Thursday, September 16, 2010

“YOU CAN’T TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER”

That is a truism. But never has it been more true than with the Time Magazine (9/13) cover story: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” What unfolds inside does not support the contention on the cover.

My conclusion: “You can sell a book by its cover.“ This is sensationalism at its worst – a desperate attempt to sell magazines in an era when images of death and destruction have become commonplace in the media.
The cover headline implies nonchalance toward peace – if it happens, it happens and if not, not. War would be ok too. You can ignore current events.

This is a shocking position when conflict in the Middle East is one of the world’s major concerns. But turn to the beginning of the story – and the tune changes dramatically: the subhead summarizes what you are really going to read about: “Israelis feel prosperous, secure – and disengaged from the peace process…”

The story explains that the Israelis are weary. That is understandable. They have been through multiple iterations of peace talks which have failed (regardless of whose fault it was). Israel is now among the few robust economies in the world, and Israelis are indulging in the pleasure it brings. Perhaps it is escapism. Call it what you will. The story reflects that, for Israelis, life goes on.

There was no survey that proved the cover point, only one from 2007 which said that 95% of Israelis are happy. The magazine only quoted a condo salesman who pointed out the indifference toward war or peace: “They don’t care. They live in the day.”

Things get real at the end. The last subhead: “Involved, Like it or Not.” The last line quotes a resident: “Ignore the peace talks? It’s impossible. You can’t do that. You’d have to live in a bubble.”

Technorati Tags: Time Magazine , Israel, Middle East, communications, public relations, Makovsky

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ilana J. said...

Excellent Analysis Ken.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:39:00 PM  
Anonymous RG said...

I can't agree with you more, Ken.

I don't read Time Magazine, but when i saw the sensational cover at a newstand in NY Penn Station I couldn't help but wonder whether Time had unearthed something big, such as first hand information that would impeach the Israeli Government's interest in negotiatiating for peace with the Fatah leadership.

Needless to say, when I read the full story on-line, I was appalled! As you point out, no connection whatsoever.

This cynical contortion of Time's cover is a very serious tactical blunder; Bait and Switch Meets Journalism. In the future I will not waste my time glancing at Time's cover as i walk by the newsstand.

Monday, September 20, 2010 8:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim Askew said...

Dear Ken,

I too was disturbed by this irresponsible, misleading headline. Your blog wasn't a tantrum at all, but a rationated observation by a thoughtful, reasonable man.

Best,

Tim Askew
CEO & Founder
Corporate Rain International
#1 Boutique Sales Outsourcer in the World
Inc. 5000
Blog: www.corporaterain.com/blog

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:28:00 AM  

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