The responses are finally slowing to a trickle, but the columns on Israel’s friends in the media certainly elicited plenty of feedback from readers. Here’s a sampling, followed by the Monitor’s very own Media Friends Top Ten list (as distinguished from the earlier two lists which reflected the votes of readers).
The award for most persistent correspondent goes to Richard Hershkowitz, who sent not one, or even two or three, but four different e-mails asking why he hadn’t seen any mention of Fox News’s Brit Hume. Chanie Katz e-mailed us with the same question, expressing surprise and disappointment that Hume had made neither the Top 10 nor the Top 25 reader selected list. (The Monitor didn’t forget Hume, though, as you’ll see when you peruse the list below.)
Ephraim Glick e-mailed from somewhere in Queens to berate our readers for not including WABC radio’s Steve Malzberg in the Top 10 list (Malzberg had made the Top 25), while Helen Meyerowitz wrote in from Cincinnati to protest the absence of radio host Lester Kinsolving from either list.
A few of you were quite upset that Nachum Siegel, a New York area radio personality who specializes in Jewish music and issues, was overlooked in the voting (he did in fact get several votes, and the Monitor heartily recommends his program, but most readers seemed to take into account national, as opposed to local, influence in making their decisions).
Here, finally, is the Monitor’s Top Ten list, which differs only slightly from the one chosen by our readers:
1. William Safire: Long the nation’s most influential pundit, and not just because of his high visibility as a New York Times columnist – though that certainly doesn’t hurt. His refusal to abide by party lines, his uncluttered thinking and his extensive contacts give his columns a gravitas just not found anywhere else.
2. George Will: Old Reliable. There isn’t a more consistent defender of Israel in the national media. A ubiquitous presence in print and on television for the better part of three decades, Will makes the case for Israel with an effective combination of moral certitude and intellectual panache.
3. Rush Limbaugh: Liberals love to hate him, but the man who reinvigorated talk radio in the 1990’s is about as unambiguous a supporter of Israel as you’re likely to find anywhere in the public arena.
4. Cal Thomas: Christian conservative who was using his syndicated column to mount a vigorous defense of Israel long before liberal Jews grudgingly began to acknowledge that some of the Jewish state’s staunchest partisans come from the much vilified “Religious Right.”
5. David Horowitz: This prominent sixties radical stunned and infuriated his leftist comrades when, in the mid-1980’s, he publicly recanted his old views and pronounced himself a supporter of President Ronald Reagan. Since then he’s been a tireless champion of a strong America and a strong Israel. His FrontPageMag.com is one of the Web’s most unabashedly pro-U.S. and pro-Israel sites.
6. Michael Kelly: As editor of The Atlantic Monthly he’s done a stunning job of remaking what had been a tired, mostly irrelevant, monthly magazine. But it’s as a columnist that Kelly has made his mark as one of the most consistent pro-Israel voices in the country.
7. John Podhoretz: The New York Post columnist is always eloquent and passionate on the subject of Israel.
8. Eric Fettmann: Ditto for Podhoretz’s colleague at the Post. Fettmann’s knowledge of Israeli politics is especially impressive.
9. Brit Hume: Fox News mainstay who never leaves the viewer in doubt about where he stands on Israel and the Middle East.
10. Andrew Sullivan: The Monitor doesn’t always agree with him on social and cultural issues, but he’s an extremely sharp writer who’s rock solid on Israel. The extent of his influence is evident in the frequent references and links to his Website (www.andrewsullivan.com) one encounters all over the Internet.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org