The only problem Stern sees in Schocken’s letter is that it implied a cost-benefit argument, telling potential subscribers that “if you read this, then you will support X, Y, Z.”
“That’s not the reason someone needs to read Haaretz. Someone needs to read Haaretz because it’s a pluralistic newspaper, because it offers voices and a quality of articles that no other Israeli newspaper offers,” Stern said.
CAP’s Alterman points to Haaretz’s financial difficulties as a possible reason for Schocken’s choice to take a public political stance—a stance that the publisher may believe is most likely to win over paying English-speaking readers and garner income for the newspaper. In fact, the Target Group Index’s latest study on Israeli print newspapers found that in the second half of 2013, Haaretz’s daily print edition was read by just 6.1 percent of the Israeli public, compared with 38.6 percent for Israel Hayom and 38.4 percent for Yedioth Ahronoth.
Schocken’s letter, therefore, raises the possibility that profit, and not political advocacy, is the stronger motive behind the viewpoint now publicly espoused by Haaretz. But either way, the newspaper—at least in its English edition—could be headed for a future that is increasingly colored by one side of the political spectrum.