Mar 22, 2023

The Media Is Over-Covering Divisiveness. It’s Going to Destroy Us

In 2000, President Clinton hosted a peace conference at Camp David that gave many hope for peace in Gaza; but a few months later, the Second Intifada, a major Palestinian uprising against Israel, began. Having been working in the region for decades to found and build PeaceWorks, a company that used market forces to foster peace between neighbors in the Middle East, I was confused and depressed by the news. On Western television, I saw pictures of ruthless violence and terrorism from Palestinians, giving me the impression, at least initially, that the moderates I knew had succumbed to extreme ways. But when I went to talk to my Palestinian friends, and they showed me what they were seeing on the television, I was shocked:. Their news programs depicted all Israelis as merciless killers.

On both sides of the conflict, the news media seemed like it exclusively published stories portraying the worst of the other side, characterizing all Palestinians or Israelis as hateful enemies. It turned out that my friends hadn’t changed at all; they just weren’t the ones the media were showing. And in portraying things falsely in such a negative light, the media fed the conflict rather than helping resolve it.

We Americans are now facing this same problem, with potentially devastating repercussions for our democracy and our ability to lead the free world.

This week, our nonpartisan citizen’s movement Starts With Us released a new study quantifying just how bad the patterns have become. According to the study, conducted in partnership with the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University, during the 2022 midterm election, top-viewed news sources in America covered the most hyper-partisan and divisive politicians four times more than their most bipartisan and constructive counterparts…

 

Read the full article on Newsweek

hyper-partisanship          media          Starts With Us

More from Daniel

End of Year Note 2023

Dear Friends,

As we approach the close of this tumultuous year, I am reflecting on the challenges we’ve experienced in pursuit of our mission to foster kindness in the US and across the world. 

It has been a difficult journey marked by the rise of extremism, lack of civility, and various forms of racism – including a dramatic rise in antisemitic attacks and reports of anti-Muslim hate – that have tested the fabric of our humanity.

In times like these, we face a choice: to be Builders, united in our efforts to construct a better world, bring light, and reach out to the “other” — or to be Destroyers that aim to divide and diminish.

While social media amplifies voices of hate and extremism, we cannot allow ourselves to be consumed by anger or to become more radical ourselves. When we do, we unwittingly contribute to greater division.

To build, we must commit to develop the skills to bridge differences and solve problems across lines of difference (for concrete tips on how to do so, read this letter and listen to this Axios podcast with Lonnie Ali, co-founder of the Muhammad Ali Center, sharing concrete tips on how to do so). We must cultivate the habits of curiosity, compassion, and courage to embrace authentic pluralism.

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Terrorist Attacks by Hamas- Builders vs. Destroyers

As someone who has dedicated my life to build bridges between people, most centrally among Israelis and Palestinians committed to resolve their conflict and build a better future for their children (ie., OneVoice & PeaceWorks Inc), I hope everyone will unanimously and vocally condemn the appalling terrorist attacks by Hamas. Hamas proudly targeted women and children as hostages. Ukrainian President Zelenskyysaid it best: terror like that perpetrated by Hamas must be eradicated or else violent extremism metastasizes and harms us all.

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You can’t make big ESG commitments while failing at the basics of kindness

Ultimately, what we achieve as corporate leaders, even in the form of social impact, must work hand in hand with how we go about achieving it. How we act along our journeys is at least as important as–if not more so than–the destination. For example, if we are donating a portion of profits to at-need communities, but not being open-minded, respectful, and honest in how we lead in the workplace, we risk undermining our larger goals by contributing to a disrespectful, intolerant, or unethical culture. In fact, a company with no stated social mission that is modeling positive values like integrity and respect may be doing more good for our world than one with a big ESG commitment failing at the basics of kindness.

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