The Monitor tries to warm the winter cold with one baseball-related column a year, and what better time than now, with the Super Bowl over and pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training camps next week?
The end of George W. Bush’s presidency coincided with the 20th anniversary of Bush’s father taking the oath of office, and it got the Monitor thinking of how one televised performance on the part of Bush Senior cemented his reputation as a president indifferent or even hostile to Israel.
An op-ed column in last Thursday’s (Jan. 8) New York Times by Columbia professor of Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, while fairly unremarkable in its boilerplate condemnation of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, ended dramatically with a citation of the following statement allegedly made in 2002 by former IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”
It takes a time like this for the full fury of Israel’s leftists to erupt in the face of their own country and government. While it’s true that, at least for now, Israel’s anti-Hamas offensive has garnered widespread domestic support, that’s hardly been the case among the country’s left-wing elite.
Actor and left-wing activist Ed Asner is the winner of the Monitor’s fifth annual Henry Schwarzschild Award, bestowed on a person in the public spotlight who, by his or her statements, displays contempt for the Jewish people, 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.
The cause that for two years now has been closest to the liberal heart – the election and glorification of Barack Obama – has, of course, benefited immeasurably from the virtually uncritical coverage accorded it by the mainstream media. The weeks since Obama’s election have been a period of celebration and self-satisfaction for liberal journalists who barely even attempt to conceal their bias anymore.
Mayor Bloomberg has enjoyed the sort of adulatory media coverage that would make even Barack Obama envious. Well, maybe not Obama, but certainly any merely mortal politician. Which makes Fred Siegel’s stubborn refusal to join Bloomberg’s Hallelujah chorus all the more startling.
(A) Name the high-profile Democratic strategist and former White House deputy chief of staff who said the following about President-elect Obama’s economic team: “He’s generally surrounded himself with intelligent, mainstream advisers. Investors, workers and business owners can only hope that, over time, this new administration's economic policies bear more of their market-oriented imprint.”
No doubt there were some well-meaning consumers of news who labored under the naïve illusion that the mainstream media would become just a wee bit more objective in its coverage of Barack Obama once their anointed one won the White House.
The Monitor supported John McCain in the presidential campaign just concluded, and given the opportunity would do so again. Having said that, anyone who wasn't profoundly moved by Barack Obama’s victory rally and speech last week has to be either emotionally dead or devoid of any appreciation of just how historic a moment it was.
George W. Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular presidents in history, battered by years of non-stop criticism, scorn and derision – a good deal of it deserved, but much of it politically motivated, hypocritical and unfair.
It’s difficult to say which member of the mainstream media has shamed him- or herself most in terms of pure self-abasement at the feet of the idol Obama. We are, after all, talking about a cast of name-brand reporters, analysts and opinion columnists (are such distinctions even relevant anymore?) probably numbering in the hundreds.
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.
Most political observers in Israel feel it’s only a matter of time before Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu gets another turn at the premiership. Nine years after being voted out of office in a landslide defeat at the hands of Ehud Barak, Netanyahu routinely tops voter preference polls – a state of affairs surely owing more to the country’s dearth of leadership than to fond memories of his first term in office.
Back in late 1999 through the fall of 2000, when Hillary Clinton was first running for the U.S. Senate, this column had some uncomplimentary things to say about the then-first lady. From time to time since her election, readers have wondered whether the Monitor had any second thoughts, especially given Sen. Clinton’s generally solid foreign policy record.
Perhaps sensing that the liberal media’s attack template of Sarah Palin as lightweight rube had not made a discernible difference in the campaign polling numbers – and may in fact have driven swing voters to the McCain-Palin ticket – The New York Times appeared to be trying a different tack last weekend.
Within hours of the announcement by Republican presidential candidate John McCain that he had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, the Internet was ablaze with reports that Palin was a supporter of Patrick Buchanan. The arsonists were a left-wing blogger and an attack-dog Democratic politician.
Writing about U.S. presidents and their relationships with Israel and the American Jewish community, whether in this column or a longer feature piece (i.e., this week’s front-page essay) is never easy. Readers are quick to react to any perceived slight of presidents they admire or, on the other hand, to chastise the writer for going too easy on an irredeemable reprobate.
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.
Submitted for your amusement, a tale of two columnists, as different as it is humanly possible to be in their view of the Middle East.
The brouhaha over the July 21 New Yorker cover illustration of the Obamas as the epitome of terrorist chic extended well beyond the abbreviated news cycle to which we’ve become accustomed.
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 Monitor’s been in a nostalgic frame of mind lately, celebrating (some would say wallowing) in its 10th anniversary. Several readers, responding to last week’s front-page essay, “A Decade of Media Monitoring,” asked whether there was one particular column the Monitor counted as a personal favorite.
Rick Perlstein, an unabashed man of the left, first attracted wide notice seven years ago with the release of Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, his engagingly written and fair-minded study of the rise of the American conservative movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
As noted here last week, the Monitor is coming up on its tenth anniversary as a weekly column. The very first Monitor ran the week of July 3, 1998, and on the chance that some (a few?) readers might be interested in what the maiden voyage looked like, it appears below.