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Kamm Case: Sorry State of MSM, Critical Role of Blogs in Breaking Controversial Stories

In a discussion with Avner Cohen earlier today I learned that Facebook is hugely popular in Israel and that many Israelis are getting their knowledge of the Anat Kam from Facebook because they can’t find it in the Israeli MSM.  I confirmed this via my site stats which show that almost half my visitors are from Israel (normally the percentage is about 3-4%) and many are referred by Facebook.

I found a new Facebook page, We Want the Truth about Anat Kam.  Reading down the group’s Wall I discovered something fascinating.  Avner is right.  Facebook is Israel’s town square.  There are now tens (if not more) of Hebrew language posts about Anat Kam.  And until then, I had no idea.  In a day or so, there will likely be hundreds.  I did know initially about a few bloggers who’d written on this like Aryeh Amihai and Idan Landau, but they all took their posts down at Kam’s request.

In this case, as so many others these days, Israelis are not getting their news from the MSM.  The major papers and media outlets are disgracefully honoring the government’s gag order against publishing details of the story.  Even when the MSM publishes something about the story the report must tip-toe around the facts and essentially ignore them or speak about them in code.  Perhaps in the past some societies had more patience for this.  Nowadays, they don’t.  That’s what’s leaving the MSM in the dust.

Way back in the day when old line media was king, if a story didn’t break there it didn’t exist like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.  But something has changed.  Nowadays, for whatever reason, the MSM often doesn’t break big stories, especially not ones involving a potential cost to them like this one.  As I’ve written here, I first wrote about this on March 15th and could get no one in the MSM interested in it.  Almost two weeks later, JTA and the Independent broke the English-language publishing barrier.  But a blog got there first.

I predict the same thing will happen in Israel.  The Israeli MSM will honor the gag until blogs will embarrass them into publishing.  If they continue to refuse, it will threaten to render them even more irrelevant than they already are.  If virtually every citizen in Israel knows about this case via Facebook and the blogs before the MSM publishes, it will make the latter into a laughingstock.

I don’t want to overstate things.  The MSM still plays a major role in reporting many stories.  It even reports important ones.  The work of Uri Blau, for which he sits in London in self-imposed exile, is a case in point.  But there are times, and they will come more and more often, when the MSM can’t or won’t cover important stories like this one.  When they fail as they have here, it will be more and more clear to the average citizen that blogs play a critical role in social and political discourse.

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