With Judge Richard Goldstone's recent sort-of recantation of the most incendiary charge leveled against Israel in the 2009 report to the United Nations that will forever bear his name, much has been made of the damage done by that document to Israel's standing in the court of international public opinion.
We left off last week in the midst of the 1972 presidential campaign, one of the more interesting in terms of Jewish voting behavior. On one hand you had the incumbent, Republican Richard Nixon, whose relationship with Israel during his first term was quite solid; on the other you had his Democratic challenger, South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, a leading dove on Vietnam with a not especially inspiring record on Israel.
Harper's, the literary magazine founded in 1850 and celebrated in its early years for featuring the works of Herman Melville, Henry James and Mark Twain, has for most of its history been an insomniac's delight - a snooze-inducing bore found mainly in the waiting rooms of doctors who hope to impress patients with a little bit of culture-by-association.
Next week the Monitor will examine aspects of the media coverage of Israel’s war on Hizbullah. This week, we take a stroll down memory lane, revisiting an early Monitor column from October 1998 (yes, the Monitor’s been around for nearly eight years now). The piece was titled “The Times Reverts To Old Hab-its,” and its conclusions should be kept in mind as one reads the paper’s editorials on the current fighting:
Americans never seem to tire of Richard Nixon, the man who strode the nation’s political stage for three decades, as congressman, senator, vice president and president, only to see his career come crashing down when his involvement in the Watergate scandal led to his resignation – the only U.S. president to so step down – in order to avoid certain impeachment.
Would it be a tad tasteless for the Monitor to break into a hearty chorus of 'Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead' at the welcome news that Deborah Sontag is soon to vacate her post as New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief?
Of the writing of baseball books there is no end. Of the writing of good baseball books there is not nearly enough. For every The Glory of Their Times or Ball Four or The Boys of Summer or Baseball’s Great Experiment, there are hundreds and hundreds of instantly forgettable hack jobs, clip jobs and ghost jobs.
When Gen. David Petraeus was portrayed last month as having made statements suggesting that America’s support of Israel was imperiling the lives of U.S. soldiers, the usual anti-Israel suspects had a field day on blogs and websites. Turns out, though, that the general didn’t quite say what was being attributed to him.
Over the years, two Jewish journalists - Thomas Friedman and Mike Wallace - have been the subject of particularly intense vituperation in the letters and e-mails received by the Monitor, and both gentlemen have been scrutinized here on several occasions. One of the most popular columns, in terms of reader response, was a July 2002 piece on Wallace - actually, it was part of a series on Wallace the Monitor ran that summer - which looked at the possible genesis of his troubling attitude toward Israel.
The common lament from the smugly high-minded is that the media’s fascination with polls gives too much weight to the horse race aspect of a campaign, at the expense of the important and weighty discussions of policy for which voters presumably hunger. The Monitor says: Give us more of the horse race!
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.
Last year the Monitor proffered readers a list of books for summer reading that was, it must be said, several intellectual notches above the usual beach-and-bungalow fare. The theme of that list was U.S. presidents. This year’s theme, naturally, is especially close to the Monitor’s heart – the news media.
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.
Al Gore has been in the news again, and even some of his biggest admirers are upset with Gore’s decision to sell his Current TV cable network to Al Jazeera, which is owned by the oil-rich Islamic monarchy of Qatar, for $500 million.
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 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.
Regular readers know by now of the Monitor's high regard for the Media Research Center (www.mrc.org).
It's been raining rumor and myth since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. And though most of the so-called urban legends that now abound on the Internet and even make an appearance or two in mainstream news outlets are easily dispelled by their very outlandishness, there are some that just won't go away.
The Media Research Center is out with its annual Best Notable Quotables in recognition of the most biased, outrageous, or unintentionally humorous media quotes from December 2008 through November 2009.
Sam Ehrenhalt no doubt would have thought it ironic that The New York Times gave him such a laudatory send-off a few days after he passed away on May 31 at age 83.
Hold the presses for an unusual burst of candor from Newsweek assistant managing Editor Evan Thomas. "The incredible alarm everybody has about how Bush should have known - all of that is baloney," Thomas acknowledged last weekend on the panel discussion program "Inside Washington."
The Monitor’s recent listing of worthwhile books on the media brought in a number of interesting responses, with many readers sharing their own favorites – several of which probably should have been included among the recommended titles and possibly will be in a future column on the subject.
It seems like such a long time ago that lefty writers were pushing the line that not only is there no liberal bias in the media, but in fact it's conservatives who have a disproportionate influence on the public discourse. Actually, it's been a mere couple of years since liberals tried making that preposterous case, largely as a reaction to former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg's surprise bestseller Bias, an insider's account of how liberal assumptions and prejudices shape the way the mainstream media present the news.
The letters just keep coming in response to the Enemies List column and its follow-up. The responses by and large have been friendly in tone, with the majority of respondents agreeing on all or most of the names submitted by their fellow readers. And then there was this, from an e-mail submitted by some mammal identified as Rashid Monsour:
Two weeks ago, in a column on Jewish voting patterns, the Monitor pointed to the 1984 electionas evidence "that a Republican presidential candidate, whether incumbent or challenger and no matter how strong his record on Israel, will always lose among Jewish voters when the alternative is a liberal Democrat without any pronounced or well-known hostility to Israel."