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Disturbing Trends At Fox News

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“Fair and Balanced” is fast becoming more slogan than operating system at Fox News, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the way Israel is increasingly being treated and the extent to which anti-Semitism is tolerated as part of the cable channel’s conversation.

Here are a few examples:

● For some time, Fox has been using Michael Scheuer as a commentator. Bill O’Reilly is most responsible for this, but Judge Anthony Napolitano also made Scheuer a regular. This pompous “head of the Bin Laden Desk” at the CIA foams at the mouth whenever he can steer the conversation to Israel.

In his book Marching Toward Hell, Scheuer gives us that nasty bit of anti-Semitic trope that “the war in Iraq…was instigated by U.S. citizen Israel-firsters and their evangelical Christian allies.”

His subliminal theme is that Israel exerts undue influence on U.S. foreign policy through a network of powerful lobbies, organizations and large political donors. Scheuer is ever ready to blame Israel and by extension its American supporters for all that is wrong in the Middle East – and Fox gives him platform to do that.

● Before Scheuer, O’Reilly’s “stand up guy” was Al Sharpton, who in 1991 referred to Jews in Crown Heights as “diamond merchants” and in 1995 helped provoke an anti-Jewish riot in Harlem that resulted in several deaths at a Jewish-owned store Sharpton tagged as being run by “interlopers.”

● O’Reilly also harbors Marc Lamont Hill, an offbeat academic who defends the likes of the execrable Ward Churchill, fired from the University of Colorado because of his characterization of the victims of 9/11 as “little Eichmanns.” In defending Churchill, Hill gives hint to where his own feelings are. O’Reilly continues to keep him on.

● Another negative trendsetter is Sean Hannity, who has given new life to Pat Buchanan, a man with a long history of making remarks widely considered anti-Semitic; a man characterized by columnist Charles Krauthammer as “fanning hatred for Jews with his sly and not so sly allusions to Jewish power, Jewish influence, Jewish disloyalty” and by Alan A. Ryan, Jr., a former Justice Department prosecutor, as “the spokesman for Nazi war criminals in America.”

This is the same Buchanan who said “Capitol Hill is Israeli-occupied territory”; who first coined the term “amen corner” in reference to American Jews who support Israel; and who claimed that U.S. entry into conflict with Iraq was driven by Jewish neoconservatives solely for the benefit of Israel.

It’s the same Buchanan who wrote, “If you want to know ethnicity and power in the United States Senate, thirteen members of the Senate are Jewish folks who are from two percent of the population. That is where real power is at.”

The same Buchanan who said, “If [Elena] Kagan [President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court] is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than two percent of the U.S. population, will have thirty-three percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this Democrats’ idea of diversity?”

His presence on Fox besmirches the network.

● Then there is the constant ignorance of Geraldo Rivera. One only has to spend a few seconds listening to his reporting from the “occupied territories,” as he calls them, to gauge the depth of his ignorance of the facts on the ground. Most recently he had a tete a tete with his “old and dear friend” Hanan Ashwari, the dependable propagandist for the Palestinian narrative. Geraldo regularly parrots that Palestinian narrative.

● Most recently, Bob Beckel, on “The Five,” appeared to be channeling Sharpton when he referred to a group of Israelis meeting with Mitt Romney as “diamond merchants.” Bob and Fox must know that the term used in that way is redolent with stereotype and prejudice.

None of this is casual stuff. Anti-Semitism creeps into media environments like Fox News in innocuous doses, but soon becomes ever-present and accepted.

In the early 1990s the courageous William F. Buckley would not allow the anti-Semitism of a senior editor named Joseph Sobran to contaminate National Review, the magazine Buckley had founded in 1955. Buckley also publicly castigated the aforementioned Buchanan for his statements on Jews and Israel. There seems to be no such compunction at Fox.

What Bill Buckley did was exhibit a moral courage that most of the media lack and that Fox is now losing. It takes courage to do the right thing and Fox doesn’t seem to have it as it starts its descent into that cauldron of opinion in the so-called middle where right and wrong are always relative and never absolute.

More’s the pity, for courage is what made Fox News what it is today. Not ego. Not brashness. Not relativity. Courage. Fox, which once led, is becoming a follower. The network’s decision-makers have to realize that the poison that is anti-Semitism needs be fully removed, not merely “balanced.”

Pollution, once in the mix, spoils everything.

N. Richard Greenfield publishes the Jewish Ledger in Connecticut (www.jewishledger.com).

N. Richard Greenfield

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  1. Charlie Hall says:

    " is fast becoming more slogan than operating system at Fox News".

    Becoming? It has been a joke from the very first day the network commenced operations in 1996.

  2. Stewart Nasar says:

    the war in Iraq…was instigated by U.S. citizen Israel-firsters and their evangelical Christian allies.”

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    And many of the people responsible for that disaster are now Romney's foreign policy advisers. Given that Romney has absolutely no experience in foreign policy, that ought to terrify Americans.

  4. Seriously? What is this person watching? Apparently the author of that article hasn't been watching any of the other news outlets, i.e. BBC, CNN, RT, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, or any of the networks….. Comparatively speaking, FOX is quite pro-Israel.

  5. A piece of truth: The author of this article is correct in his identifying of these contributors to the News as anti-Israel and or anti-Semitic How ever, Fox News.[including O'Reilly, and Hannity], is still mainly pro-Israel.These above referenced guests, I assume are brought on because of their opinions on other matters.While I personally would never have them on any programme of mine, I do not believe their inclusion indicates a descent into anti-Israel/Semitism.At least, not yet.However, I do see some anti-Israel/Semitic, unknowledgeable comments made in response to this article.Does that concern it's author?

  6. Dana Hagan Randolph says:

    No, the muslim in the White House terrifies Americans!

  7. Carol Crosby says:

    Unbelievable, I hear democrats speaking in the shadows of this article hoping to discredit the only news program that backs Israel. Good try but it fails to prove a point.

  8. Iam Justsaying says:

    What a Joke. How about just looking over at Jewish Journal and you have all the anti-semitism and anti-isreal BS you need. that is even worse. Libtard self hating jews.

  9. Bob Beckel apologized on Twitter and elsewhere. FOX was the only network that pointed out that it was Muslims making the most noise at the DNC convention over the God – Jerusalem vote by zooming in on their signs.

  10. Bill Carlson says:


  11. Bill Carlson says:

    Rupert Murdoch did and does more for Israel than this puny writer ever will do.

  12. What makes the war in Iraq wrong?The lack of WMDs (since found in Syria) ? Saddam Hussain's gov was state sponsors of terror. New gov not much better but that's because "new think" is that all sides have merit and free speech (even hate speech) must be protected. After ww2 denazification was done and it's taken more than 60 years for that bs to take hold in German gov. .

  13. Jeff Pomerantz says:

    All of those statements are facts. Listen, I watch Fox all day long and LOVE the network, but the points the author is making are true.

    Scheuer is a total anti-Semite. I've listened to his garbage for a few years now. It took me a while to figure out he was anti-Israel (Because he was almost always talking about Bin Laden) but as they moved to the Israel issue, he thinks the U.S. has no business even defending Israel.

    Buchanan is obvious. He has years of anti-Semetic rhetoric that can be looked at. I'm glad Krauthammer called him out.

    And then there's Geraldo. He believes in pre 1967 borders and he is Jewish. Makes no sense to me. Most things that comes out of his mouth, is something I usually disagree with him on. He just likes TV time and all the attention. I don't think he's Fox material.

    Now Beckel, I've never heard make any remarks that I would find questionable. I never agree with the guy, but he's a good sport for getting ripped by 4 other conservatives 5 days a week. He's just a likable guy.

    My point being, is Fox covering Anti-Semitism and Israel, YES. They definitely cover the Israel issues very thoroughly. The article should have never been written because the title blows the issue out of proportion. Fox is THE ONLY reliable news source, in my opinion. And just because a few morons say things that one could say is anti-Semetic, that doesn't mean the whole network is like that.

    I stopped watching O'Reilly a few years back when he started trying too hard to be 'fair.' Screw 'fair' Just give your opinion in at least a semi entertaining way. He's lost his luster, in my opinion and I tend to disagree with him on a lot of things. He lost his 'toughness.'

    Hannity, I like watching because he is doing what needs to be done and that is pound Obama. And I mean pound and pound until the people 'get it' and I think he's very effective at it. Plus, his interviews are tough. He doesn't let people get away with crap.

    Anyway, I LOVE FOX! This article is filled with facts, but over blown and should be titled "A few people on Fox say stupid things about Israel" Not that the whole channel is this way.

  14. Michael Ly Olivera says:

    Faux news blows. So biased

  15. Frank Nowok says:

    Jews and Gays, both represent @2% of the populatoin but we spend 90% if the time focusing on them. Tell me they do not have a strong Lobby.

  16. Sig Emerson says:

    I would agree but lately fox has been going soft on a lot of news likely due to pressure from Ob1 , Holder, and such.

  17. Rebecca Lesses says:

    And, what we really need to worry about is the gay Jewish lobby! (joke)

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