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Netanyahu nixes a newsman, again

Netanyahu for the second time in less than a week picks and chooses his journalists: the prime minister was interviewed by telephone on Channel 10 early this morning, but he demanded that Maariv reporter Ben Caspit leave the studio as a condition to giving the interview.

The management of Channel 10 decided not to cave in, but Caspit, who was a special guest on the panel of the Channel 10 morning show, voluntarily left the studio before the call started.

Caspit later tweets: “After many requests I agreed to wake up early and come to the Channel 10 studio this morning. And then it was found out that Bibi is not willing to do the interview as long as I am in the studio. It was clarified [to Netanyahu] that I will not ask any questions. He insisted, so I left.”

Ben Caspit, political reporter for Ma’ariv, photographed in the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem on Jan 22, 2009 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Ben Caspit (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

Caspit later tweets: “After we realized Bibi won’t do the interview so long as I’m in the studio, I left of my own volition, so that the man ‘strong against Hamas’ will feel safe.”

Guy Meroz and Orly Vilnai, the hosts of the morning show, asked Netanyahu why he refused to do the interview with Caspit present. Netanyahu said “he is not a journalist. People who badmouth me personally, badmouth my family — I do not owe them any benefits as if they are journalists.”

Last week Netanyahu refused to be interviewed by Channel 10 because the station would not expel Raviv Drucker, another Netanyahu nemesis, from the studio. Netanyahu was interviewed by Channel  2 and Channel 1. During his interview with Channel 2, anchor Yonit Levi asked him whether his behavior with journalists was not “a bit Putinesque.”

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