Monday, September 17, 2007

Freedom of Information and other Necessary Evils

Still no clear idea what the IAF did in Syria almost two weeks ago. I assumed, along with most people I suppose, that once CNN had tried to decipher the event the floodgates would open and it would only be a matter of days before the full story came out. This seems not to have happened, and it now begins to seem possible that it will take a while. Truly a strange scenario.

Since the story itself isn't clear, our local critics can't lambast us for it, not with any credibility. So they're casting about for other lines of attack. Gideon Levy, one of the most vehement of them all, lashes out at all of his colleagues for their craven silence. I'm not a shrink, nor do I have the full picture, but I'll allow myself a wee speculation that Levy is frustrated because some of his colleagues must know considerably more than he does on this story, and this way he can feel better than them in spite of their being better informed. Zahava Gal-On, one of my least favorite MKs, almost certainly read Levy over her cornflakes and muffins (nah, I don't believe even Zahava starts her day with bacon and eggs); highly capable creator of headlines as she is, by early afternoon she was in all the media with her demand that the government report to the Knesset immediately, right now, this moment, before the evening news. Note, however, that the head of her party (or at least the putative head of her party), Yossie Beilin, no government wimp himself, doesn't agree with her. Sometimes confidential matters need to remain confidential, he says. Hmmph.

Finally, Shlomi Barzel floats the hypothesis that perhaps the Israeli journalists who are in the know (and there must be quite a number of them, in many competing companies, who've all taken Journalism 101 about scoops) - maybe they're actually being responsible citizens for putting strategic considerations above their ingrained reflexes (my formulation).

Since I don't know what our planes did, I can't tell who's right in all this. As you'll have guessed, however, the measured and sophisticated reasoning of Barzel appeals to me where the strident but always predictable carpers merely grate. Also, note to its credit that this is all from Haaretz. Image what would happen if the Guardian knew how to think simultaneously on three tracks.

1 comment:

Lydia McGrew said...

I dunno. All the sites I read that say anything about it are now saying they hit a weapons cache of some sort.