In this article, we examine the impact of the public's political position in Israel and Germany on the credibility of the media, especially television channels, in 2020 compared to 2019. The reason we chose to focus on the political identity, is because we found that the credibility of the media is influenced by the political identity in a way that goes against the general trend. Additionally, the reason we chose to focus specifically on television is because the gap between the groups is conspicuous.
In general, it can be seen that in the past year between 2019 and 2020, there has been a general increase of public trust in the media of Israel and Germany. Data from an annual survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that the trust of the Israeli public in the six popular media groups has increased by about 8.7 percent during this period.
In Germany, we noticed the same positive trend and even a more pronounced. The article, published on the COUTERPUNCH news website, shows that the German’s public confidence in the media has risen by about a third in the past year, and that about 80% of them see media reports as reliable.
In addition, data from the website 'Statista' reveals that in the past year there has been a 9% increase in trust in the media among the general German public.
However, when we examined the increase of the credibility in the media by groups, we noticed an opposite effect among right wing groups in both countries. When we divide the public according to political affiliation, it is indicated that in Israel and Germany there has been a decline in trust in the media, amongst those who hold right-wing and conservative political views.
In Germany, too, it can be seen that in 2020 there has been a decline of trust in the media among the right-wing citizens, which was also reflected in violent protests towards some journalists. For example, journalists have been attacked all over the country. According to the federal government in Germany, there have been some 144 attacks by right-wing parties against the media and journalists in 2020. Physical violence against journalists was also recorded in Israel between 2019 and 2020, but in lower numbers.
What are the factors that led to this tendency and what were the causes? . In Germany, there is widespread feeling among the right-wing public that the established media is spreading false information about them. It can be seen that these feelings are reflected as the revival of the concept of "false journalism" and the way it was adopted by far-right and neo-Nazi activists in protests related to the coronavirus.
This term, used to attack the liberal and democratic media, culminated in World War II and was widely used by Hitler and members of his party. In recent years, the slogan "lying press" has returned to German life. From 2019 to 2020, the expression "lying press", peaked in terms of internet search, and usage by the German publicity.
In both countries, we can see a decrease of trust in the media among the right-wing public. But the reason for that trend is different. The main cause that led to this trend in Israel derives from the way right-wingers perceive the media as identified and supporting left-wing positions. For years, there have been claims from the right-wing supporters that the traditional media identifies with negative and biased coverage of the country's political right.
Additionally, the traditional media accuses Former Benjamin Netanyahu, who is identified with right wing ideology of corruption. (The "This concept became more common between 2019 and 2020 due to the political instability of the country that resulted in multiple election campaigns and Netanyahu's repeated attacks on several news channels. The former prime minister referred to them as "Bolshevik propaganda" distributors.
To conclude, in this article we saw that in the past years between 2019 and 2020, there have been similar trends relating to the general increase of trust of the Israeli and German public in the media. However, despite those similarities, we have also seen that the reasons that led to the decline in media trust among those groups, and the extent of the damage caused in its aftermath, are not the same.