Judging from the shocked reaction among right-wing bloggers to a paper on U.S.-Israel relations written by professors Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and issued this month by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, one would think the paper’s authors were a couple of unknowns with no discernible paper trail.
Jay Bennish, the Colorado teacher who told his class that the U.S. “is probably the single most violent nation on planet earth” and that President Bush’s State of the Union speech “sound[ed] a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say,” was given a relatively free ride by the national news media.
He’s the columnist who complained that “Hitler died in 1945, but anti-Hitler hysteria is still going strong”; cautioned against “the excessive moral prestige Jews have in the media and the public square”; whined about “Jews deciding the standards, setting the criteria of humanity”; and observed, in chilling if artful prose, that because Jews “set themselves up as the arbiter, there is, if you’ll pardon the expression, a certain ‘kill the umpire’ impulse.”
Yes, another piece on The New York Times – and those who don’t understand why the Times warrants constant scrutiny probably have no business reading a media column in the first place.
Readers with long memories are asked to indulge the Monitor's use, for the second time in three years, of a quote about The New York Times from the noted essayist and author Renata Adler. In the introduction to her book Canaries in the Mineshaft (St. Martin's Press, 2001), Adler, herself a Timeswoman many years ago, dismisses the "paper of record" in typically acerbic fashion, encapsulating in a handful of words everything that's gone wrong on West 43rd Street.
It’s time again for the Monitor’s latest listing of worthwhile websites and blogs. (As always, there is no particular order to the list; names appearing toward the top are not necessarily more valuable than those closer to the bottom.)
The winner of the Monitor’s second annual Henry Schwarzschild Award for most offensive comments by a Jew in the public spotlight goes to Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. The prize, which last year went to Israeli uber-leftist Uri Avnery, is awarded to the person who, in the Monitor’s considered opinion, by his or her statements displays a contempt for the Jewish people, a disregard for historical truth, a desire to sup at the table of Israel=s enemies, or who otherwise plays into the hands of the enemies of Jews and Israel.
Milton Himmelfarb died earlier this month at age 87, and chances are you never heard of him if, like most Americans, you tend not to be a devotee of intellectual and political journals. But Milton Himmelfarb — Mendy, as he was known to his family — was, by virtue of temperament, history and family, a seminal figure in the development of neoconservatism as one of the country’s most influential political forces.
There was no escaping the news of Ariel Sharon’s massive stroke last week. Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, the Internet — all were chock full of breaking stories; backgrounders on Sharon’s life; sound bites from doctors, Israelis, Arabs, Jews in New York, and various Jewish organizational types desperately trying — without much success — to seem even a little bit relevant.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has once again inspired dismay among at least some Jewish viewers who feel the line between simple bad taste and outright anti-Semitism was crossed on the Dec. 17 edition of the long-running show.
Eugene McCarthy died last week at age 89, and should anyone have been surprised by the highly selective memory demonstrated by many in the media who eulogized the former Minnesota senator best remembered for his 1968 antiwar presidential candidacy?
Ten years ago this week, the UN was marking its fiftieth anniversary with a series of events around New York City, including an Oct. 23 invitation-only Lincoln Center concert performed by the New York Philharmonic for a glittering list of dignitaries and diplomats. When Rudy Giuliani spotted Yasir Arafat and his entourage making their way to a private box seat near the stage that evening, the mayor immediately ordered the Palestinian leader off the premises.
Tony Kushner and the terrorists he's writing a screenplay about have one thing in common. . . The alarm bells went off like crazy when Steven Spielberg hired Tony Kushner last year to rewrite the script of a movie about Israel's clandestine - and lethal - response to the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The New York Mets will be getting a new stadium in time for the 2009 baseball season if all goes according to plan. Media coverage of the announcement was rather animated for a couple of days - lots of speculation about what the new park might look like and what it might be called - before it was abruptly cut short by news that the Yankees would be moving into a new stadium of their own, also in 2009.
There's nothing worse than finding an error of fact in a non-fiction book. It sort of makes the reader wonder whether finishing it is worth the effort. The Monitor has had several such unpleasant moments in recent weeks while perusing books ranging in tone from silly to somber.
The Monitor's oft-stated rule of thumb is that when a reporter quotes unnamed sources, those sources invariably buttress the reporter's own viewpoint and agenda. Case in point: James D. Besser, the Washington correspondent for a handful of Jewish newspapers (the New York Jewish Week among them) who for the past several years has lamented the growing ties between members of the Christian Right and pro-Israel activists in the Jewish community.
As a continuation of sorts from last week, some thoughts, rambling and otherwise, on The New York Times: On Friday, April 8, two days after its editors went public with an admission of yet another journalistic dereliction - the paper acknowledged that, as a result of a secret deal with Columbia University, student reaction was deliberately excluded from a front-page "exclusive" on the release of a report dealing with allegations of bias on the part of pro-Palestinian faculty - there appeared in the Times a profile of Joseph Massad, one of the professors at the heart of the Columbia controversy. (The paper, as it happens, had seen fit to solicit and run Massad's thoughts the week before in the very article in which his critics were ignored.)
The New York Times, still reeling from the Jayson Blair, Rick Bragg and Judith Miller fiascos, was caught - yet again - with its pants down last month, but you may have missed it if you don't read The New York Sun or are oblivious to blogs and the media-transforming reality of the blogosphere.
The syndicated columnist Robert Novak, compared with whom Pat Buchanan comes off looking like an honorary member of Hadassah, was in his element this week, essentially accusing Israel of crimes against humanity and relying on a dubious source for his latest bit of anti-Israel invective.
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.