According to Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, of the Jerusalem Post, it wasn't all that obvious to the Israeli media how much to hype the virus.
When the first reports of swine flu in Mexico emerged last Saturday, two local colleagues each told me separately that there was no way he was going to lead with that item.
One, in broadcast journalism, pooh-poohed it as "hype" that would dissipate before the week was over, due to its having been blown way out of proportion. "And if there's no Jewish angle," he quipped, "it's of even less interest."
The other, a wire-service editor, pointed to it as a perfect example of the press's penchant for creating - or at least contributing to - panic. "I'm not going to be party to that," he asserted.
The International Herald Tribune didn't ignore it at all. Here are a couple of front pages from this week.
And here's a picture from the Jerusalem Post's site tonight:
Today at our Shabbat table, swine flu was on the conversation menu, not on the eating menu. Taking account the big picture of world health and all, swine flu is really "small potatoes." Our guest mentioned that many thousands die every year from malaria. The money being pumped into the swine flu vaccine research could do a lot more use and save more lives if used to combat other illnesses.
This little video, I found on Seraphi Secret, puts it in proportion:
We began to wonder who was really benefiting from this panic. Look at the pictures, and you'll see what we think. Which industry?