like you? Maybe you should think about this while flying between Macau and Las Vegas?

It seems that the purpose of your newspaper, Adelson, is not just to support the right by a newspaper, but to do this by destroying Israel's other newspapers. Money can be very aggressive, even violent, depending on how it is used. Destroying for-pay newspapers with a free newspaper is, in my opinion, violent behavior. It is just like distributing free clothing to destroy the fashion industry. But what does that matter? So long as the casino tables continue to provide you with money, you and your newspaper are all set. It seems that so long as the gambling cash flows, the proud nationalist right is fine.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 27, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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