Nov 16, 2006

The man behind MEMRI

Yigal Carmon is interviewed by the Jerusalem Post. Here's a revealing exchange:
Can't facts be manipulated? Isn't bias what we accuse our opponents of possessing?

I will answer that by way of a few revealing anecdotes.

In 1994-5, before MEMRI was formally established, I taped TV broadcasts of [Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser] Arafat calling for jihad [holy war].

The reaction to that tape was: "Kill the messenger."

Whose reaction was that?

Much of the Israeli media and politicians. And I protested by saying, "But it's not me [calling for jihad]; it's him [Arafat]." To which they replied, "That doesn't matter."

Then one day, I asked a very senior journalist with whom I was friendly, "Why are you criticizing our work? We're merely revealing the truth." His reply is one I'll never forget: "There is no such thing as truth," he said. "Every news item must be judged by the question of whom it serves. And you are serving the enemies of peace."

Horrified, I retorted, "And you're the one who's considered the reliable journalist, while I'm seen as biased?"

So he said, "If you want to play naive, do it with someone else, not with me. You know I'm right." "No," I said. "I do not know that you're right. There is such a thing as truth, and it is impartial."

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