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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Monitor’

A Decade of Media Monitoring

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

When I agreed to take over the Media Monitor column (the first with my byline ran 10 years ago this week), both it and I were relatively recent additions to the paper – the column as basically a repository for press releases put out by media watchdog groups and I as a staff writer with a longtime interest in the way the media work.

My intention from the start was to turn the column into a highly personal, vigorously argued, take-no-prisoners vehicle of press criticism – one that would articulate the views of those who felt marginalized by a news media grown increasingly elitist and defiantly liberal. In time, the column expanded its range of targets, taking on various political and communal figures in addition to the usual array of media suspects.

Everyone and everything was fair game – current and former Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman, Edgar Bronfman, Henry Siegman and the late Nahum Goldmann; politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Joseph Lieberman, Jimmy Carter, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo (who called to angrily complain about a column that quoted him linking terrorist attacks against Americans to U.S. support of Israel); Jerrold Nadler, Barack Obama and John McCain (who responded almost immediately to a column razzing him for comments he allegedly made to Haaretz); and media personalities like Dan Rather, the late Peter Jennings, Mike Wallace, Matt Lauer, Pete Hamill, Phil Donahue, Patrick Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, Robert Novak, and of course The New York Times – always The New York Times.

* * * * *

Of the Times, the distinguished author (and long-ago Times film critic) Renata Adler has written (I’ve used this quote in more than one column):

“For years readers have looked in the Times for what was once its unsurpassed strength: the uninflected coverage of the news. You can look and look, now, and you will not find it there. Some politically correct series and group therapy reflections on race relations perhaps….But nothing a reader can trust anymore….Certainly no reliable, uninflected coverage of anything, least of all the news.”

One of my earliest Monitor columns concerned Times foreign affairs columnist and former Middle East correspondent Thomas Friedman who, I wrote, “presents himself as someone basically sympathetic to Israel but with a distinct preference for Labor over Likud.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that Friedman has a history of supporting Palestinian ‘aspirations’ and criticizing Israeli policies that goes back to at least the mid-1970′s, several years before the Likud first came to power.”

Friedman, I noted, “as much as admitted, in his 1989 bestseller From Beirut to Jerusalem, that he allowed his dislike of Menachem Begin and opposition to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to affect the tone of his dispatches from Lebanon. Remember, these events occurred while he was a reporter supposedly gatheringnews, not a pundit paid to give his personal views.”

But Friedman was a mere piker in his antipathy toward Israel when compared with Deborah Sontag, who served as the Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief in the late 1990′s and was the featured attraction in many of those early Monitor columns.

Space permits but one example of Sontag’s routinely skewered reporting. Referring to a 2001 dispatch by Sontag, I wrote: “On February 14, this is how Sontag opened her front-page piece on the Arab bus driver who the day before rammed his vehicle into a bus stop, killing eight Israelis: ‘After years of shuttling Gazan laborers into Israel without incident, a Palestinian bus driver who passed a strict Israeli security clearance just two weeks ago veered wildly off course today with deadly consequences.’ “

Sontag, I continued, “makes it appear as if the poor soul might simply have lost control of the steering wheel. Yasir Arafat, whose initial reaction to the incident was to shrug it off as just another ‘road accident,’ couldn’t have put it better.”

I contrasted Sontag’s writing with that of the Boston Globe’s Vivienne Walt (“A Palestinian driver slammed a bus into a crowd of young Israeli soldiers outside Tel Aviv yesterday, killing eight people. It was the deadliest attack on Israelis since 1997″) and even the Independent’s Phil Reeves, usually a vehement critic of Israel, who described “a Palestinian bus driver who saw no need for bombs or bullets but used his own vehicle as his weapon, crashing it into a crowd waiting at a bus stop and popular hitchhiking post.”

* * * * *

Jordan’s King Hussein died in February 1999 and journalists fell all over themselves praising him as a man of peace and principle.

Appalled at such historical amnesia, I wrote, “Nearly forgotten in the rush to sanctify Hussein was the scorn that had come his way over the years for such behavior as his constant double-dealing in relations with Israel, the U.S. and his fellow Arabs; his allowing the desecration of Jewish holy places when Jordan had possession of East Jerusalem (gravestones of Jews were used as latrines in army camps, and dozens of synagogues were demolished or turned into stables and chicken coops); and his support of Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War coupled with his circumvention of the U.S.-led blockade of Iraq.”

I was particularly taken aback by the usually sensible Daily News columnist Richard Chesnoff, who unashamedly delivered up this sugary tribute to the departed king: “Now this great son of the desert is gone, and all the children of Abraham weep. We will sorely miss this brave brother of ours.”

* * * * *

When Seth Lipsky – who would go on to found the New York Sun as an intelligent, well-written conservative alternative to The New York Times – was forced to leave the English weekly Forward, the paper he essentially founded and then nurtured through the 1990′s, I wrote:

“The commissars of the Forward Association never much cared for the subversive tendencies exhibited by Seth Lipsky – subversive in the sense of his apparent inability to recite by rote the dreary, discredited dogma of the socialist left.

“And so news of Lipsky’s ouster as editor of the English-language Forward comes as hardly a shock to anyone acquainted with the mindset of those who think of God as a labor unionist and Moses as His first shop steward.”

I added that while “Lipsky describes himself as a neoconservative, theForwardunder his watch was by no stretch of the imagination a conservative publication. News coverage was expansive and balanced, and editorials usually came down squarely on the liberal side of the political spectrum (including endorsements of Mayor Dinkins in 1993 and President Clinton in 1992 and 1996).

But Lipsky drew the line at parroting the party line of the Yiddish-speaking socialists – a species nearly extinct in America everywhere outside of perhaps a few Miami Beach condos and the Forward building in Manhattan – and for this he was viewed as a reactionary by detractors whose ideological forebears would no doubt have condemned him as an ‘enemy of the people.’ “

* * * * *

The news in early August 2000 that Al Gore had selected Joe Lieberman as his vice-presidential running mate electrified Jews everywhere – even those who had no intention of voting for the Democratic ticket, with or without Lieberman on it.

But within days of his selection, the moderately liberal Connecticut senator began pandering to ultra-liberal party activists, and it wasn’t an edifying spectacle.

“If you happen to come across a backbone lying around somewhere,” I wrote at the time, “chances are it belongs to Joseph Lieberman, who lost his shortly after signing on as Al Gore’s running mate. At least that’s what many of the nation’s pundits were sayingas the Connecticut senator backpedaled, prevaricated and obfuscated his way through the Democratic National Convention.

One of the quotes I cited was from then-New York Post columnist Sid Zion, who wrote, “Don’t let [Lieberman's] yarmulke fool you.His Senate record reveals a man who has trimmed his sails more than a little to satisfy Bill Clinton and his pro-Palestinian Jewish advisers in the State Department and National Security Council.”

Lieberman’s flip-flops and sudden desire to make nice with the likes of Pat Buchanan and Louis Farrakhan had, as Zion put it, “made some Jews stop kvelling in their tractates over the first Jew to make a major-party national ticket.”

* * * * *

The way most of the media told it, the election in early 2001 of Ariel Sharon as Israeli prime minister was a catastrophe of historic proportions. One of my columns focused on the reaction in England, “where,” I wrote, “raw and unvarnished anti-Israel bias in much of the mainstream press is as reliable as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Reuters predictably headlined a post-election report ‘Sharon Win Casts Pall Over Mideast Peace Prospects,’ as if all was well until the former general showed up to spoil the fun.

“But the Reuters headline paled in comparison to this outrage from London’s left-wing Guardian: ‘Israel Gives Up On Peace With Sharon Victory.’That headline was only the appetizer to the story that followed – a witch’s brew of anti-Israel slop cooked up by Jerusalem correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg (you expected a Smith or a Jones?), whose lead paragraph immediately got to the point: ‘Israel,’ she wrote, ‘yielded to the dark fears unleashed by a Palestinian uprising yesterday, voting by a staggering margin to entrust their future to a man famous for making war, Ariel Sharon.’

“Same day, same paper: Jonathan Freedland (still no Smith or Jones) began his analysis of the Israeli election with this comparison: ‘It’s as shocking as if Jean-Marie Le Pen had become president of France, or Ian Paisley ruled over Northern Ireland.’ “

* * * * *

Not surprisingly, several Media Monitor columns dealt with the late Peter Jennings, whose anti-Israel spin, delivered night after night from the ABC anchor desk, was unmistakable to anyone other than his colleagues and those who shared his bias (but I repeat myself).

As a young reporter based in Lebanon, Jennings, I wrote, “marinated himself in Arab society and culture.one of Jennings’s paramours in those days – he still speaks of her with great fondness – was the shrill Palestinian mouthpiece Hanan Ashrawi.After his first marriage broke up, Jennings married Anouchka Malouf, a Lebanese photographer with a Syrian mother and an Egyptian father. Through Anouchka, wrote Robert and Gerald Jay Goldberg in their 1990 book Anchors, “Jennings was immersed in the local [Beirut] community in a much deeper way than most journalists.”

Here, from a 2002 broadcast, is a typical Jennings opening: “Good evening everyone. We’re going to begin in the Middle East tonight where the U.S. has so much at stake. The Israelis have been on the attack again against the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.”

* * * * *

It’s hardly news that Israel has more than its share of hard left journalists whose ill will toward their own country rivals and in many cases surpasses the animosity of even Israel’s severest foreign critics.

Arguably the worst of the worst is Amira Hass, who (naturally) writes for Haaretz and of whom I wrote, “Unlike her fellow Israeli leftists who satisfy the dark places in their souls by vilifying their country and countrymen from deep inside the Green Line, less than a stone’s throw from the faux Eurotrash atmosphere of their favorite Tel Aviv nightspots, Hass chooses to live among Palestinians, the people whose cause she champions as her own.

“Hass, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, [makes] her home in the Palestinian town of Ramallah, a locale that any normal Jew would consider one of the most inhospitable on earth. Before moving to Ramallah she spent three years living in Gaza, an experience she recounted in loving detail in her memoir Drinking the Sea at Gaza.

“Far from harboring the slightest worry for her safety, Hass basks in the warm welcome she says the Palestinians have extended her. ‘The longer I live [among the Palestinians], the more secure I feel,’ she once told a reporter fromLe Monde.”

* * * * *

Amira Hass is nothing if not the ideological progeny of Uri Avnery, the grand old man of the Israeli left. When Yasir Arafat died in 2004, Avnery eulogized him as one of history’s great men and said his passing bore “a great similarity to the death of Moses, who removed a people from slavery and led its march to freedom for 40 years, almost exactly like Arafat.”

It was with Avneri in mind that I created the Schwarzschild Award – named for Henry Schwarzschild, a leftist lawyer who, when the Israeli army surrounded Beirut in 1982, very publicly renounced Israel and literally declared himself its enemy – to annually recognize a prominent Jew who, in my opinion, had by his or her statements done harm to Jews and Israel.

Winners subsequent to Avneri have been the ADL’s Abraham Foxman, Tikkun magazine publisher Michael Lerner, and Haaretz editor David Landau.

* * * * *

Though I don’t necessarily share Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s famous credo “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me,” my column by necessity is relentlessly negative in tone. But there have been occasional grace notes – George F. Will, Cal Thomas, and the late William F. Buckley are just some of the pundits of whom I’ve had nice things to say.

A politician who came in for appreciative treatment on several occasions was former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, never more so than in a 2005 column on Giuliani’s removal, ten years earlier, of Yasir Arafat from a Lincoln Center concert marking the UN’s fiftieth anniversary. The city’s political and Jewish establishments were appalled at Giuliani’s effrontery.

“Hours before getting the heave-ho from the Lincoln Center event,” I wrote, “Arafat had met in Manhattan with about 100 prominent American Jews. ‘[Arafat's] got a very good sense of humor, by the way,” said Israel Levine – described by The New York Times as ‘a spokesman for many Jewish organizations’ – of the man responsible for the murder of more Jews than anyone since Hitler and Stalin.

“The aforementioned Israel Levine may have loved Arafat’s sense of humor, but Rudy Giuliani found nothing amusing about the Palestinian terror chief. And that’s the difference between real leadership and Jewish leadership.”

* * * * *

Given the space limitations of even a longer format, I was unable to highlight nearly as many old Media Monitor snippets as I would have liked. Anyway, it’s almost impossible to get the full flavor of the columns from anything other than lengthy extracts. Most of the columns dating back to mid-2001 are archived on www.jewishpress.com, for those who are interested.

The Truman Diary

Friday, August 15th, 2003

As is evident from this week’s Media Monitor, readers of The Jewish Press should not be shocked by the revelation of President Harry S. Truman’s anti-Jewish statements discovered in a 1947 diary (“The Jews, I find are very, very selfish….”) We’ve seen this movie before. On the other hand, writing in Monday’s Washington Post, columnist Richard Cohen had this to say: “I confess to shock at what Truman secretly wrote in 1947.”

But more important, Cohen and some of the others who similarly professed surprise in print
also went on to obscure an important point. Cohen represented them thusly:

I am tempted to say the remark is unforgivable, but this was the very same President who bucked the State Department and recognized the State of Israel. He did so with some reluctance, but he later declared it one of the most important and satisfying decisions of his presidency.

Truman instructs. The contemporary world is unforgiving of the blurted remark, the tossed-off opinion. We make little distinction between the private thought and the public action – between secretly acknowledging prejudice and refraining from acting on it. We believe it’s the psyche or soul that counts.

No Mr. Cohen, et al. It is positively scary that someone who rose to the Presidency of the United States thought in stereotypes. No one denies that Richard Nixon’s personal intervention really saved the day for Israel in 1973. Yet on the famous White House tapes, he was recorded as having spoken of the government attorneys who questioned his 1972
campaign treasurer, Maurice Stans, as complaining that “those Jew lawyers at the SEC
were all over Stans.”

The momentary outburst may be overshadowed by an inconsistent course of conduct. But it says something about our political system that our highest official could harbor such primitive perceptions.

Foolish To Frightening

Thursday, May 1st, 2003
A couple of recent items from the Web, noted by the Monitor with more than passing interest: Want a prime example of that which passes for liberal thinking in 2003? Take a gander at this bit of swill penned by Anne Lamott, enlightened columnist for the impossibly anti-Bush web magazine Salon.com(note Ms. Lamott’s moral arrogance coupled with an inability to make distinctions – always a lethal combination):”I am going to pray for George Bush’s heart to change, so that he begins to want to be a part of the human family. He really doesn’t want to gather at the table with G-d’s other children, because he might have to sit with someone he hates. Iraqi soldiers, or someone like me.

“I really, really know this feeling. It is something he and I have in common. But I don’t think Bush believes that all people deserve to be fed, and I do. Pretty much. He believes in serving the poor, if they are the deserving poor. But I am going to pray for him to be OK today, to feel loved, and to be fed, because I think that if you want to change the way you feel about someone, you have to change the way you treat them.

“I’m going to try to treat him better. Maybe I will send him a little something; socks perhaps, or felt pens. Or balloons. He’s family. I hate this, because he is a dangerous member of the family, like a Klansman. To me, his policies deal death and destruction, and maybe I can’t exactly forgive him right now, in the classical sense, of canceling my resentment and judgment. But I can at least acknowledge that he gets to eat, too….”

And to think that a human being can walk around with this kind of stuff bouncing around inside her head and still think of herself as someone whose views deserve serious consideration. (Then again, the people at Salon obviously think Ms. Lamott deserves a hearing since she does get paid for her efforts by the perpetually cash-strapped website.)

On an altogether different note, one of the more frightening things the Monitor has recently come across is a piece by Deanne Stillman on Slate.com called “Uncle Sam’s Jihadists.” Referring to the March 23 attack by Sgt. Asan Akbar on his fellow U.S. soldiers at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait, which resulted in two deaths and 14 injuries, Stillman writes:

“The episode is unsettling for a number of reasons, most of all because it exposes a fact about our military that commanders have tried their best to ignore: the presence of radical, anti-American Muslims in the ranks. Akbar, a convert to Islam, reportedly said when he was captured: “You guys are coming into our countries and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.” It’s increasingly clear that there is a small group of soldiers for whom anti-American fatwas issued in mosques around the world supersede the oath of loyalty they took to their nation.”

Stillman reports that there are anywhere between 4,000 and 15,000 Muslims in the U.S. military. (More precise figures are hard to come by.) Some are Muslim by birth while many others – mostly African American – are converts. Though there’s no reason to question the loyalty of most Muslim soldiers, writes Stillman, “Akbar’s alleged fragging and other recent incidents suggest that some Muslim soldiers have been radicalized. There are even indications that some may be infiltrating the military in order to undermine it.”

Stillman recounts several recent incidents that would seem to point to increased radicalization of Muslim soldiers, including the case of the alleged “Beltway Sniper,” former Army Sgt. John Allen Muhammed, and that of Jeffrey Leon Battle, a black American Muslim and former
Army reservist arrested in Portland on suspicion of ties to Al Qaeda.

“According to the Justice Department,” writes Stillman, Battle “planned to wage war against Americans in Afghanistan and may have joined the Army Reserves in order to learn how to kill Americans.”

Most troubling about Stillman’s article is the realization that the increased radicalization of at least some Muslim-American soldiers has thus far been met with an inexplicable complacency. “Even after the arrests” of Muhammad and others, she writes, “alarm over jihadists with American military backgrounds has not been widely sounded.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com 

They’re Coming Out Of The Woodwork

Wednesday, March 12th, 2003

The sequel to our column two weeks ago on Joe Lieberman will remain in storage for another few weeks while the Monitor addresses issues of somewhat more pressing concern.

The Jan. 31 issue of The Jewish Press carried an opinion column by Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder titled “Time to Threaten Arabs With Mass Eviction.” The piece suggested that, given the unrelenting terror attacks against Israelis and the obvious unwillingness of Palestinians to reach a negotiated settlement with Israel, perhaps it was time for the Israeli government to consider the option of moving out a large and hostile enemy population.

The newspaper received a couple of letters in response to the piece, one of which was published in the issue of Feb. 7. But then, quite suddenly, a cluster of e-mails arrived late last week which were uniformly hostile to Israel, many of them bordering – if not worse – on outright anti-Semitism. Most were filled with historical inaccuracies and spouted the all-too familiar cliches of the anti-Israel Left.

Not a few of the letter-writers accused Mason and Felder of calling for the extermination of Palestinians, though of course they advocated nothing of the kind. Others insisted that Mason and Felder were pushing “genocide,” explaining that the term included the mass transfer of populations. Still others charged that Israel was presently engaged in the extermination or genocide of the Palestinian people.

A number of letters quoted from the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, according to which the crime is not limited to the wide-scale killing of a particular ethnic, national or religious group, but encompasses such actions as “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”; “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”; “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”; and “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The last time the Monitor checked (which was about two hours before this column went to press), the dictionary definition of “genocide” was considerably more precise – and limited.

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: “The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.”

Cambridge International Dictionary of English: “The murder of a whole group of people, esp. a whole nation, race, religious group, etc.”

Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus: “Mass murder, esp. among particular race or nation.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.”

In other words, according to just about every accepted meaning of the term, Mason and Felder are totally innocent of the ludicrous charge hurled at them by the left-wing haters who wrote in. But ludicrous charges are a stock-in-trade of that crowd, as evidenced by their repeated comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and the IDF to the SS and the Wehrmacht.

As the e-mails began piling up, it became obvious that this was some kind of organized campaign. There was the afore-mentioned time lapse between the column’s appearance and the sudden spurt of letters, the identical points that were being made, the similarity of language in many of the letters and the fact that one particular paragraph was constantly quoted from
the Mason/Felder column.

A little investigation confirmed our suspicion: a website called The Electronic Intifada had alerted its stooges to the column about a week after the issue of The Jewish Press containing the Mason/Felder column had hit the streets. A couple of paragraphs from the column were highlighted (including the one quoted by many of those who contacted us), as was the wide-ranging definition of genocide cited above. And, of course, the website listed an e-mail address for The Jewish Press and urged all properly outraged parties to make their feelings known.

Always partial to the adage “Know thine enemy,” the Monitor next week will provide readers with a taste of those feelings.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Bitter Old Man(dela)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003

The Monitor will return to the subject of Joe Lieberman (or Senator Twister, as we’ve renamed him) next week; after all – and here we’re paraphrasing the Sage of Saddle River, the late and lamented Dick Nixon – we will have Joe to kick around for the foreseeable future.

Nelson Mandela, on the other hand, deserves prompt attention. Mandela, who upon his release from a South African prison more than a decade ago was transformed by the media from a Marxist terrorist into a living saint, has loosed a verbal attack on President Bush and the United States so vicious in its tone and content that it stunned even many of his usually oblivious admirers.

A popular figure among American liberals (Jewish liberals in particular used to speak of him in tones approaching rapture, never more so than when in the company of African-Americans they were trying to impress), Mandela will never feel the wrath of the intelligentsia for anything he says or does; his pigmentation and his politics are all the protective armor he needs.

That Mandela is an unrepentant leftist with a soft spot for Third World dictators and Middle East despots is hardly news. In Mandela’s fossilized mind, the future of mankind is to be divined by sitting at the feet of the philosopher kings ensconced in Havana and Ramallah and Tripoli. Constitutional democracy? Liberty? Free market economics? Who needs them when you’ve got the Communist Manifesto and the collected works of Noam Chomsky?

But even given the old commie’s longtime delusions, it was still a jarring experience to read what came out of his mouth last week. Not surprising, but jarring. Following are some of the highlights from his speech to the International Women’s Forum.

On Bush: “One power with a president who has no fore sight and cannot think properly is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. Why is the U.S. behaving so arrogantly? All that [Bush] wants is Iraqi oil.”

On Tony Blair: “He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime minister of Britain.”

On the U.S.: “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”

Mandela reiterated his views in an interview with Newsweek in which he accused President Bush of wanting a war with Iraq “to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America.”

Mandela told Newsweek that no evidence had been produced to support the claim that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but mentioned his concern about another country’s war-making capabilities.

“But what we know,” he said, “is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody mentions that.”

One of the more perceptive takes on Mandela appeared this week on the American Prowler website (Americanprowler.org), written by George Neumayr. “The media” wrote Neumayr, “have conveniently forgotten that Mandela was a hard-core Communist. He drank deeply at the well of anti-American Communist theory, and it has never left his system.

“Those astonished at his apologetics for Saddam Hussein – “Israel has weapons of mass destruction” but Hussein doesn’t, according to Mandela – should remember that he has played defense for madmen and thugs before. His ramshackle South African government maintained ties with Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi. And long before that, he was responsible for a pamphlet called “How To Be A Good Communist” in which he praised the genius of Marx, Lenin and Stalin.

“America was one of the capitalist countries Mandela wanted the Soviets to trample. “The cause of Communism is the greatest and most arduous cause in the history of mankind,” the pamphlet stated.”

No wonder that with the Soviet Union gone and the United States still standing as the world’s lone superpower, Mandela sounds like a bitter old man staring senility in the face.

“Thankfully,” wrote Neumayr, “Bush isn’t taking him seriously. It is too bad that the world still does.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com 

Lieberman Gave A Thousand Dollars To Whom?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2003
When five-term Alabama congressman Earl Hilliard, widely considered one of Israel’s most implacable foes on Capitol Hill, was defeated in a Democratic primary last June, the news was greeted with unconcealed glee by pro-Israel organizations and activists across the country – many of whom had worked hard to unseat him.Observers on both sides agreed that one of the principle reasons for Hilliard’s loss at the hands of challenger Artur Davis was the unprecedented level of financial aid that flowed into Davis’s campaign coffers from out-of-state pro-Israel Jews. (Indeed, after the primary a bitter Hilliard warned of a “future with a great deal of conflict between African Americans and Jews in this country” and even hinted that there would be “retribution” for his defeat.)

There was, however, at least one Jew – a prominent Jew at that, and one who comes advertised as both “observant” and staunchly pro-Israel – who gave his money not to Artur Davis, but to the anti-Israel Hilliard, in the form of a $1,000 check. That Jew was Joe Lieberman, friend of Pat Buchanan, admirer of Louis Farrakhan, joking buddy of Al Sharpton, and, now we know, supporter of Earl Hilliard.

News of Lieberman’s gift to Hilliard surfaced last May 9 in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call but was generally ignored by other news outlets. “On a single day, March 27, Lieberman’s Responsibility, Opportunity, Community PAC cut 22 separate checks to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as Hispanic House candidates,” reported Roll Call’s Paul Kane.

Gearing up for a possible presidential run, Lieberman, wrote Kane, was “trying to maintain the inroads he made [as a vice-presidential candidate in 2000] to the more progressive wing of the party….Reps. Earl Hilliard and Jesse Jackson Jr., for instance, hold strikingly different views than Lieberman on U.S. support for Israel. Both recipients of $1,000 checks from Lieberman in March, Hilliard and Jackson voted last week against a nonbinding resolution
supporting Israel in its battle with Palestinian suicide bombers, a resolution that Lieberman sponsored in the Senate.”

The story pretty much died on arrival, but it’s been revived in the Jan. 27 issue of The Weekly Standard, courtesy of Stephen F. Hayes, a staff writer at the magazine, who fleshes out some of the detail missing from the Roll Call piece.

“Last spring,” writes Hayes, “as he waited for Al Gore to decide whether to make another bid for the White House, Lieberman telephoned Eddie Bernice Johnson, then head of the Congressional Black Caucus, to ask which caucus members he might support with his PAC. She gave him a list of CBC members thought to be most vulnerable, and Lieberman contributed to almost 20 of them. Among his contributions was a $1,000 check to the reelection effort of Rep. Earl Hilliard of Alabama.

“Hilliard had a long record of hostility to Israel. He refused to sign a resolution in support of Israel’s war on terrorism, and sponsored a bill, after September 11, that would have lifted
sanctions on states that sponsor terrorism. Columnist Cynthia Tucker called Hilliard “a loose cannon, a dimwit, and perhaps a crook’ who ‘gained a reputation for trying to persuade his colleagues to vote against pro-Israeli initiatives.”….”

Hayes points out that Lieberman’s aides say the check was cut in late March, before Hilliard’s primary campaign degenerated into a nasty fight over Mideast policy. But Lieberman’s critics, writes Hayes, “say the Hilliard contribution is one example of just how far Lieberman is willing to go to win support among black politicians and voters.”

The latter criticism, of course, extends to Lieberman’s positioning on a whole host of issues and policies, and so next week the Monitor will take a further look at the man whose rather astonishing ideological dexterity suggests he must play a mean game of that old party favorite, Twister. Hmmm…Senator Twister. The Monitor likes that.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Media Misreport Anti-War Rally

Wednesday, February 19th, 2003
Anyone who still doubts the mainstream media?s left-wing bias should study the coverage of last Saturday’s anti-war rally in Washington. Even as jaded a media watcher as the Monitor finds it difficult to recall an event as outlandishly whitewashed, as outrageously skewed, as this one was by print and electronic journalists clearly sympathetic to the demonstrators.The indispensable Media Research Center transcribed several blatant examples of dishonest reporting of a march that, as MRC’s Brent Baker put it, “was organized by a far-left group, had a bunch of zany leftist outfits as sponsors, featured some far-out rhetoric from the stage which belied the notion that the organizers simply want a peaceful solution, and ended with a march to the Washington Navy Yard to demand access to U.S. weapons of mass destruction.”

And yet, writes Baker, “major media outlets, both print and broadcast, ignored such realities which might have reduced empathy for the cause.”

Following are portions of Baker’s report (the full text of which can be viewed at www.mrc.org (Cyber Alert Vol. Eight, No. 11, Jan. 20, 2003):

Hardly a word from the stage got aired as the networks preferred to focus on the most normal looking people in the crowd. On stage, Ramsey Clark demanded Bush be impeached and one speaker even described convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as “a political prisoner.”

“Braving frigid temperatures,” ABC’s Lisa Sylvester proclaimed on Saturday’s World News Tonight, “they traveled across the country – black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old.” In a second January 18 story, ABC News reporter Geoff Morrell followed the trip to DC by a doctor and his “honor student” daughter: “So they rode a bus all night from Asheville, North Carolina. On board were businessmen, soccer moms and military veterans – all members of the same church.”

The night before, despite the fact polls show overwhelming public support for President Bush’s policy, Peter Jennings insisted that “the nation, as we all know, is somewhat divided and confused about attacking Iraq, you see it in almost every poll.” That led into a piece by Bill Blakemore previewing the next day?s protest: “Never mind the cold, they’re going to protest. Democrats and Republicans. Many middle-aged. From all walks of life.”The website for the rally organizer, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), clearly proclaimed the group’s very radical agenda to eliminate U.S. defenses and claim that the U.S. under Bush poses the greatest danger to the world, but none of that anti-American vitriol was conveyed in any television network story I saw.

CNN, noon EST: [Correspondent] Kathleen Koch declared live from Washington’s Mall that “perhaps some of the people in the crowd, some of the Americans who have come from great distances who have the most poignant stories.”

Koch went to a pre-taped piece: “A Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home where peace protesters gather waiting to head to Washington. But only one truly understands war’s grim realities.”

Ava Cutler: “And I’m not afraid to speak out, because this is why I came to this country,
to speak my mind if I have to.”

Koch: “Seventy-six-year-old Ava Cutler was a Jewish teenager in Budapest, Hungary when her country was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1944.”

Cutler: “We’re being besieged day by day, night by night, constantly we were being bombarded. There are no winners in wars, there are only losers, and we have to find a different way of how to deal with differences….”

A 1,500-word article in Sunday’s Washington Post contained a single nine-word quote from an official speaker while a 1,000-word New York Times article failed to quote a syllable from the DC stage….[Washington Post] reporters Manny Fernandez and Justin Blum quoted a mere nine words uttered from the stage, an innocuous-sounding comment from Jesse Jackson: – “The world is cold, but our hearts are warm,” Jesse Jackson told the crowd to applause.”

That was…the totality of what Post readers learned about what the official speakers had to say as the reporters focused on what people in the crowd told them.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-79/2003/02/19/

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