In the mid-1970s, I spent a brief period working for an English-language magazine in Lima, Peru. The Peruvian Times was, at that time, a schizophrenic blend of business news and first-person adventure travel yarns. Guess which part subsidized the other.
The magazine's office -- just blocks from Lima's nearly 500-year-old central square -- was a hangout for English-speaking journalists passing through or stationed in the Peruvian capital. Many looked to the Times' expat staff for story ideas, context and sources.
The Times was an example of a foreign reporting truism -- which is the reliance correspondents have on local journalists for ideas and contacts. This is particularly true for those new to a nation and those who cannot fully function in the local language.
Its a false comparison because Haaretz ("The Land" in Hebrew) has limited circulation, is unabashedly and consistently left wing in its news columns as well as its editorial positions, is hostile toward religious orthodoxy -- no small thing in a nation where religion plays an enormous role in public life -- and has no where near the domestic influence or corporate wealth of the Times.
What it does have is influence in international liberal circles, which I'd say includes the majority of the Western correspondents working in Israel.
Haaretz strongly opposes the right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular its policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank. On this issue, its editorials and columnists are often quoted by those in the international media who trend liberal-left.
As such, Haaretz wields more influence internationally than it does within its home nation, giving it outsized importance in the international debate over Israel -- which is why Haaretz should be a subject of interest to American consumers of Middle East news.
Let me be clear. My intent here is not to attack Haaretz or its views, some of which I agree with (Israel's ongoing settlements policy, in particular). Rather it is to underscore the influence local media, even one with limited appeal at home, can have in shaping the international media agenda when its views are in line with the prevailing foreign media mindset.