Today’s Jerusalem Post editorial brought to mind the late, great David Bar-Illan. A concert pianist and longtime contributor to COMMENTARY, Bar-Illan joined the Jerusalem Post in 1990 as editorial page editor and soon inaugurated a column called Eye on the Media. The point was to expose media bias against Israel, and the response from some of our co-workers at the paper (where I was then employed) was less than enthusiastic.
I caught David in the hall after one of his first columns appeared. As we chatted, an oh-so-helpful colleague approached him with a scowl and waving a finger at him declared, “Come the revolution, they’re going to string you up!” I was shocked. David smiled and replied, “I’m right here, I’m waiting.”
At the time, methodically pointing out that major media outlets were peddling falsehoods and distorting the truth because of their anti-Israel bias wasn’t exactly mainstream. David was considered a hard-line, right wing hawk and his focus on the media was viewed by many as nothing so much as anti-Left fanaticism.
Today, The Jerusalem Post has another David at the helm but editor David Horovitz isn’t a right-winger by any stretch of the imagination (I worked for him too at the Jerusalem Report). Horovitz is a Zionist, though, and he obviously recognizes that the scourge of anti-Israel bias in the news media is so serious it must be exposed and denounced. Indeed, choosing the worst example of anti-Israel reporting for the editorial must have been a real chore. Mike McNally goes so far as to praise Israel for keeping journos out of Gaza.
Clearly the problem Bar-Illan exposed nearly 20 years ago has gotten so bad that now even liberal members of the Israeli media can see the truth. Is that an improvement over bitter denial?
Either way, we miss you David Bar-Illan.