Some first impressions about http://www.debka.com/ — it seems to be a right-wing(ish?) Jewish version of the Drudge Report. Not surprising — I’ve been reading Haaretz for nearly 10 years and have observed that the entire country, as well as our own, is drifting in that direction. That, or I’m in a free-fall towards the left fringe of the political spectrum (hard to believe I participated in the local Cheney rally 7 or 8 years ago)…
Here’s a pretty good site that discusses who’s behind debka.com: http://www.embargos.de/irak/post1109/english/who_is_debka.html
My guess is they’ve been right (no pun intended) enough times to develop a following, sorta like Drudge, who is still getting mileage from his one scoop about Clinton and Lewinski. Even a broken clock is right twice a day… They are widely quoted by lots and lots of pro-Israel groups (including some that appear downright kooky), but I do not see them being quoted by any mainstream news outlets (which doesn’t really prove anything one way or another).
I’m not the only one skeptical. Here’s what someone said at http://orbat.com/site/agtw_news/2007%20news%20archive/jun%202007%20archive.htm on June 17 of this year, re. whether or not Israel was about to attack Gaza: “Even Debka.com has not made such a claim, and it can be usually counted on to see an offensive by someone – US, Israel, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, anyone – under each rock. Though in all fairness maybe we should wait till Monday, Debka may just be off for the weekend.”
Here’s another skeptic: “When organizations with a world-wide intelligence reach suddenly appear out of nowhere, with no substantial traceable sources of funding, you can be assured they are almost always tapping into government sources. Stratfor was started by a college professor, and almost at its inception had an instant worldwide presence of top notch economic and geo-political intelligence. The analyses on that site are suspiciously skewed along lines that would mask the real motives behind world events. Debka.com is run by an Israeli business journalist who openly admitted to me that his sources are all government insiders. The trouble with that kind of arrangement is that a one- or two-man shop, even if sincere, can’t possibly check up on whether they are being fed disinformation or not. Sometimes they can tell, but usually they cannot.” (http://www.joelskousen.com/hotissues_news.html)
This is the debka I am more familiar with: http://www.sanabel-debka.com/
So, the bottom line (for me) is that if you’re looking for “news” sources that will validate and reinforce a world view aligned with just about everything George Bush and Israel and Fundamentalist Christians do, and if you see an “Islamo-fascist” conspiracy behind every act of violence anywhere in the world, from a 7-11 holdup in Hot Springs to an airport car accident in Scotland, then you should limit your consumption to outlets like Faux News and, yes, debka.com.
My own perspective is that you should read lots of different news sources and then triangulate to arrive at a semblance of reality. Here are the Internet news sources I check more or less daily (in no particular order):
http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/ (Fisk is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama Bin Laden; my Danish sources think he is overly pessimistic most of the time, but not lately)
http://english.aljazeera.net/English (skewed, but much less than debka.com)
On a less-regular basis, I check the following sites:
And then I’ve got lots of “unofficial” sources: retired CIA agents, Palestinians who are now Americans, former alumni from my high school in Beirut, people I know “on the ground” in Lebanon and Israel, and, of course, my own parents. Ain’t the Internet great?!