About The New York Times it has been possible for a number of years now to declare, comfortably and without risk of contradiction, that relying on the once-formidable newspaper as one’s sole, or even primary, source of information can be hazardous to one’s intellectual health.
The late Michael Kelly was a brilliant writer and editor (The New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, The Atlantic) who coincidentally happened to be an American patriot and a strong supporter of Israel – a combination not commonly found in the circles in which he traveled.
The interview with John Batchelor on the front page of this week's Jewish Press should clarify, for anyone who still doesn't get it, why Batchelor's show is thriving while many of talk radio's erstwhile Big Names suffer declining ratings.
The Monitor’s recent listing of worthwhile books on the media brought in a number of interesting responses, with many readers sharing their own favorites – several of which probably should have been included among the recommended titles and possibly will be in a future column on the subject.
"Peter Jennings, Palestinian sympathizer first, journalist second?" is how the conservative Media Research Center (MRC) put it in its CyberAlert of Dec. 4. "Israel," the alert went on, "was the victim of a murderous terrorist attack by a terrorist group, Hamas, which claimed credit.
Dan Rather is finally out at CBS News, nearly two years after his shoddy and discredited reporting – in the midst of a very tight presidential campaign – on President Bush’s National Guard service, and more than a decade after his CBS Evening News settled into last place among the network newscasts, where it’s remained ever since.
The Monitor really hadn't planned on writing once again about Harry Truman.
It was too good to last. The news media, which by and large performed admirably for about a month after the events of Sept. 11, are showing clear signs of reverting to old habits. The sour cynicism directed at American officials, the credulous reporting of enemy claims, the shallowness and sensationalism that once were the province of cheesy local stations but have long since become a staple of the network news departments - all of these are slowly coming out of hiding and reasserting themselves as the driving forces of American journalism.
Thomas Friedman, who in the past has written of American officials being held “under house arrest” in the White House by an Israeli prime minister, used a crass Yad Vashem metaphor to describe Israel, and viewed Menachem Begin’s pride in things Jewish as “his pornography” (more on those statements later), is at it again, this time likening Israeli leaders to dangerously inebriated motorists.
Thirty years ago, the journalist Sidney Zion wrote an article for New York magazine titled “The Palestine Problem: It’s All in A Name,” which he would update in 2003 for The Jewish Press. Zion essentially supported the right-wing Zionist argument against the historicity of the Kingdom of Jordan, while upending the right-wing Zionist argument against the historicity of a Palestinian people.
Joseph Epstein, one of America's most distinguished essayists (and a man who over the past couple of decades has made his way along the well-trod political path from left to right), has canceled his subscription to The New York Times.
A presidential address to the nation that has come into the Monitor's hands:
More looniness to report this week from our friends on the left, who since Sept. 11 have put to rest the notion that their habitual opposition to virtually any U.S. military action would dissipate the moment the country came under actual attack from a foreign enemy.
As we enter the final two weeks of the most interesting and unpredictable presidential campaign in memory, the best way to keep up with developments, polls, and issues is by making regular visits to some of the seemingly countless political blogs and websites.
An important article in the current issue of The New Republic warrants attention. The piece, "The Politics of Churlishness," is the magazine's April 11 cover story by editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, and it amounts to a lifelong liberal's mea culpa for having prejudged and misjudged President Bush in the area of Middle East policy.
So it appears the allegations - many of them made by former colleagues - were spot on after all. Jack Kelley, at one time USA Today's star reporter, had this rather unfortunate habit of fabricating events and, apparently, entire stories.
Don Imus should have been fired years ago. He was a radio host whose sheer inarticulateness may have been even more shocking than his purposeful crudity; an alleged humorist who had said nothing memorable or funny since the dawn of the Clinton era if not earlier.
It's been a while since the Monitor’s last listing of worthwhile websites and blogs. As always, there’s no particular order to the list, and the views expressed on the various websites and blogs do not necessarily reflect those of the Monitor.
Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.
Last year the Monitor proffered readers a list of books for summer reading that was, it must be said, several intellectual notches above the usual beach-and-bungalow fare. The theme of that list was U.S. presidents. This year’s theme, naturally, is especially close to the Monitor’s heart – the news media.
Jack Kemp, who died on Saturday at the age of 73, was, in the words of longtime public official Alan Steinberg, “not only a friend to the Jewish community – he was a true brother to us.”
Walter Russell Mead, the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and one of America’s most quoted writers on international affairs, posted an article on The American Interest blog (www.the-american-interest.com) earlier this month that should be required reading for all who are vexed by the controversy over the much maligned “Israel Lobby” in America.
Cleaning out some old files last week, the Monitor was reminded how fickle the media can be in the matter of designating heroes and villains, and how a world leader can go from slug to statesman merely by falling into line with the media’s preconceived notions of right and wrong.
C-SPAN often teeters on the brink of self-parody, particularly when the hosts of its morning discussion program, "Washington Journal," stare impassively at the camera while yet another crazed caller recites chapter and verse of the latest conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission or the Bush family's Nazi/Saudi/Zionist/ KGB/CIA ties (choose one or more and don't think twice about any seeming contradictions).
The Monitor will return next week to the subject of veteran Israel-basher Mike Wallace. This week, though, with yet another horrific suicide bombing in Jerusalem, it seemed more relevant to focus on the fanatical hatred inculcated in Palestinian young people by their elders.