Chas Freeman has generated virtually no news coverage in major newspapers or other news outlets. Whatever has been written has been confined to the opinion pages and blogs. I have yet to see a single cable or network news piece on the subject. One might think news reporters who cover politics and foreign affairs would be interested in the same information that CONTENTIONS contributor Jamie Kirchick discusses in his must-read column in Politico today. One would think this information might be worthy of exploration by those reporters ordinarily so curious about conflicts of interest and the influences swirling around Foggy Bottom:
The elevation of Freeman provides welcome opportunity for a debate about a lobby, one just as well-financed and professionally staffed as the groups that support America’s strong relationship with Israel — that is, the one shilling for the House of Saud. While a pro-Saudi Arabia lobby does not enjoy nearly the same level of domestic support as the pro-Israel lobby (primarily because Saudi Arabia, unlike Israel, does things like behead homosexuals, ban women from driving and outlaw the practice of Christianity), the Saudis — and the Gulf states in general — have far more sympathizers in high-level positions in the State Department than does Israel, which is, and always has been, friendless at Foggy Bottom.
Or, as Jonathan Chait explains, there is plenty to explore when it comes to the re-emergence of Stephen Walt as booster of the administration.
Imagine if George Bush had appointed someone with views as noxious as Freeman’s – who had impugned the loyalty of other Americans, benefited by the largess of a foreign power, and questioned whether America didn’t share the blame for 9-11. One would expect phrases like “bizarre” or “astoundingly controversial” to greet the appointment, followed by coverage of the “firestorm” and “outrage.”
And yet the major news outlets turn a blind eye. Perhaps, like the New York Times, which chose to ignore Reverend Wright’s rantings for weeks, the MSM would rather not raise the curious story of Chas Freeman. It is not the role of the media to cover for the president’s egregious missteps, you say? Well, welcome to the media in the Age of Obama. Not even an appointment as bizarre as Freeman nor the controversy it has engendered is worth a story — because that might start the public buzzing over what a shill for the House of Saud, an Israel-basher, and apologist for Chinese thuggery is doing in an administration as high-minded as this one.
UPDATE: I should note that the Washington Times, unlike the Post, covered the appointment with an informative news report last week.