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There is one question readers have asked the Monitor with far greater frequency than any other. It’s a simple one, and it goes basically like this: What is the most important thing you can say about the media after doing a column like this for ten years?
The answer is easy, and it reflects the general direction of American politics in recent decades. With the rarest of exceptions, liberal pundits and liberal publications are less likely to be supportive of Israel than their conservative counterparts. As a matter of fact, it’s not even a close call.
Readers who find that statement to be simplistic or inaccurate are invited to attempt to prove the Monitor wrong, but the evidence is overwhelming: Whereas conservatives, with the exception of some relatively marginal paleoconservatives writing for a handful of mostly obscure web and print outlets, tend to be strongly supportive of Israel and highly skeptical of Arab intentions, almost the exact reverse is true among liberals and leftists.
On the one hand, the most staunchly pro-Israel newspapers, magazines and cable networks — Wall Street Journal, New York Sun, New York Post, National Review, Weekly Standard, Commentary, American Spectator, Fox News — are virtually all on the right side of the political divide. (The New Republic is a unique case: a moderately liberal publication with a generally positive disposition toward Israel.)
On the other hand, those outlets with the most reliably ambivalent or actively hostile take on Israel are almost all found on the liberal-left end of the spectrum — New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Nation, The American Prospect, Harper’s, CNN, etc.
Similarly on the web, just compare conservative sites like Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, FrontPageMag, WorldNetDaily and the like with liberal favorites such as The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Salon, Slate (to a somewhat lesser degree) and others of similar mind. The articles posted on the latter sites, and even more so the responses from readers, invariably blame Israel — often in terms so vituperative they seem to have been lifted from neo-Nazi and Islamist sources — for everything that goes wrong in the Middle East while portraying the Palestinians as eternal victims of aggressive, imperialist Israeli policies.
In terms of columnists and commentators, any list of the most consistent supporters of Israel (and by “supporters” the Monitor refuses to take seriously those who affect a pro-Israel label – Tom Friedman, Richard Cohen, et al — while never missing an opportunity to criticize Israel) would include the names of George Will, Cal Thomas, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Joseph Farah, William Kristol, Ralph Peters, John Podhoretz, Jeff Jacoby, Jonah Goldberg, David Horowitz, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, and others too numerous to mention here.
There are, of course, liberal pundits whom one can fairly characterize as supportive of Israel, but, as is the case with the aforementioned Friedman and Cohen, that support almost always comes with at least a caveat and criticism or two, an assumption that most if not all criticism of Israel has a basis in fact, and an almost plaintive wish that Israel would act with more understanding and greater restraint.
That such a sharp liberal/conservative media divide exists on the issue of Israel should hardly come as a surprise. For years now, polls have shown conservatives to be much more supportive of Israel than liberals (likewise those Americans who identify themselves as Republicans poll significantly higher than self-described Democrats on support of Israel).
The most reliable indicator of support for Israel, then, is not whether one is Jewish or gentile, or where one lives, or what one does for a living. It’s whether one is conservative or liberal (again, with the proverbial exceptions that prove the rule). Why should journalists and other media types be any different?
Only Jews, by the way, seem not to be in on this open secret, as the vast majority still proudly answer to the liberal label and no doubt will once again pull the Democratic lever this November.
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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Obama went to begin the Arab Spring in Egypt which is still his target; Israel is just the lever.
Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.
New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.
his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him
Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.
The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.
Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.
World War I had sown chaos throughout the centuries-old Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.
Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.
These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.
What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.
With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.
As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.
George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.
Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.
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