Time's Running Out for TIME

No one would ever mistake TIME Magazine for Commentary, or even The New Republic.  These magazines openly admit their political leanings.  "We're neoconservatives.  So what?  We're hawkish liberals; what's your point?"  TIME, on the other hand, has always flirted with real journalism.  It markets itself as a "mainstream" publication with no political agenda other than reporting the news.

Some people still buy into this fluffy muck.  But most others realize that a thin veneer of journalistic objectivity is all that separates them from TIME's true colors.  It is no longer surprising that TIME has a slant.  But what is surprising is their recent slide into open, unabashed, unapologetic hatred of Israel -- all things Israel.

In November of 2010, TIME published a story declaring that Israelis are too apolitical, spending too much time concerned with their jobs, their livelihoods, and their financial situations.  In other words, Israelis are allegedly spending too much time being regular people.  TIME insists that while Israelis are worrying about everyday things, like paying their bills and supporting their families, they should rather be self-flagellating and incessantly preaching to one another about the horrors they inflict on the poor, decrepit Palestinians.  If TIME had their druthers, daily life in Israel would come to a standstill.  For the People of the Year purveyors, it is not enough that Israelis in Sderot, Ashkelon, and the entire Western Negev barely manage to live "normal" lives in between nonstop rocket, mortar, and sniper attacks from Gaza.  These Israelis must also inflict themselves with metaphysical Qassams, aimed not at their bodies, but at their very way of thinking.

One month later, the article "Palestinians, Contained" continued TIME's written barrage against Israel.  The title, evoking the false image of Palestinians as prisoners, was coupled with a photograph of two Palestinian boys sitting in a fenced in area overlooking a seemingly thriving village.  The unsubtle message?  Palestinians are caged in by those horrible Israelis.  Never mind that the fenced-in area was a sporting arena, and that the picture could just as easily shown Palestinian boys relaxing on Mediterranean beaches or shopping in upscale luxury malls.  TIME has a certain narrative about "evil Israel" that it needs to get across, so TIME is going to spin its yarn the way it pleases.  This is why the same article refers to Israeli bypass roads in the disputed territories, meant to bypass Palestinian rocks and bullets, as roads meant to "whisk [Israelis] from the nearest checkpoint to their hilltop subdivisions without having to encounter a native."  Never mind that most of the Israelis driving to their homes in the disputed territories are also "natives" in every sense of the word.  TIME's "facts-be-damned" reporting isn't journalism -- it's storytelling.  And passé storytelling at that.

More recently, TIME completed its transformation by coming out of the Israel-haters' closet into the world of open and proud bashers of the Jewish state.  The article, "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives," starts off on the wrong foot with its preposterous title.  Israel's move to the "right" cannot in any sense of the word be called a "lurch."  In fact, it has been a steady progression back to the center from Ariel Sharon's "lurch" to the left in 2005, when the disengagement policies originally set forth by left-wing Laborite Amram Mitzna were adopted and put into practice by Sharon.  But the Israeli public elected Sharon in his capacity as the nationalist leader of Likud.  The Israeli government's move to the left, in that instance, really was a "lurch" because it was sudden and against the wishes of the Israeli majority.  The recent move back to the center was hardly a lurch, coming after the Israeli public decided that years of experiments with the center-left Kadima approach had failed, and failed miserably.  Of course, TIME can't be expected to truly comprehend nuances in Israeli politics, considering the magazine's self-imposed journalistic blinders.  This sad publication can't help itself from seeing anything but fanatics and fascists in the majority of Israelis, who best relate to a center-right philosophy.

The article only gets worse from this point.  It argues that democratically elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states" by supporting a law which would appoint a panel to investigate -- with no powers other than these investigatory ones -- the funding structures of anti-Israel NGOs.  Is TIME really under the impression that the authoritarian countries around Israel would deal with organizations so democratically?  In many of the authoritarian states surrounding Israel, there is no legitimate and democratically elected legislature or judiciary to make this type of decision.  It's no secret that the kangaroo-court tribunals in these other countries would never dare rule against the government -- that is, when there is a kangaroo-court at all.  OftenTIMEs, as was recently the case in neighboring Sudan, wholly innocent people in these authoritarian regimes are whipped, flogged, beaten, and killed for little to no reason at all.  The thought that these regimes would hold impartial and democratic investigations under any circumstances is laughable. The comparison of these leaders to the elected leader of the Middle East's only true democracy is simply sad.

And, as Alana Goodman at Commentary has brilliantly shown, the biases and falsehoods of this article go on and on.  It might be tempting to claim that the article isn't actually "anti-Israel" but "anti-Israeli-right."  And for all its failings, TIME is still slick enough to realize that its articles will get more mileage by using coded phrasing and implications rather than outright (and honest) words of Israel-hatred.  Thus, we read about Israel's internal security service -- the Israeli equivalent of the FBI -- as a "shadowy" organization and a "secret police" force.  And we read about "Hamas and Israeli collective punishment in the Gaza Strip" as if it were a foregone conclusion that terrorist group Hamas and sovereign state Israel were qualitatively equivalent.  And for the coup de grâce, the article refers to some mystical Israeli collective mindset which is always affected by a "self-righteous indignation" and a "default assumption that Israel is always the injured party."  In other words, all Jews-qua-Israelis are always self-righteous.  Not rightist Israelis.  Not Likudniks Israelis.  But the "Israeli public."  This is pure Israel-hatred basking out in the open.

TIME magazine fashioned a niche in the American marketplace of mediocre editorializing masquerading as journalism.  But it should be obvious to everyone that TIME has jumped the journalistic shark.  Print magazines are all suffering from high costs of physical production, plummeting advertising revenues, and declining readership.  Perhaps there are enough Jew-haters and anti-Israel activists to sustain a magazine, but it looks to me as though TIME's time has run out.
No one would ever mistake TIME Magazine for Commentary, or even The New Republic.  These magazines openly admit their political leanings.  "We're neoconservatives.  So what?  We're hawkish liberals; what's your point?"  TIME, on the other hand, has always flirted with real journalism.  It markets itself as a "mainstream" publication with no political agenda other than reporting the news.

Some people still buy into this fluffy muck.  But most others realize that a thin veneer of journalistic objectivity is all that separates them from TIME's true colors.  It is no longer surprising that TIME has a slant.  But what is surprising is their recent slide into open, unabashed, unapologetic hatred of Israel -- all things Israel.

In November of 2010, TIME published a story declaring that Israelis are too apolitical, spending too much time concerned with their jobs, their livelihoods, and their financial situations.  In other words, Israelis are allegedly spending too much time being regular people.  TIME insists that while Israelis are worrying about everyday things, like paying their bills and supporting their families, they should rather be self-flagellating and incessantly preaching to one another about the horrors they inflict on the poor, decrepit Palestinians.  If TIME had their druthers, daily life in Israel would come to a standstill.  For the People of the Year purveyors, it is not enough that Israelis in Sderot, Ashkelon, and the entire Western Negev barely manage to live "normal" lives in between nonstop rocket, mortar, and sniper attacks from Gaza.  These Israelis must also inflict themselves with metaphysical Qassams, aimed not at their bodies, but at their very way of thinking.

One month later, the article "Palestinians, Contained" continued TIME's written barrage against Israel.  The title, evoking the false image of Palestinians as prisoners, was coupled with a photograph of two Palestinian boys sitting in a fenced in area overlooking a seemingly thriving village.  The unsubtle message?  Palestinians are caged in by those horrible Israelis.  Never mind that the fenced-in area was a sporting arena, and that the picture could just as easily shown Palestinian boys relaxing on Mediterranean beaches or shopping in upscale luxury malls.  TIME has a certain narrative about "evil Israel" that it needs to get across, so TIME is going to spin its yarn the way it pleases.  This is why the same article refers to Israeli bypass roads in the disputed territories, meant to bypass Palestinian rocks and bullets, as roads meant to "whisk [Israelis] from the nearest checkpoint to their hilltop subdivisions without having to encounter a native."  Never mind that most of the Israelis driving to their homes in the disputed territories are also "natives" in every sense of the word.  TIME's "facts-be-damned" reporting isn't journalism -- it's storytelling.  And passé storytelling at that.

More recently, TIME completed its transformation by coming out of the Israel-haters' closet into the world of open and proud bashers of the Jewish state.  The article, "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives," starts off on the wrong foot with its preposterous title.  Israel's move to the "right" cannot in any sense of the word be called a "lurch."  In fact, it has been a steady progression back to the center from Ariel Sharon's "lurch" to the left in 2005, when the disengagement policies originally set forth by left-wing Laborite Amram Mitzna were adopted and put into practice by Sharon.  But the Israeli public elected Sharon in his capacity as the nationalist leader of Likud.  The Israeli government's move to the left, in that instance, really was a "lurch" because it was sudden and against the wishes of the Israeli majority.  The recent move back to the center was hardly a lurch, coming after the Israeli public decided that years of experiments with the center-left Kadima approach had failed, and failed miserably.  Of course, TIME can't be expected to truly comprehend nuances in Israeli politics, considering the magazine's self-imposed journalistic blinders.  This sad publication can't help itself from seeing anything but fanatics and fascists in the majority of Israelis, who best relate to a center-right philosophy.

The article only gets worse from this point.  It argues that democratically elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states" by supporting a law which would appoint a panel to investigate -- with no powers other than these investigatory ones -- the funding structures of anti-Israel NGOs.  Is TIME really under the impression that the authoritarian countries around Israel would deal with organizations so democratically?  In many of the authoritarian states surrounding Israel, there is no legitimate and democratically elected legislature or judiciary to make this type of decision.  It's no secret that the kangaroo-court tribunals in these other countries would never dare rule against the government -- that is, when there is a kangaroo-court at all.  OftenTIMEs, as was recently the case in neighboring Sudan, wholly innocent people in these authoritarian regimes are whipped, flogged, beaten, and killed for little to no reason at all.  The thought that these regimes would hold impartial and democratic investigations under any circumstances is laughable. The comparison of these leaders to the elected leader of the Middle East's only true democracy is simply sad.

And, as Alana Goodman at Commentary has brilliantly shown, the biases and falsehoods of this article go on and on.  It might be tempting to claim that the article isn't actually "anti-Israel" but "anti-Israeli-right."  And for all its failings, TIME is still slick enough to realize that its articles will get more mileage by using coded phrasing and implications rather than outright (and honest) words of Israel-hatred.  Thus, we read about Israel's internal security service -- the Israeli equivalent of the FBI -- as a "shadowy" organization and a "secret police" force.  And we read about "Hamas and Israeli collective punishment in the Gaza Strip" as if it were a foregone conclusion that terrorist group Hamas and sovereign state Israel were qualitatively equivalent.  And for the coup de grâce, the article refers to some mystical Israeli collective mindset which is always affected by a "self-righteous indignation" and a "default assumption that Israel is always the injured party."  In other words, all Jews-qua-Israelis are always self-righteous.  Not rightist Israelis.  Not Likudniks Israelis.  But the "Israeli public."  This is pure Israel-hatred basking out in the open.

TIME magazine fashioned a niche in the American marketplace of mediocre editorializing masquerading as journalism.  But it should be obvious to everyone that TIME has jumped the journalistic shark.  Print magazines are all suffering from high costs of physical production, plummeting advertising revenues, and declining readership.  Perhaps there are enough Jew-haters and anti-Israel activists to sustain a magazine, but it looks to me as though TIME's time has run out.

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