Bret Stephens, writing in the Jerusalem Post, points to improving coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in America’s mainstream press. He identifies several reasons for the change, including public pressure by pro-Israel groups as well as President Bush’s aggressive pro-democracy position. I think an equally important factor has been the unrelenting critique emanating from America’s non-mainstream media, especially internet-based news sources. The dominant media simply can’t monopolize discourse as they could only a few years ago, and when they take positions that are unsupportable, they get hammered. I think it is impossible to overestimate the complacency of mainstream reporters and editors; they would have been happy to continue reporting the Middle East as a case of peace-process devotees in both Israel and Palestine being undermined by “extremists” on both sides, had they been able to get away with it.
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