March 12, 2013
Yesterday, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that journalists and experts are bullshitters, nearly to the last one.
Some background. One unambiguous Israeli victory in its attack on Gaza last November, journalists and experts widely concurred, was the performance of its ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence shield in shooting down projectiles fired from Gaza. The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus reported on the “remarkable” progress in missile defence technology represented by Iron Dome, evidenced by its “recent success” in the field. His colleague, Mark Urban, described Iron Dome’s “impressive” performance, while the Guardian‘s Harriett Sherwood reported Iron Dome’s “considerable success”. “The naysayers now are few”, observed the New York Times‘s Isabel Kershner—or non-existent, to judge by the number quoted in her article. The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg was satisfied that Iron Dome “is doing a very good job”, though he quoted a “friend… who knows a great deal” fretting that Iron Dome might, if anything, be too effective. The experts, too, seemed to agree. For dovish Israeli academic Ron Pundak Iron Dome was a “game changer”; for Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) it “represent[ed]… a major shift for Israel”; for the respected International Crisis Group, “the [technical] success of… Iron Dome” was not in doubt. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Max Boot spoke for most when he wrote: