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.
The Monitor requests some forbearance from readers; with preparations in high gear for an extended 10th anniversary column which, barring catastrophe, will appear as the front-page essay in the July 4 issue, this week’s offering is a reprint of a piece that garnered significant reader feedback when it first appeared several years ago.
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 1920’s through the 1970’s (he died in 1982).
Last week the Monitor invited readers to send in the names of journalists who exhibit an unmistakable anti-Israel bias in their writing or on-air reporting. The results will appear in an upcoming Media Enemies List along the lines of something the Monitor did several years ago.
Back in 1999 the Monitor, inspired by the political humorist P.J. O’Rourke, published an “Enemies List” of anti-Israel journalists. The column struck such a responsive chord, with readers nominating dozens of their own choices, that several follow-ups to the original list eventually appeared over the next couple of years.
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.
Reminders of the mainstream media’s egregious political double standard vis-à-vis liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, come on an almost daily basis – the latest being last week’s New York magazine, the cover of which features a head shot of John McCain smack in the middle of a concentric-ringed bulls-eye board accompanied by this charming teaser copy: “Target: Bush-Backing, Surge-Loving, Economically Clueless Geezer.”
The Media Research Center dispensed its 2008 DisHonors Awards last week in Washington. Needless to say, the “honorees” – those whom a panel of 16 media observers deemed the country’s “Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters” – were not on hand to accept accolades from presenters such as columnists Cal Thomas and Ann Coulter and radio host Mark Levin. The winners were selected by a panel of 16 media observers including Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Steve Forbes.
“How long can a country survive if its intellectuals are working to undermine the very culture the country was built on?” That was the question asked by Yoram Hazony, founder of the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, a think tank dedicated to countering the influence of Israel’s “new historians” and post-Zionist academics, in his book The Jewish State (Basic Books, 2000), the first thorough – and critical – examination of post-Zionism available in English and still a must-read for anyone interested in Israeli history and politics.
As an evangelical Christian, Cal Thomas – author, syndicated columnist, television talking head – brings to his work a deep religious commitment combined with a sophisticated media sensibility. His worldview is governed by biblical absolutes, among them the unshakable conviction that the Jews have a divine right to the Land of Israel.
Was there ever any doubt that liberal journalists and media outlets would swoon over whatever Barack Obama would say in response to the controversy concerning his relationship with his longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Liberals just have too much invested in the storyline of a post-racial, biracial healer whose mission it is to set our house in order after the unspeakable depredations of the George W. Bush years.
So Barack Obama, that much-heralded agent of change and ensign of hope, is desperately trying to come up with a believable explanation of what he knew and when he knew it – the what and when in this case referring to the anti-white, anti-U.S., anti-Israel invective spewed for decades by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s longtime pastor and spiritual adviser, the cleric who presided at the Obamas’ wedding and baptized their children, the Afrocentric radical who bestowed an award on Louis Farrakhan, the man Obama refers to as “family” and compared to a beloved “old uncle” as recently as three weeks ago, before the media finally, belatedly, made an issue of their relationship.
A few observations on media coverage of last week’s Mercaz HaRav massacre:
(This week’s column is a somewhat expanded version of a post by your trusty correspondent at Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog.) Among his many other accomplishments,...
It’s been nearly six months since the Monitor’s last listing of worthwhile websites and blogs. It’s time for an updated list, but this time we’re sticking only to blogs – no conventional websites, newspapers, magazines, etc. As always, there’s no particular order to the list, and the views expressed on the various blogs don’t necessarily reflect those of the Monitor.
Recent news reports identifying Robert Malley as one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers took the Monitor back a few years, to the summer of 2001 when the previously obscure Malley was suddenly popping up all over the place, castigating Israel for the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000.
The amazing implosion of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign will be analyzed and argued about for years to come. The Monitor’s own take, hardly original and admittedly based on nothing more than informed speculation, is that he simply was ambivalent about the whole enterprise to begin with.
Assassination does wonders for a public figure’s place in history. John F. Kennedy was a president of questionable character and meager accomplishment, but his untimely and violent death, followed by decades of unceasing image control by the Kennedy family and their media apologists, has helped sustain one of the great myths of American history – a myth that there once existed in Washington a magical kingdom called Camelot, ruled by a dashing prince whose wisdom and bravery were matched only by his unshakeable devotion to his beautiful princess.
When Dr. Israel Shahak died on July 2, 2001, the Monitor speculated that he “presumably had ample opportunity by now to compare notes with Hitler, Stalin and the other equally distinguished residents of his new, supernaturally heated neighborhood.”
The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign is getting louder and uglier by the minute as racial and gender politics threaten to fracture the Democratic base, and even those media outlets that in the past had defended or at the very least tolerated the Clintons give every indication of having finally lost patience with the shopworn act.
The winner of the Monitor’s fourth annual Henry Schwarzschild Award for most offensive comments by a Jew in the public spotlight is David Landau, editor of Haaretz, Israel’s leading left-wing daily. The prize is awarded to the person 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.
‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists, and the invaluable TimesWatch website has issued its annual roundup of dozens of biased or just plain silly quotes from the reporters, columnists and editors who work so hard to ensure that The New York Times maintains its august position as the flagship publication of the Democratic National Committee.