Commentary Magazine


Posts For: April 17, 2013

Can the Left Stand Up Against Anti-Semites?

We don’t normally pay much attention to what is published in Tikkun magazine, let alone what its editor Michael Lerner disseminates through his email list. But occasionally Lerner’s tirades shine a light on the positions of the far left that illustrate exactly where some of Israel’s critics stand in a way that makes clear how they have made common cause with those who seek the Jewish state’s destruction.

In his latest email to readers, Lerner highlights what he claims is the latest instance of pro-Israel activists seeking to suppress free speech in both academia and the Jewish community. The Tikkun guru cites the protest against the decision of San Jose State University to have an Iranian professor who is a bitter opponent of Israel’s existence to teach a seminar on “Israel/Palestine.” According to Lerner, the attempt to stop Professor Persis Karim from being the sole person in charge of teaching on this subject was unfair since he claims her only goal was to help students see both sides of the issue. But even a cursory examination of the record, which Lerner helpfully provided by including the protest letter organized by the Amcha Initiative, shows that Karim is an advocate for Israel’s destruction and supports the exclusion of Israelis from academic forums as well as the boycott of Israel. Lerner’s backing of Karim gives the lie to his effort to pose as merely a liberal supporter of the Jewish state.

Read More

We don’t normally pay much attention to what is published in Tikkun magazine, let alone what its editor Michael Lerner disseminates through his email list. But occasionally Lerner’s tirades shine a light on the positions of the far left that illustrate exactly where some of Israel’s critics stand in a way that makes clear how they have made common cause with those who seek the Jewish state’s destruction.

In his latest email to readers, Lerner highlights what he claims is the latest instance of pro-Israel activists seeking to suppress free speech in both academia and the Jewish community. The Tikkun guru cites the protest against the decision of San Jose State University to have an Iranian professor who is a bitter opponent of Israel’s existence to teach a seminar on “Israel/Palestine.” According to Lerner, the attempt to stop Professor Persis Karim from being the sole person in charge of teaching on this subject was unfair since he claims her only goal was to help students see both sides of the issue. But even a cursory examination of the record, which Lerner helpfully provided by including the protest letter organized by the Amcha Initiative, shows that Karim is an advocate for Israel’s destruction and supports the exclusion of Israelis from academic forums as well as the boycott of Israel. Lerner’s backing of Karim gives the lie to his effort to pose as merely a liberal supporter of the Jewish state.

It should be conceded that within the ranks of the far left universe in which he travels, Lerner has always been treated as somewhat suspect because of his refusal to join with those who explicitly call for Israel’s destruction and engage in anti-Semitic agitation. This is a point on which he takes great pride and he has often engaged in disputes with comrades who have sought to merge opposition to American foreign policy initiatives or hyper-liberal domestic causes with explicit anti-Zionism, if not open anti-Semitism. But even if we give him a bit of credit for that, the Karim protest exposes just how ridiculous his attempt to differentiate his brand of criticism of Israel from that of its open enemies has become.

As the Amcha Initiative’s letter to the president of San Jose State University protesting Karim states:

She signed a letter to President Obama falsely accusing Israel of “one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times” and supporting the elimination of the Jewish state.

She signed a statement by international writers and scholars endorsing an academic boycott of Israel, which U.S. State Department’s former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal has declared to be “anti-Semitic.”

She endorsed a petition to have an Israeli scholar ejected from an academic conference in Los Angeles, in solidarity with the academic boycott of Israel.  

In other words, the university is putting someone in charge of discussion of the Middle East completely committed to Israel’s destruction and a supporter of anti-Semitic measures that discriminate against Jews. The notion that such a person is capable of creating a space for open discussion is absurd. Far from promoting free and fair debate or scholarly inquiry, Karim’s appointment is a threat to academic freedom as well as a development that can be fairly construed as creating a hostile environment for Jewish students.

The pages of Tikkun have hosted debates about whether it is appropriate for liberal critics of Israeli policies to support boycotts of the Jewish state. Such a discussion treats the idea of waging economic warfare as a reasonable measure even though its purpose is to suppress Israeli democracy and to force it to bow to the demands of Islamist and terrorist foes that are seeking its destruction.

That Lerner considers Karim a reasonable authority on the Middle East speaks volumes about how divorced his worldview is from reality. But more than that, it demonstrates that the left-wing narrative about the right’s alleged “persecution” of liberal voices that Lerner and others claim has “silenced” Jewish critics of Israel is absurd.

There is nothing wrong with a diversity of views on Israeli policies. It is true the debate about Israel is often divisive and angry, though I would contend that stems more from the decision of some on the left to try to impose their views on Israelis as well as their unconscionable support of foreign pressure on its democratically elected government. Anyone who is aware of the left-leaning dynamic of American Jewish life knows the notion that Israel’s critics cower in fear against the tyranny of the right is comical. They are the darlings of the mainstream press and are more likely to be lionized by the media for their faux courage in joining the pack hounding Israel than ostracized.

But what is at stake here is not a dispute about where Israel’s borders should be, the wisdom of settlements or whether you like the people Israeli voters have put in office. It is whether the Jewish community is willing to stand up against those who wish to ostracize Jews, demonize Israel and wage war on it. Karim’s anti-Zionism is not a benign idea about which we can agree to disagree; it is a blatant form of discrimination against Jews with real life consequences. That Lerner, who has a long record of radical stands, has chosen to back this position ought to place him and those who agree with him beyond the pale. To do so is not an attack on free speech—since he is free to spout his bile in his magazine to his heart’s content—but a defense of the rights of Jews and Israel.

Contrary to Lerner’s claim, there is no way to support boycotts of Israelis or the campaign to wage economic war on it or to support its destruction without being co-opted into the ranks of such anti-Semites. This struggle is not a conservative cause but one that should unite the entire Jewish community across the board from right to left. No decent person, be they Jewish or non-Jewish, should be willing to defend, let alone make common cause with, the likes of Karim–who are, sadly, all too common in academia. 

Read Less

Damaged Candidates Can’t Be Redeemed

Mark Sanford is the gift that keeps giving to Democrats. The latest revelations about his messy personal life has not only further encouraged those hoping the Dems could steal a seemingly safe Republican seat in South Carolina. They’ve caused the National Republican Campaign Committee to bail on the special election to choose a successor to Senator Tim Scott. The NRCC officially waved the white flag on the former governor’s effort to win back his old seat when it announced it would cease sending money to aid Sanford’s campaign.

The only way to interpret that decision is that the NRCC believes the news that Sanford is being taken to court by his ex-wife over an alleged trespassing incident is a crippling blow to his hopes of defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. If he is fated to lose a seat than any competent Republican should hold with ease, then they seem to be saying that he should do it on his own dime rather than with the funds they’ve raised from GOP donors.

This is good news for Democrats, but the lessons of the impending Sanford debacle should also make them think twice about the prospects that they’ll be stuck with Anthony Weiner, the other damaged ex-politician who is trying to wriggle his way back into office. Weiner, who appeared to be re-launching his career by submitting to an all-too-revealing personal profile that ran on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine this past week, got what some are seeing as encouraging news with the results of a new poll about the New York City mayoral race that showed him running second among Democrats.

Read More

Mark Sanford is the gift that keeps giving to Democrats. The latest revelations about his messy personal life has not only further encouraged those hoping the Dems could steal a seemingly safe Republican seat in South Carolina. They’ve caused the National Republican Campaign Committee to bail on the special election to choose a successor to Senator Tim Scott. The NRCC officially waved the white flag on the former governor’s effort to win back his old seat when it announced it would cease sending money to aid Sanford’s campaign.

The only way to interpret that decision is that the NRCC believes the news that Sanford is being taken to court by his ex-wife over an alleged trespassing incident is a crippling blow to his hopes of defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. If he is fated to lose a seat than any competent Republican should hold with ease, then they seem to be saying that he should do it on his own dime rather than with the funds they’ve raised from GOP donors.

This is good news for Democrats, but the lessons of the impending Sanford debacle should also make them think twice about the prospects that they’ll be stuck with Anthony Weiner, the other damaged ex-politician who is trying to wriggle his way back into office. Weiner, who appeared to be re-launching his career by submitting to an all-too-revealing personal profile that ran on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine this past week, got what some are seeing as encouraging news with the results of a new poll about the New York City mayoral race that showed him running second among Democrats.

Sanford is hoping that this latest divorce fallout won’t hurt him once people find out the details. To be fair, if he is telling the truth about the incident it sounds as if what is happening is a case of his ex-wife using an innocent misunderstanding to take revenge on him. But even if that is the case, it’s an untimely reminder of his past bad behavior that is bound to influence wavering voters. He may have convinced a plurality of GOP primary voters in his old district that he should be forgiven, but the odds that a majority of general election voters will agree just got even smaller.

That’s a lesson that should inform Democrats as they contemplate the second coming of Anthony Weiner.

The fact that a new NBC/Marist poll showed Weiner getting 15 percent of the Democratic vote in a New York primary might lead some to conclude that the former congressman could do even better once he starts campaigning and spending the reported $4 million in contributions that have been sitting in his bank account since his 2011 meltdown after his sexting scandal and the lies that led to his resignation. Weiner’s entry into the race shakes things up since without him on the ballot, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn may win the nomination outright. With him, it looks as if she will be forced into a runoff.

But the sanguine interpretations of this poll should be placed in perspective. As Chuck Todd pointed out this morning on his MSNBC show “The Daily Rundown,” Weiner has 100 percent name recognition, something that can’t be said of his potential rivals this far away from a vote. They have room to grow, as they get better known. Weiner does not. If 15 percent is the best he could do now against them, the idea that he is some sort of potential juggernaut is probably a myth. As the New York Times’s Nate Silver also pointed out in his blog, Weiner’s negatives make him a long shot to win the nomination.

But what if Weiner’s financial advantage and the lack of another credible Democratic mayoral candidate from the outer boroughs—as opposed to the Manhattan-based Quinn—does enable him to come out of nowhere and win the nomination the way Sanford snagged the GOP nod for his congressional seat? Though there doesn’t appear to be a formidable Republican in sight to keep up the city’s streak of five straight cycles without electing a Democrat mayor, a backlash against Weiner could turn around the otherwise unpromising prospects of a contender like Joseph Lhota.

There are those that think New York is more sophisticated than South Carolina and that few there will hold Weiner’s bizarre behavior and lies against him. But cynical New Yorkers are also less likely to buy into a plea that Weiner has redeemed himself and should be forgiven the way many in the more religious south might be inclined to do.

As the Times profile showed, Weiner’s personal issues are far from resolved. The idea that the Democratic Party would gamble away their seemingly certain chance of winning back Gracie Mansion on the idea that Weiner deserves another chance would be a colossal mistake. Like the national Republican Party that is pulling the plug on Sanford, Democrats would be well advised to urge their members to pass on Weiner’s comeback.

Read Less

Obama, NRA Big Winners in Gun Vote

The Senate voted this afternoon on the Manchin-Toomey bipartisan compromise amendment on background checks for weapon purchases, and the result was no surprise. The measure got 54 votes, six short of the total needed for an amendment to be tacked onto the existing Democratic bill. While the Senate will go on talking about the issue, this vote closes the chapter on the four-month-long push for gun control that was launched by President Obama after the Newtown massacre. The concept pushed by moderate West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and conservative Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey was the only possible addition to the roster of existing gun laws that had a prayer of becoming law. But if even this idea couldn’t be passed in the Democrat-run Senate, it’s self-evident that there is no possible proposal that could be agreed upon by both houses of Congress.

That means the National Rifle Association, which vowed to fight to the last against even a moderate expansion of background checks, let alone a ban on assault weapons or large ammunition clips that Democrats want, will have a valid claim to be the big winner of this legislative battle. But they need to make room in the winner’s circle for their arch foe, President Obama. By convincing all but four of the Senate Republican caucus to oppose Manchin-Toomey, the NRA spiked an inoffensive measure that could have given the GOP cover against charges that it obstructed any movement on guns after Newtown. That’s a gift that President Obama, who is hoping to grab back control of Congress next year, will gratefully accept.

Read More

The Senate voted this afternoon on the Manchin-Toomey bipartisan compromise amendment on background checks for weapon purchases, and the result was no surprise. The measure got 54 votes, six short of the total needed for an amendment to be tacked onto the existing Democratic bill. While the Senate will go on talking about the issue, this vote closes the chapter on the four-month-long push for gun control that was launched by President Obama after the Newtown massacre. The concept pushed by moderate West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and conservative Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey was the only possible addition to the roster of existing gun laws that had a prayer of becoming law. But if even this idea couldn’t be passed in the Democrat-run Senate, it’s self-evident that there is no possible proposal that could be agreed upon by both houses of Congress.

That means the National Rifle Association, which vowed to fight to the last against even a moderate expansion of background checks, let alone a ban on assault weapons or large ammunition clips that Democrats want, will have a valid claim to be the big winner of this legislative battle. But they need to make room in the winner’s circle for their arch foe, President Obama. By convincing all but four of the Senate Republican caucus to oppose Manchin-Toomey, the NRA spiked an inoffensive measure that could have given the GOP cover against charges that it obstructed any movement on guns after Newtown. That’s a gift that President Obama, who is hoping to grab back control of Congress next year, will gratefully accept.

It is true that, as I wrote yesterday, liberals like Obama deserve some of the credit for helping convince conservatives to stay away from Manchin-Toomey. By making it clear that they would never stop pushing for weapons bans and other efforts that can be construed as an attack on the Second Amendment, Democrats provided useful ammunition to an NRA campaign that treated any measure, no matter how reasonable, as the thin edge of the wedge toward infringement of gun rights. It was this belief that lent weight to the efforts of the lobby and its allies to convince Republicans that the benefits of backing Manchin-Toomey wouldn’t be worth the electoral risk it represented, especially in pro-gun red states.

But the Republican decision not to embrace Manchin-Toomey is a strategic mistake that won’t help them next year.

While the NRA is right to assert that Manchin-Toomey wouldn’t have ended the push for gun control, it would have effectively shelved the issue until a new Congress takes office in January 2015. And it would have enabled Republicans to say they had protected Second Amendment rights while also giving the lie to any Democratic assertion that they had obstructed a post-Newtown consensus about doing something about guns.

Will this make a crucial difference in November 2014? We can’t know yet, and it should be admitted that the NRA and its backers have reason to claim that no Republican will be defeated in an otherwise red state because they opposed an assault weapons ban or even by closing the gun show loophole on background checks that Manchin-Toomey would have achieved. The midterm electorate may resemble that of 2010 more than 2012, and the large number of vulnerable or open Democratic Senate seats also tilts the math in the GOP’s favor.

But Republicans should understand that by stonewalling a background checks law, they have handed the Democrats a cudgel with which they will be beaten relentlessly for the next year and a half. The GOP can complain all it wants about media bias, the exploitation of the Newtown victims by the president and the fact that none of the proposed new gun laws would have prevented another Newtown. The use of the victims of the Newtown victim families — as President Obama did again this afternoon after the vote — may seem exploitive to Republicans but it is also the sort of thing that cannot be directly answered by gun control opponents.

Instead of taking the air out of the Democratic balloon, they’ve re-inflated it. Their assumption that there will be no political cost to this decision may be a mistake. If 2014 turns out to be as dismal as 2012, Republicans may look back on this day and realize that they’ve made an unforced error.

Read Less

Another Question for Education Reformers

In a 2010 essay for National Affairs, Frederick Hess tackled a very difficult question: does school choice work? It’s not so easy to answer, for a few reasons: long-term studies are fewer and farther between; there are different kinds of “school choice” and different ways to offer and administer such opportunities; and most considerations of school choice effects don’t really measure, say, the difference in safety and security for students who may be performing about average in their new environment but do not fear for their lives going to and from school each day.

But the simple fact that we’re still asking the question–or using alternative methods to grade progress–suggests at the very least that the fledgling school choice movement has not met its expectations. Those in favor of school choice respond, correctly, that the evidence shows plenty of encouraging signs for properly designed school choice programs, and that efforts by school choice opponents to limit and obstruct the process plays its own part in obscuring the efficacy of school choice. There is also the simple element of fairness and equality of opportunity: why should poor Americans have fewer educational opportunities than others? But the mixed results on school choice also shine a light on one very important–and often overlooked–aspect of education reform: curriculum matters a great deal. Conservatives worried about the state of American education have to be prepared to tackle the question of not only where the students should learn, but what they should learn.

Read More

In a 2010 essay for National Affairs, Frederick Hess tackled a very difficult question: does school choice work? It’s not so easy to answer, for a few reasons: long-term studies are fewer and farther between; there are different kinds of “school choice” and different ways to offer and administer such opportunities; and most considerations of school choice effects don’t really measure, say, the difference in safety and security for students who may be performing about average in their new environment but do not fear for their lives going to and from school each day.

But the simple fact that we’re still asking the question–or using alternative methods to grade progress–suggests at the very least that the fledgling school choice movement has not met its expectations. Those in favor of school choice respond, correctly, that the evidence shows plenty of encouraging signs for properly designed school choice programs, and that efforts by school choice opponents to limit and obstruct the process plays its own part in obscuring the efficacy of school choice. There is also the simple element of fairness and equality of opportunity: why should poor Americans have fewer educational opportunities than others? But the mixed results on school choice also shine a light on one very important–and often overlooked–aspect of education reform: curriculum matters a great deal. Conservatives worried about the state of American education have to be prepared to tackle the question of not only where the students should learn, but what they should learn.

Though it wasn’t intended as such, an intriguing idea comes today from Naomi Schaefer Riley’s review of a posthumously published memoir of Earl Shorris, a different kind of education reformer. Shorris, Riley writes, wanted to tackle the problem of poverty, and figured out a unique approach while interviewing inmates at a prison. Riley recounts the conversation:

He asked one of the women at New York’s Bedford Hills maximum-security prison why she thought the poor were poor. “Because they don’t have the moral life of downtown,” she replied. “What do you mean by the moral life?” Shorris asked. “You got to begin with the children . . . ,” she said. “You’ve got to teach the moral life of downtown to the children. And the way you do that, Earl, is by taking them downtown to plays, museums, concerts, lectures.” He asked whether she meant the humanities. Looking at him as if he were, as he puts it, “the stupidest man on earth,” she replied: “Yes, Earl, the humanities.”

That provided the spark that eventually became the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which Shorris designed and which is available to the poor in many cities in the U.S. as well as a few countries abroad. Riley continues:

The Clemente Course differs from life at universities in other ways—for instance, by taking the Western classics seriously. How many college graduates have read Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and Mill? It also differs in its sense of what the texts can do. Much of the liberal-arts curriculum in universities today is devoted to learning about oppression of one sort or another, but Shorris argued that the study of the humanities is a fundamentally optimistic endeavor. Not that Clemente texts are routinely cheery or anodyne. Shorris himself taught Dostoevsky, “the brilliant archeologist who dared to make us look deep into our dark sides.” But Shorris did feel that, by reading and discussing classic texts, life was better or richer in some fundamental sense: more valued, more hopeful, more free.

Though Riley specifically mentions universities, there’s no reason this idea couldn’t be integrated into high school curriculum too. In the culmination of his life’s work, a 1,200-page history of political thought, Alan Ryan discusses the fact that political theorists must grapple with the thoughts and ideas of their long-dead predecessors. “There is no way to do this,” Ryan admits, “without running the risk of foisting our own views on the unresisting dead. It is the obvious danger of attempting to have a conversation with great, but absent, thinkers who cannot tell us we are talking nonsense.”

Yet as students who study the classics could attest, it matters less that they cannot tell us we are talking nonsense than that we are attempting the conversation. When students grapple with the great thinkers and writers, they permit themselves to elevate their own intellectual stature in order to “get in the ring” in the first place.

When Shorris says that studying the classics can make a life more hopeful, more free, he knew what he was talking about. One of the last chapters in Shorris’s book, The Art of Freedom, describes a reunion of sorts in Salt Lake City of graduates of the course. They describe it alternately as “life-altering,” a rebirth, a way to tap into hidden strengths and talents. “They read the Allegory of the Cave as if it were the story of their own experience before they came to the course,” he writes. But you get the feeling that although he was pleased, he wasn’t surprised. Unlike real estate, when it comes to education it isn’t only about location, location, location. Education reformers would do well to keep that in mind.

Read Less

Rewarding Terror Against Israel While Denouncing It Elsewhere

As Boston was mourning its victims of terror yesterday, a Parisian suburb was planning a gala fete for terrorists. Among those slated to be honored at tonight’s ceremony in St. Denis are Allam Kaabi, convicted of assassinating Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, and Salah Hamouri, convicted of plotting to assassinate Israel’s former Sephardi chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef. Both are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who were released in 2011 as part of the exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

Though sponsored by a private organization, the ceremony is to be held in a building owned by the municipality, thus lending the town’s imprimatur to it. And, adding insult to injury, it’s slated to be graced by a representative of Amnesty International: Evidently, this self-styled human rights organization has no problem with targeted killings of Israeli civilians, though it objects vociferously to targeted killings of terrorists.

Read More

As Boston was mourning its victims of terror yesterday, a Parisian suburb was planning a gala fete for terrorists. Among those slated to be honored at tonight’s ceremony in St. Denis are Allam Kaabi, convicted of assassinating Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, and Salah Hamouri, convicted of plotting to assassinate Israel’s former Sephardi chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef. Both are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who were released in 2011 as part of the exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

Though sponsored by a private organization, the ceremony is to be held in a building owned by the municipality, thus lending the town’s imprimatur to it. And, adding insult to injury, it’s slated to be graced by a representative of Amnesty International: Evidently, this self-styled human rights organization has no problem with targeted killings of Israeli civilians, though it objects vociferously to targeted killings of terrorists.

I can’t conceive of any Western city lending its aegis to a ceremony honoring, say, al-Qaeda terrorists–at least, not without sparking a major outcry from its countrymen. But as this ceremony once again demonstrates, even people who find terrorism against anyone else beyond the pale are often willing to make an exception when the victims are Israelis. And that holds true far beyond France.

Indeed, nobody better demonstrates this truth than the great lady who was buried in London today. Eulogies for Margaret Thatcher justly lauded her as a friend to the Jewish people, a friend to Israel (she was the first British premier ever to make an official visit there), and an uncompromising opponent of terror. Yet despite all this, she had no qualms about making an exception for terrorists who targeted Israelis: In 1980, Thatcher abandoned her previous insistence that the PLO renounce terror and signed onto the EEC’s Venice Declaration, which called for involving the PLO in any Israeli-Arab peace process. Thereafter, her government maintained official contact with the PLO.

This was eight years before Yasir Arafat officially renounced terror in 1988 (that he was lying, as the post-Oslo carnage later proved, is a different story). Indeed, the PLO routinely shelled communities in northern Israel from its Lebanese strongholds throughout the early 1980s, which is why Israel went to war to oust it from Lebanon in 1982; and in 1985, Palestinians hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and murdered a wheelchair-bound American just because he was Jewish. Yet none of this caused Thatcher to change her mind: In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, she justified engaging with a terrorist organization on the grounds that the PLO was “an important factor in the area.”

It’s hard to find a rational explanation for why so many people tolerate terror against Israelis even as they excoriate it against anyone else. But by so doing, they are undermining both the battle against terror and the universality of the most fundamental human right of all–the right to life. Because if it’s OK to murder Israelis for the sake of a cause, then it’s okay to murder anyone. All that’s left to argue about is the validity of the cause in question.

Read Less

Re: The Irresponsible Search for Bomb Scapegoats

In 2013, a terrorist attack is less a test of American mettle than American manners. Forks on your left, knives on your right, sane questions folded up and tucked discretely into breast pocket. Whatever you do, do not politicize (take seriously) the attack. And you must be open-minded (make sure to politicize).

Public speculation should only be of a self-demonizing nature. “I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism,” wrote Esquire’s Charles Pierce hours after Monday’s deadly explosions in Boston, “to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.”

Thanks for the “caution.”

Read More

In 2013, a terrorist attack is less a test of American mettle than American manners. Forks on your left, knives on your right, sane questions folded up and tucked discretely into breast pocket. Whatever you do, do not politicize (take seriously) the attack. And you must be open-minded (make sure to politicize).

Public speculation should only be of a self-demonizing nature. “I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism,” wrote Esquire’s Charles Pierce hours after Monday’s deadly explosions in Boston, “to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.”

Thanks for the “caution.”

So maybe it’s knives on the left. The New York Times’s Nick Kristof weighed in with a post-bomb tweet: “explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.” By the time he apologized the matter of how we talk about being maimed and killed had become a spectacle apart from the maiming and killing itself. And the spectacle was sad.

It used to be that when one news source had a hot story no one else was running it was called a scoop. Today it’s called “criminal.” The New York Post committed a terrible faux pas when it broke the news on Monday that authorities were looking into a “Saudi national” as a potential suspect. People weren’t done speculating about Tim McVeigh and the GOP. Presumably NBC and CBS understood that Americans needed time to be “open-minded,” so they didn’t report the same story until an hour or so later. By then the Post had already taken the hit for ruining the mood. 

Hours after that Barack Obama said a few words about the bombing. His sticking to the literal truth—that we didn’t (and don’t) know who was responsible—was one thing. But he spoke like an industrial CEO who’d been coached by lawyers after an on-site accident. Obama dished out the rhetoric of “mobilizing resources” and left it to a White House official, “who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” to leak to the country that we had just suffered a terrorist attack. No well-mannered individual would be caught dead speaking of terrorism in the wake of terrorism. 

Like all systems of manners, terrorist-attack etiquette isn’t a display of genuine sympathy or respect, but an acceptable front behind which all sorts of emotions fight it out. So Salon’s David Sirota can at least be commended for dropping the wait-and-see pose. “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” he wrote on Wednesday. Sirota fears that because of “white privilege,” a non-white terrorist could lead to new policies he, Sirota, doesn’t like. “[N]on-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.” He then goes on at confusing length about what “white-privilege is” and what “white-privilege means.”

But Sirota demonstrates that white privilege means artfully tossing around the term “white privilege” without being the victim of non-white disadvantage. White-privilege is dismissing the thousands upon thousands of non-whites who know first-hand that Islamist terrorism is a systematic threat. White privilege, of the Sirota variety, means having the good fortune to choose which global scourges you can bear to fight and which you can dismiss as too costly. Above all, white privilege means pondering aloud the characteristics of your dream bomb-suspect, one who might help advance your political agenda (whether it be defense spending or defense cuts).

There is a good reason, alas, to hope that Islamist terrorists are not behind the Boston bombing. If such networks are once again committing successful attacks on the United States, we’ve been targeted at a moment of depressing cultural cowardice. It would mean that terrorists are killing us while we don’t dare even speak of the possibility. Yes, let’s hope it’s a lone wolf.

Read Less

Obama’s Thatcher Snub

In February 1946, about a month before Winston Churchill’s famous “iron curtain” speech in Missouri, Churchill had dinner at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Though it would serve both President Harry Truman and Churchill to downplay any hint that Truman approved the content of Churchill’s speech beforehand, neither wanted any surprises. At his dinner with the American ambassador to Cuba, R. Henry Norweb, Churchill spoke plainly about his thoughts on the Soviet Union and the United Nations. Norweb relayed the comments to Truman the following day, in which he described Churchill’s comments on the Soviet Union’s Communist threat as recalling Churchill’s “world-shaking oratory” about the Nazis years earlier. Norweb continued:

Mr. Churchill went on to express his conviction that the only escape from future disaster, the only hope for [the United Nations Organization], lies in the development over the years of some definite working agreement between the American and British Governments. He fully understands, he said, that any formal merger or alliance would doubtless now be impracticable, untimely and unpopular on both sides of the Atlantic–but he holds that the sheer pressure of events will of necessity force our two great commonwealths to come together in some workable manner if the peace and order of the world are to be preserved from chaos.

Read More

In February 1946, about a month before Winston Churchill’s famous “iron curtain” speech in Missouri, Churchill had dinner at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Though it would serve both President Harry Truman and Churchill to downplay any hint that Truman approved the content of Churchill’s speech beforehand, neither wanted any surprises. At his dinner with the American ambassador to Cuba, R. Henry Norweb, Churchill spoke plainly about his thoughts on the Soviet Union and the United Nations. Norweb relayed the comments to Truman the following day, in which he described Churchill’s comments on the Soviet Union’s Communist threat as recalling Churchill’s “world-shaking oratory” about the Nazis years earlier. Norweb continued:

Mr. Churchill went on to express his conviction that the only escape from future disaster, the only hope for [the United Nations Organization], lies in the development over the years of some definite working agreement between the American and British Governments. He fully understands, he said, that any formal merger or alliance would doubtless now be impracticable, untimely and unpopular on both sides of the Atlantic–but he holds that the sheer pressure of events will of necessity force our two great commonwealths to come together in some workable manner if the peace and order of the world are to be preserved from chaos.

Truman did not object to either point, and the speech became a pivotal moment in the early stages of the Cold War and of the post-war relationship between the U.S. and Britain. (It should be remembered that Churchill was accorded this honor from Truman despite the fact that he was no longer prime minister, though the British government that replaced him did not object to the speech.) In October 1947, Truman wrote to Churchill: “Your Fulton, Mo. speech becomes more nearly a prophecy every day. I hope conditions will warrant your paying me another visit. I certainly enjoyed your stay here immensely…. May you continue to enjoy health and happiness and a long life–the world needs you now as badly as ever.”

I recount this history because it is often forgotten that the special relationship between Britain and the U.S. after World War II and the countries’ close alliance against Soviet Communism was far from inevitable. On the contrary, it took painstaking diplomacy and bold gestures. Which is why the Obama administration’s decision to take the alliance with Britain for granted, marked by its repeated thoughtlessness and insulting behavior toward the British crown and government, is so foolish. And rather than learn from its blunders, the administration appears to be content to continue making such mistakes.

Following on its refusal to recognize British sovereignty over the Falklands or the Falklands residents’ own wishes, the Obama administration decided not to send a high-level official to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral service today. It did not go unnoticed.

Thatcher and Ronald Reagan carried to victory the Cold War partnership begun by Truman and Churchill. The Cold War has always been a sore subject for this administration, which has endlessly taunted those who want to remember the history at all. (This might have something to do with Vice President Joe Biden’s less-than-stellar record during the Cold War.) And since Thatcher rescued her country from the grips of suffocating union dominance and the Western left’s declinist fetish, it’s not too surprising the president would not want attention drawn to that either. But that’s still no excuse.

The whole episode recalls Obama’s decision to skip the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall early in his first term. He sent a videotaped message instead (which he found a way to make about himself, using the message to celebrate the historic nature of his own election). The only upside to today’s absence in London is that, given Obama’s treatment of our British allies thus far, he probably wasn’t missed.

Read Less

The Irresponsible Search for Bomb Scapegoats

It was probably too much to hope that the chattering classes would keep their desire to spin the tragedy in Boston in check for long. Filling the air and the Web with copy in the absence of any real information about who is responsible for the bombing at the Boston Marathon places a real burden on those who comment about such things to avoid sending the discussion off the deep end. Though there are some exceptions, such as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (who couldn’t wait to speculate about the bombs being planted by radical right-wingers), it is a test that many are still managing to pass. With alerts about letters with toxins arriving at the Senate and the White House and worries growing about any possible connections to the terror attack, the need for the media to behave responsibly is greater than ever.

As I wrote yesterday, the eagerness to put Boston in the service of some political agenda is palpable. Those who are going off the tracks by engaging in pointless and inflammatory speculation unconnected with the facts don’t merit the attention that a refutation would give them. But in the absence of any way to start blaming the event on some group, some are beginning the process of spinning the possible scenarios already. An example of that came in an article published last night in Salon by David Sirota, in which he expresses the hope that “the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.” The conceit of this inflammatory piece is that a white American terrorist would be treated as a “lone wolf” whose actions would have no implications on policy or society while a Muslim bomber would be thought of as an existential threat to the country.

The point of this seems to be to claim that an Islamist bomber would set off another backlash against Muslim-Americans such as the one that is alleged to have occurred after 9/11. But Sirota is wrong both about that mythical backlash and about the way white bombers such as Timothy McVeigh are interpreted.

Read More

It was probably too much to hope that the chattering classes would keep their desire to spin the tragedy in Boston in check for long. Filling the air and the Web with copy in the absence of any real information about who is responsible for the bombing at the Boston Marathon places a real burden on those who comment about such things to avoid sending the discussion off the deep end. Though there are some exceptions, such as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (who couldn’t wait to speculate about the bombs being planted by radical right-wingers), it is a test that many are still managing to pass. With alerts about letters with toxins arriving at the Senate and the White House and worries growing about any possible connections to the terror attack, the need for the media to behave responsibly is greater than ever.

As I wrote yesterday, the eagerness to put Boston in the service of some political agenda is palpable. Those who are going off the tracks by engaging in pointless and inflammatory speculation unconnected with the facts don’t merit the attention that a refutation would give them. But in the absence of any way to start blaming the event on some group, some are beginning the process of spinning the possible scenarios already. An example of that came in an article published last night in Salon by David Sirota, in which he expresses the hope that “the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.” The conceit of this inflammatory piece is that a white American terrorist would be treated as a “lone wolf” whose actions would have no implications on policy or society while a Muslim bomber would be thought of as an existential threat to the country.

The point of this seems to be to claim that an Islamist bomber would set off another backlash against Muslim-Americans such as the one that is alleged to have occurred after 9/11. But Sirota is wrong both about that mythical backlash and about the way white bombers such as Timothy McVeigh are interpreted.

The reason why 9/11 was treated as an existential threat to America is that it was. The al-Qaeda campaign against the West, which included previous deadly attacks on the World Trade Center, U.S. embassies and naval ships, was part of a war that most Americans didn’t notice until 3,000 of their fellow citizens were slaughtered on U.S. soil.

But contrary to Sirota, this didn’t lead to a backlash of persecution against Muslims. From President Bush on down, the U.S. government went out of its way to combat prejudice and, unlike what has been the case in virtually every other war that was forced on America, negative images of Arabs and Muslims in popular culture were virtually unknown in the years that followed. Far from jumping on Muslims, the universal impulse after every homegrown Islamist act of terror, such as the mass shooting at Fort Hood, was to downplay the source of the crime and to pretend that it was unconnected to a particular interpretation of Islam.

Sirota is also wrong about his “lone wolf” thesis. The Oklahoma City bombing was not treated as the act of an individual but was widely imputed to conservatives in general, with Rush Limbaugh being unfairly smeared as somehow inspiring violent extremists in a transparent attempt by liberals to exploit that tragedy to undermine their opponents.

The point here is that we can expect, as Limbaugh noted yesterday, most Americans to be extremely reluctant to draw any conclusions about Muslims even if the Boston bombing or the letters are traced to Islamists. But it is far from clear that the same scrupulous reluctance to cast blame will be applied if the bomber is a right-winger. If Boston is traced to some militia crackpot, expect the liberal media to explode with accusations about the Tea Party.

The lesson here is that this is a time when pundits need to keep their powder dry and cease imputing blame for events when we still know nothing about the identity of the culprits. The desire to use Boston to pile on political enemies is almost irresistible for some people. But it should be resisted.

Read Less

Mead Digs Himself a Deeper Hole

Walter Russell Mead responded to my critique of his post on the GOP and the Bush Legacy. It is revealing, though probably not in ways Mr. Mead had intended. Here are several things to take from it.

1. Mr. Mead says my “attention is fixed on the rearview mirror” and “GOPers who can’t take their eyes off the rear-view mirror will not help their party regain public trust.” This is a curious charge, since it was Mead, not I, who first brought up the Bush legacy. (Mead spends more than 2,900 words on his post about the Bush years–and that only constituted Part One!) Anyone who follows my writings regularly, and particularly since the 2012 election, knows that much of my focus is on the state of the Republican Party and what it needs to do going forward, without reference to the Bush presidency. I was drawn into a “rearview mirror” dialogue because of Mead, not the other way around.

Read More

Walter Russell Mead responded to my critique of his post on the GOP and the Bush Legacy. It is revealing, though probably not in ways Mr. Mead had intended. Here are several things to take from it.

1. Mr. Mead says my “attention is fixed on the rearview mirror” and “GOPers who can’t take their eyes off the rear-view mirror will not help their party regain public trust.” This is a curious charge, since it was Mead, not I, who first brought up the Bush legacy. (Mead spends more than 2,900 words on his post about the Bush years–and that only constituted Part One!) Anyone who follows my writings regularly, and particularly since the 2012 election, knows that much of my focus is on the state of the Republican Party and what it needs to do going forward, without reference to the Bush presidency. I was drawn into a “rearview mirror” dialogue because of Mead, not the other way around.

2. The reason I responded to what Mead wrote isn’t because I have a fixation on the past (more about that in a moment); it’s because he claimed that “Fluency in discussing the disasters of the Bush years is going to be a job requirement for Republican candidates and mandarins for some time to come”–and then Mead made a series of claims about the Bush years that were wrong, incomplete or misleading. I felt they were worth correcting. 

You’ll note that Mead’s response to me is dripping with sarcasm, which he apparently believes can substitute for facts and rigorous arguments. But facts are stubborn things, as John Adams said, and as an academic, Mead might actually consider relying on a few. What I did in my post was to cite what Mead said and respond to it, with some empirical care. Mead didn’t challenge a single one of my claims; he chose instead to resort to a kind of adolescent mocking. Which is what people who have lost an argument sometimes do.

3. Mr. Mead claims that if I had my way, generations of Republican presidential candidates will be professing loyalty to the Bush agenda and defending the Bush record. Here again Mead–I want to put this as respectfully as I can–doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 

Having been involved in several presidential elections, I wouldn’t counsel any presidential candidate in 2016 to focus on the record of a person who left office in 2008, just as it wouldn’t have been wise for Bob Dole in 1996 to focus his campaign on Ronald Reagan, who left office in 1988. What a presidential candidate has to do is to articulate his policies on the challenges of his time, and on his governing vision and philosophy. You don’t win elections by focusing on the past, which Mead does in both of his pieces; you win them by focusing on the future. I’d add that in the 2012 election, George W. Bush was not much of a factor in the campaign, and that will be even more the case in 2016. Which is why Mead’s rear-view mirror counsel to Republicans to host  “ ‘Lessons learned’ conferences, symposia, special journal issues and so on” about the Bush era is an odd one.

The Bush presidency was far from perfect; mistakes, even large mistakes, occur over the course of eight years. I’m happy to discuss the pluses and the minuses. And if people want to draw the right lessons from the Bush years, fine. But those lessons should be based on what actually occurred, not on imaginary or shallow assertions. Which is why what Mr. Mead has written isn’t just useless; it’s downright counterproductive.

Usually what Mr. Mead writes deserves to be taken seriously. In this case, he tripped up. It happens. He’s forgiven. And now he should carry on.

Read Less

U.S. Should Not Stay on the Sidelines of Afghan Election

Michele Flournoy and Michael O’Hanlon are right to argue in this Wall Street Journal op-ed that the U.S. has a big stake in the outcome of Afghanistan’s April 2014 presidential election. They are right, moreover, that we must do everything possible to safeguard the integrity of the balloting process. But I disagree with their assertion–which amounts to a bipartisan article of faith in today’s Washington–that “the United States and other key outside nations shouldn’t and won’t try to pick a winner.”

Tell it to Pakistan. Do Flournoy and O’Hanlon have any confidence that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence will refrain from picking a winner? Or Iran’s Quds Forces? What about the brutal and corrupt warlords and power brokers who dominate Afghan politics today in collusion with current president Hamid Karzai? Will they refrain from picking a candidate too?

Read More

Michele Flournoy and Michael O’Hanlon are right to argue in this Wall Street Journal op-ed that the U.S. has a big stake in the outcome of Afghanistan’s April 2014 presidential election. They are right, moreover, that we must do everything possible to safeguard the integrity of the balloting process. But I disagree with their assertion–which amounts to a bipartisan article of faith in today’s Washington–that “the United States and other key outside nations shouldn’t and won’t try to pick a winner.”

Tell it to Pakistan. Do Flournoy and O’Hanlon have any confidence that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence will refrain from picking a winner? Or Iran’s Quds Forces? What about the brutal and corrupt warlords and power brokers who dominate Afghan politics today in collusion with current president Hamid Karzai? Will they refrain from picking a candidate too?

Hardly. These actors and many others are going to use their bucks and, if necessary, bombs and bullets too, to shape the outcome in ways that are beneficial to their interests–and inimical to the interests of most Afghans and of the United States and our foreign partners who have invested so much in that country’s future.

Given the stakes and the reality that the election will not be an antiseptic exercise in good government, I believe we have no choice but to designate and support the best possible candidate for president. We should not look for someone who would be an American puppet but rather for a strong, honest, hard-working leader who will serve the long-term interests of Afghanistan.

This is, of course, an undertaking fraught with obvious risks. But as I argued in this Weekly Standard article, efforts to cultivate foreign leaders have paid off in the past. Look at how Edward Lansdale promoted Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines in the early 1950s.

In fairness, such efforts have backfired too, and there is always the danger of blowback from more active intervention in the Afghan political process. But I think the greatest danger of all is to sit on the sidelines, congratulating ourselves on our moral purity, while malign actors steal the election and install a new president who will be weak, corrupt–and no match for the Taliban.

Read Less

On Syria, a Realistic Assessment and an Unrealistic Response

Administration insiders appear to be acknowledging the obvious, if not quoted for attribution: namely, that the Syrian insurgency is full of extremists and that, if the insurgency were to prevail now, the result could a government not to our liking. But the result of this realistic analysis is an unrealistic course of action. The Wall Street Journal reports that:

the U.S. has sought a controlled increase in support to moderate rebel factions. President Barack Obama is expected as early as this week to authorize the provision of nonlethal military aid such as body armor and night-vision goggles to moderate fighters, though officials said Mr. Obama still opposes sending American arms and taking unilateral military action.

The administration goal, according to people briefed on the effort, is to provide enough aid to strengthen U.S.-vetted fighters without tipping the balance so far that Islamists who dominate rebel ranks will be able to overrun the regime and its institutions.

Read More

Administration insiders appear to be acknowledging the obvious, if not quoted for attribution: namely, that the Syrian insurgency is full of extremists and that, if the insurgency were to prevail now, the result could a government not to our liking. But the result of this realistic analysis is an unrealistic course of action. The Wall Street Journal reports that:

the U.S. has sought a controlled increase in support to moderate rebel factions. President Barack Obama is expected as early as this week to authorize the provision of nonlethal military aid such as body armor and night-vision goggles to moderate fighters, though officials said Mr. Obama still opposes sending American arms and taking unilateral military action.

The administration goal, according to people briefed on the effort, is to provide enough aid to strengthen U.S.-vetted fighters without tipping the balance so far that Islamists who dominate rebel ranks will be able to overrun the regime and its institutions.

This is an exquisitely calibrated strategy that could work only in a PowerPoint briefing in Washington. It has no chance of working on the ground because the U.S. does not exercise sufficient influence with the rebel groups to turn their efforts up or down like a faucet.

Even when we provided a far greater amount of aid to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 we could not control their movements. Recall that many in the State Department wanted the Northern Alliance to refrain from taking Kabul until a coalition government could be announced. But the Taliban crumbled too quickly and the Northern Alliance was not about to stop its offensive. In Syria we have much less control and thus much less chance of controlling the pace of operations. War has a remorseless logic of its own, which cannot be modulated by remote control.

The concerns about what would happen if Assad were to fall are real, although, given Assad’s recent counteroffensive in the north, we should also be worried about whether he is actually going to fall. The best way to topple him and to shape a post-Assad regime is to do precisely what Obama won’t: to arm the moderate opposition and support their efforts with a no-fly zone. Micromanagement from thousands of miles away is a poor substitute for roll-up-your-sleeves work on the ground–and in the air.

Read Less

Where Is the Promised Coverage of the Gosnell Trial?

The few straight news reporters covering the Kermit Gosnell case have all seemingly come to the same conclusion: It’s one of, if not the most, gripping trials they have ever witnessed. Last week, an uproar started by blogger Mollie Hemingway led many mainstream outlets to justify their non-coverage of the case and the trial. Some, including Slate‘s Dave Weigel, admitted that at least part of the reason for the lack of coverage is a pro-choice bias among most reporters who were dissuaded from an obviously newsworthy trial by the way this particular case undermines pro-abortion absolutism.

The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff initially told Hemingway that she would not be covering the trial because it was a local crime story, off her beat as a national healthcare reporter. Hemingway, in response, produced a tally of all of the other “local crime stories” that Kliff deemed appropriate to cover, including the 2009 murder of abortionist George Tiller. After the crush of attention the New York Times and the Washington Post both agreed to send reporters to the trial and the media, who have been few in number throughout the trial thus far, reported on the presence of these mainstream reporters among their ranks. 

Read More

The few straight news reporters covering the Kermit Gosnell case have all seemingly come to the same conclusion: It’s one of, if not the most, gripping trials they have ever witnessed. Last week, an uproar started by blogger Mollie Hemingway led many mainstream outlets to justify their non-coverage of the case and the trial. Some, including Slate‘s Dave Weigel, admitted that at least part of the reason for the lack of coverage is a pro-choice bias among most reporters who were dissuaded from an obviously newsworthy trial by the way this particular case undermines pro-abortion absolutism.

The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff initially told Hemingway that she would not be covering the trial because it was a local crime story, off her beat as a national healthcare reporter. Hemingway, in response, produced a tally of all of the other “local crime stories” that Kliff deemed appropriate to cover, including the 2009 murder of abortionist George Tiller. After the crush of attention the New York Times and the Washington Post both agreed to send reporters to the trial and the media, who have been few in number throughout the trial thus far, reported on the presence of these mainstream reporters among their ranks. 

Two days ago on Hot Air Ed Morrissey posted a guest blog from a documentarian, Phelim McAleer, who decided to spend a few days in the media benches while visiting Philadelphia. McAleer told Hot Air readers:

I have covered the troubles in Northern Ireland and child trafficking in Indonesia and Romania. I have never come across a more sensational case. There is plenty of meat for the tabloid or the “serious” journalist. That they have mostly ignored it is part of the reason their industry is in decline.

McAleer discussed how few in number his fellow reporters were (just three locals) and how, despite the fact that this is likely one of the largest mass murders in American history, his notes on the trial will be one of the only records of the case outside of court documents. Yesterday, more news emerged on the trial’s progress. A local Philadelphia paper describes the theatrics between the prosecution, defense and the trial judge: 

“Based on the totality of the evidence . . . you cannot testify to anyone that this fetus was born alive?” Gosnell lawyer Jack McMahon asked Medical Examiner Sam Gulino.

“No I cannot,” replied Gulino.

Then Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron flipped around McMahon’s question: “Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?”

Again, Gulino agreed. McMahon tried to salvage his first answer, only to be interrupted by Cameron.

McMahon exploded in anger, but was topped by Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.

“Mr. McMahon, behave yourself!” yelled Minehart. “Act like a lawyer.”

Lawyers and judges exploding in anger is something seen often on crime shows like Law & Order but which McAleer claims is, in real-life courtrooms, exceedingly rare. The testimony that followed helps explain why tensions have run high over the course of the trial: the details are horrific. Yesterday’s evidence centered on the dozens of human remains stored at the clinic, sometimes overflowing the toilets, complete with horrifying photographic evidence. The family of the adult victim, a 41-year-old woman, wept in the stands today listening to testimony. All of these details appeared yesterday in the local Philadelphia media.

After the media bias uproar started by Hemingway, which gained momentum on Thursday night, Americans were promised coverage of the trial, finally. So where is it? Reporting on the lack of media attention doesn’t count. The Post‘s Kliff has written a summary of the case for her readers, posted yesterday, who before then were completely unaware of the case if the Post is their only source of news. Late last night the Post‘s reporter on scene filed a story about the only adult victim Gosnell is on trial for murdering, a survivor of camps in Nepal which ran on page A2 of today’s edition of the paper. There was little mention of Gosnell’s alleged infant victims, but still, it’s a start. Where are the cable news stories and where are the dispatches on the graphic and gripping details from this week’s testimony from other national reporters on scene? 

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.