Commentary Magazine


Topic: Washington Post

Commanders-in-Chief Should Command

President Obama may be coming under withering criticism from his own former secretaries of defense for his hesitant and uncertain conduct vis-à-vis Syria. But he has at least a few defenders left who argue—as David Ignatius does today in the Washington Post—that he is simply giving the public what it wants. Writes Ignatius:

Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen. A Post-ABC News survey asked Americans if they endorsed the U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons as an alternative to missile strikes; 79 percent were supportive.  Read More

President Obama may be coming under withering criticism from his own former secretaries of defense for his hesitant and uncertain conduct vis-à-vis Syria. But he has at least a few defenders left who argue—as David Ignatius does today in the Washington Post—that he is simply giving the public what it wants. Writes Ignatius:

Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen. A Post-ABC News survey asked Americans if they endorsed the U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons as an alternative to missile strikes; 79 percent were supportive. 

Have we now become a plebiscitary democracy where great questions of the day are to be decided based on public-opinion polls? What’s next? Are we going to give every American a Xbox-like device that he can use to instantly vote on every bill before Congress and every major decision on the president’s desk?

That’s not how the Founders envisioned this country operating. They created a representative democracy in which the people vote for their leaders and the leaders then are responsible for exercising their own judgment as to what course of action is best for the country. The voters still get a say, but they have to wait two to four years before they can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to their elected representatives. 

The genius of our system is plainly evident in how easily presidents who follow public opinion can be led astray. Americans approved of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by rough similar margins as they approve of the Syria chemical-weapons deal today. That did not get President Bush off the hook when the war went south; public opinion quickly turned. And there was scant sympathy among the president’s critics—including David Ignatius—for the argument that the invasion was right because it was popular.

By 2007 there was virtually no support among the public for the surge. Yet President Bush ordered it anyway, and it worked. As evidence came in of declining rates of violence in Iraq, support for the surge increased. In retrospect Bush had made the gutsiest and best call of his presidency by taking a tough stance in defiance of public opinion. And as events on the ground shifted, so did public opinion.

That’s what we expect commanders-in-chief to do. And it’s not just Bush or Republican presidents who make these tough calls. So do Democrats, ranging from Harry Truman with his support of NATO and the Marshall Plan (neither of which was initially popular) to Bill Clinton, with his support of unpopular interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. Even Obama has defied public opinion to intervene in Libya. There was no more enthusiasm among voters for that conflict than there is now for the one in Syria.

So Obama will find scant refuge today in the argument that public-opinion polls support his stance. Sure, the public is supportive—but then the public hopes that the chemical-weapons deal will be carried out. Perhaps they imagine, as Ignatius does, that the deal forces Russia to collect Syria’s chemical weapons and could foster a political solution to the mess in Syria. If so, Obama may well be vindicated. But the greater likelihood is that the deal will be an excuse for Assad to stall for time, that most of his chemical weapons will never be destroyed, and that the United States will be complicit along with Russia in keeping his criminal regime in power. In that case, the verdict of the public—and history—is likely to turn against Obama.

The president should keep in mind the pearl of wisdom often voiced by embattled sports coaches who are under criticism from the fans and media for not starting player X or not calling play Y: If you let the fans in the stands make your coaching decisions for you, before long you’re likely to join them as a spectator.

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Former Ombudsman’s Nonsensical Screed

The Washington Post’s former ombudsman, a fellow by the name of Patrick Pexton, wrote an “open letter” to the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos, with advice on personnel. Mr. Pexton goes after one individual in particular–my former COMMENTARY colleague Jennifer Rubin.

How to describe what Pexton wrote? How about intemperate and embarrassing for starters. If that judgment sounds harsh, allow me a moment to prove my case. Mr. Pexton claims that Rubin’s columns are “at best political pornography.” (One can only imagine what her less-than-best writings conjure up in Pexton’s imagination.) We’re told she “peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike.” (“Every” is quite a lot.) She is guilty of “treachery” against the Romney campaign. This isn’t an open letter; it’s an open screed. Mr. Pexton’s claims are so ludicrous, in fact–so filled with transparent rage–that they shatter his credibility.

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The Washington Post’s former ombudsman, a fellow by the name of Patrick Pexton, wrote an “open letter” to the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos, with advice on personnel. Mr. Pexton goes after one individual in particular–my former COMMENTARY colleague Jennifer Rubin.

How to describe what Pexton wrote? How about intemperate and embarrassing for starters. If that judgment sounds harsh, allow me a moment to prove my case. Mr. Pexton claims that Rubin’s columns are “at best political pornography.” (One can only imagine what her less-than-best writings conjure up in Pexton’s imagination.) We’re told she “peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike.” (“Every” is quite a lot.) She is guilty of “treachery” against the Romney campaign. This isn’t an open letter; it’s an open screed. Mr. Pexton’s claims are so ludicrous, in fact–so filled with transparent rage–that they shatter his credibility.

As someone who worked on the Romney campaign, allow me to clear Rubin of the charge of treachery. Mr. Pexton has worked himself to such a lather that he apparently forgets that he once defended Rubin for statements that he now attacks her for having made. (See this piece by Slate’s David Weigel.) I also got a chuckle out of the fact that “Rubin was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer while I was ombudsman,” as if that is supposed to mean anything at all. What it undoubtedly means is that a lot of liberals complained to Pexton because Rubin is a conservative.

We’re also told that among others, “Thinking conservatives didn’t like her.” Really now? I know a lot of thinking conservatives–perhaps more than even Pexton knows–and many of them like Rubin. And even some of us unthinking conservatives like her as well. Nor does it help Pexton’s argument that during his ombudsman days, he said of Rubin, “She has excellent sources in the House and Senate leadership, and lots of Republicans read her and trust her.” 

Jennifer Rubin has been, in fact, a wonderful addition to the Post. Her writing is intelligent and informed. She isn’t afraid to engage in intra-conservative debates. She’s opinionated and fearless, a fine writer and thinker, and well plugged in to the Hill.

I have no idea what is behind Mr. Pexton’s tantrum, and I’m not all that interested in finding out. I’m happy to judge him simply on what he wrote–and what he wrote is dyspeptic nonsense.

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The Melodramatic and Self-Important World of Ruth Marcus

In her column earlier this week Ruth Marcus wrote this:

Don Graham’s decision to sell The Washington Post was his reverse Sophie’s Choice moment.

She had to decide which cherished child to save and which to send to the gas chamber. Don and the Graham family weren’t forced to make an anguishing choice but did so anyway. They relinquished the newspaper they love in order to protect it.

If the comparison sounds hyperbolic, you don’t know the Grahams.

Now I don’t know the Grahams–but yes, the comparison does sound hyperbolic to me. Worse, actually. I for one would feel rather awkward explaining to my children why I’d consider the choice between selling a newspaper and sending one of them to Auschwitz to be a coin flip. (To be clear, the Grahams didn’t use this analogy; Ruth Marcus did.)

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In her column earlier this week Ruth Marcus wrote this:

Don Graham’s decision to sell The Washington Post was his reverse Sophie’s Choice moment.

She had to decide which cherished child to save and which to send to the gas chamber. Don and the Graham family weren’t forced to make an anguishing choice but did so anyway. They relinquished the newspaper they love in order to protect it.

If the comparison sounds hyperbolic, you don’t know the Grahams.

Now I don’t know the Grahams–but yes, the comparison does sound hyperbolic to me. Worse, actually. I for one would feel rather awkward explaining to my children why I’d consider the choice between selling a newspaper and sending one of them to Auschwitz to be a coin flip. (To be clear, the Grahams didn’t use this analogy; Ruth Marcus did.)

Ms. Marcus herself is, she informs us, “reeling.” The announcement of the sale of the Post to Jeff Bezos is “the day our earth stood still.” And then she informs us of this:

My e-mail has been buzzing, my phone ringing, with family, friends, government officials, asking the same question: Are you okay? They don’t mean economically. They mean emotionally.

The answer: Not really. Because, at least for me, after three decades here, this is a moment at once hopeful and ineffably sad.

Enough already. I understand the attachment one can feel to an institution and to individuals in that institution. But the Post is not disappearing; it’s being sold to a new owner–an individual who is very wealthy and whom Don Graham carefully selected. This move was necessary and may, in fact, end up saving the Post from ruin.  

Ms. Marcus illustrates the melodrama and self-importance that some (certainly not all) journalists are afflicted with. They live in a make-believe world in which they fashion themselves as shining knights, truth tellers, exposers of corruption, defenders of the weak.

Now I happen to like the Post as a newspaper. I’m one of the shrinking number of people in the D.C. area who still subscribe to it. I admire some of its reporters. And they are home to some outstanding columnists. But it is hardly a sacred, flawless, and fearless institution. It is, in fact, liberal in its orientation. It plays favorites. It tends to back down from speaking truth to power when those in power are of the left. And while Don Graham in particular seems like a fine man, the mythic personality some of his employees have created around him and Katherine Graham is a bit creepy.

In explaining to the rest of us why the Grahams have created such a strong bond, we’re told a couple of stories, including this one. Fifteen years ago Marcus’s book group was reading Katherine Graham’s autobiography and they asked Marcus to invite Graham to attend. Take it away Ruth:

I send a note upstairs, preemptively apologetic. I’m sure you’re too busy. Please do not feel obliged.

Perhaps 15 minutes later, a call from her assistant. That date doesn’t work, would it be possible to do it the following week? Mrs. Graham came, and she stayed for hours. I think she enjoyed herself, but I also know that she did feel, in the best possible way, a sense of noblesse oblige.

And so like God descending from heaven to earth, the Great and Mighty Kay Graham deigned to meet with mere mortals to discuss an autobiography about Kay Graham–an event that all these years later is still seared in the memory and imagination of Ruth Marcus.

What Mrs. Graham did was a nice and commendable thing. But there’s no need to invest in that act quite the saintly meaning that Ms. Marcus has. If you want to understand some of what’s gone wrong with modern journalism, you should read Ruth Marcus’s column.

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Media’s Self-Infatuation on Steroids

The sale of the Washington Post is big news in the media world. The acquisition of the paper by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could have an impact on its political orientation as well as the way it reports the news, but that is something we’ll learn more about in the months to come as the purchase is finalized and the new owner installs a new management team or keeps the existing crew in place. But the main conclusion we can draw from the coverage of this event has less to do with the decline in readership that made the sale necessary than with the self-infatuation of the staff of this once-iconic daily.

Our John Podhoretz summed up the situation nicely when he noted today in the New York Post that the shift in ownership showed how the mighty are fallen. The Washington Post once lorded it over the media world of the capital with a sneering liberal prejudice that was emblematic of the bias that characterized the mainstream press of the pre-Internet era. But like every other daily that stopped being a cash cow when classified and other forms of print advertising began to dry up, the Post is just another remnant of what Rush Limbaugh aptly termed the “dead tree” media. Yet instead of soul searching about how such publications must change or die, what we have gotten instead today is a non-stop orgy of praise for a paper and a management team that have obviously failed to keep up with a changing environment. While we don’t doubt that publisher Donald Graham has his fans, the notion that he is the second coming of Sister Teresa—the official story we’ve been getting from the Post’s editors and columnists as they troop to MSNBC to sing his praises—is a bit much to take. Even more egregious was Post superstar Bob Woodward who sought to console his fellow staffers by saying that Bezos wasn’t another Rupert Murdoch. The Post should be so lucky.

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The sale of the Washington Post is big news in the media world. The acquisition of the paper by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could have an impact on its political orientation as well as the way it reports the news, but that is something we’ll learn more about in the months to come as the purchase is finalized and the new owner installs a new management team or keeps the existing crew in place. But the main conclusion we can draw from the coverage of this event has less to do with the decline in readership that made the sale necessary than with the self-infatuation of the staff of this once-iconic daily.

Our John Podhoretz summed up the situation nicely when he noted today in the New York Post that the shift in ownership showed how the mighty are fallen. The Washington Post once lorded it over the media world of the capital with a sneering liberal prejudice that was emblematic of the bias that characterized the mainstream press of the pre-Internet era. But like every other daily that stopped being a cash cow when classified and other forms of print advertising began to dry up, the Post is just another remnant of what Rush Limbaugh aptly termed the “dead tree” media. Yet instead of soul searching about how such publications must change or die, what we have gotten instead today is a non-stop orgy of praise for a paper and a management team that have obviously failed to keep up with a changing environment. While we don’t doubt that publisher Donald Graham has his fans, the notion that he is the second coming of Sister Teresa—the official story we’ve been getting from the Post’s editors and columnists as they troop to MSNBC to sing his praises—is a bit much to take. Even more egregious was Post superstar Bob Woodward who sought to console his fellow staffers by saying that Bezos wasn’t another Rupert Murdoch. The Post should be so lucky.

After all, unlike the family that owned the Post, Murdoch has generally gone from success to success in the media business and even those of his properties that are not financial powerhouses have been kept going in the name of providing alternate viewpoints to mainstream liberal echo chambers.

The willingness to take a shot at this outsider even at a moment when one of the flagships of the liberal establishment is changing hands tells us everything we need to know about the self-infatuation of the Post’s inner circle.

Instead of spending this day celebrating themselves for journalistic achievements of the past, as the WaPo and its fans are doing today, they might do better to ponder why they have been surpassed by a number of websites that provide stronger reporting on the government and politics than they have done in decades.

Anyone who wants to memorialize the Post’s golden age can just watch All the President’s Men again. Let’s hope Bezos does help revive the WaPo. But that will likely require him to think more like Murdoch than the Grahams. He should also tell the people that now work for him to stop praising themselves and start thinking about how to compete for  readers.

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No Accountability for Zakaria’s Fiction

Last summer television personality and columnist Fareed Zakaria was suspended by both TIME magazine and CNN for committing plagiarism in a piece he wrote for the Washington Post. Yet the ubiquitous voice of conventional wisdom about foreign policy was soon back in his familiar haunts undaunted by his humiliation and allowed to pretend as if nothing had happened. But the problem with Zakaria wasn’t his lack of acknowledgement of the work of others so much as it is his penchant for ignoring inconvenient facts when advocating the policies that he urges the country to adopt as if they were self-evident.

A particularly egregious example of this trait was made clear last month when Zakaria was writing about President Obama’s trip to Israel. Zakaria wrote a column that endorsed the president’s speech to Israeli youth to pressure their government to make peace with the Palestinians. While, as we pointed out at the time, this appeal was directed to the wrong side of the dispute, Zakaria was entitled to his opinion about Israelis ought to do. What he was not entitled to was his own facts about the situation.

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Last summer television personality and columnist Fareed Zakaria was suspended by both TIME magazine and CNN for committing plagiarism in a piece he wrote for the Washington Post. Yet the ubiquitous voice of conventional wisdom about foreign policy was soon back in his familiar haunts undaunted by his humiliation and allowed to pretend as if nothing had happened. But the problem with Zakaria wasn’t his lack of acknowledgement of the work of others so much as it is his penchant for ignoring inconvenient facts when advocating the policies that he urges the country to adopt as if they were self-evident.

A particularly egregious example of this trait was made clear last month when Zakaria was writing about President Obama’s trip to Israel. Zakaria wrote a column that endorsed the president’s speech to Israeli youth to pressure their government to make peace with the Palestinians. While, as we pointed out at the time, this appeal was directed to the wrong side of the dispute, Zakaria was entitled to his opinion about Israelis ought to do. What he was not entitled to was his own facts about the situation.

Zakaria wrote the following in support of his belief that the Israelis should go the extra mile and start making concessions:

After all, Israel has ruled millions of Palestinians without offering them citizenship or a state for 40 years.

As anyone who has paid even cursory attention to the conflict in the last generation, this is patently false.

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians statehood and independence in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem in July 2000 at Camp David. Yasir Arafat refused it to the chagrin of President Bill Clinton, who thought the offer would win him the Nobel Peace Prize he coveted. The Israelis repeated the offer the following January at Taba with advantages and got the same answer. In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made an even more generous offer of statehood that gave the putative state of Palestine even more territory. Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas fled the talks rather than be forced to give an answer.

One may argue that Israel’s offers were insufficient, even though doing so means taking a position that goes far beyond the parameters for peace that President Obama has endorsed and which would compromise Israeli security as well as its rights. Anti-Zionists can say that an offer of separate Palestinian statehood that requires them to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn is unreasonable. But you can’t claim that Israel hasn’t made any offers of statehood and retain credibility.

Unless, that is, your name is Fareed Zakaria.

When Israeli blogger Jeffrey Grossman pointed this blatant error out, Zakaria could have quickly and quietly corrected the record and moved on. He did not. And when Grossman wrote to Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, he received the following reply:

The history of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is contentious and, as I’m sure you know, subject to widely differing interpretation. Mr. Zakaria’s statement is within the bounds of acceptable interpretation for an opinion columnist.

The response of Hiatt, who has a well-earned reputation for fairness, is puzzling. After all, as Grossman has pointed out, not even the Palestinians claim they haven’t received an offer of statehood. They just say it wasn’t nearly good enough, especially since it didn’t include the poison pill they demand of every negotiation—a “right of return” for the descendants of the refugees of Israel’s War of Independence.

No one is saying that Zakaria isn’t within his rights to dismiss Israel’s offers, but he can’t ignore them and stay “within the bounds of acceptable interpretation.” His comments were not couched with language that gave him any wriggle room about the facts. If the Israelis have made offers—and they have—he’s made an error that requires a correction.

Of course, the reason why he won’t willingly make such a correction because reminding readers that Israel has tried and failed to entice the Palestinians to end the conflict by trading land for peace undermines the fallacious narrative of Zionist intransigence that he’s trying to promote. That’s a point that President Obama acknowledged in the very speech Zakaria was endorsing in his column.

Zakaria plays an authority about foreign policy on television but the closer you look at his views, the shakier his claim to expertise looks. Opinion columnists who need to doctor the facts in order to make their points aren’t merely wrong, they are charlatans of the sort that makes plagiarism look benign. The Post, which stood by Zakaria when he was embarrassed by his shoddy practices last year, needs to hold him accountable.

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Murdoch, “Jewish-Owned Press” and Israel

It ended almost before it started, but the kerfuffle over Rupert Murdoch’s tweet about the way some publications cover Israel is still worth considering. The controversy was over something the media magnate posted on Twitter last night. The tweet, which has since been deleted, said the following: “Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” The response from some in the liberal media was instant and ferocious. Peter Beinart wrote this was an accusation that some Jewish publishers and journalists are nothing less than self-hating Jews because they express their Jewish identity via hostility to Israel. To him, that combined a lot of “idiocy and nastiness into 140 characters.”

Murdoch, clearly stung, deleted the tweet and then posted the following on Twitter:

Let’s specify that any references to the “Jewish owned press” in a public forum are unfortunate since that phrase smacks of anti-Semitic myths about the media being controlled by a Jewish cabal. That is true even if the person saying it is the living proof that non-Jews actually control a lot more of the media than any Jew. The generalization Murdoch used about such publications being “consistently anti-Israel” also has all the faults that are usually associated with any broad generalization in that it was imprecise. Not all Jewish-owned publications are anti-Israel, and even those that are not exactly friendly to the Jewish state cannot be said to be perfectly consistent in that stance. Even more to the point, the Jewish identity of some of Murdoch’s fellow media barons may be so tenuous that it is arguable that their biases have little to do with their ethnic and/or religious origins.

And yet it must still be said that there was enough of the truth in Murdoch’s poorly phrased tweet to make some of Israel’s Jewish media critics howl.

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It ended almost before it started, but the kerfuffle over Rupert Murdoch’s tweet about the way some publications cover Israel is still worth considering. The controversy was over something the media magnate posted on Twitter last night. The tweet, which has since been deleted, said the following: “Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” The response from some in the liberal media was instant and ferocious. Peter Beinart wrote this was an accusation that some Jewish publishers and journalists are nothing less than self-hating Jews because they express their Jewish identity via hostility to Israel. To him, that combined a lot of “idiocy and nastiness into 140 characters.”

Murdoch, clearly stung, deleted the tweet and then posted the following on Twitter:

Let’s specify that any references to the “Jewish owned press” in a public forum are unfortunate since that phrase smacks of anti-Semitic myths about the media being controlled by a Jewish cabal. That is true even if the person saying it is the living proof that non-Jews actually control a lot more of the media than any Jew. The generalization Murdoch used about such publications being “consistently anti-Israel” also has all the faults that are usually associated with any broad generalization in that it was imprecise. Not all Jewish-owned publications are anti-Israel, and even those that are not exactly friendly to the Jewish state cannot be said to be perfectly consistent in that stance. Even more to the point, the Jewish identity of some of Murdoch’s fellow media barons may be so tenuous that it is arguable that their biases have little to do with their ethnic and/or religious origins.

And yet it must still be said that there was enough of the truth in Murdoch’s poorly phrased tweet to make some of Israel’s Jewish media critics howl.

I imagine Beinart was not incorrect to assume that the primary “Jewish owned press” outlet that Murdoch was thinking of was the New York Times that yesterday led with a front-page op-ed masquerading as a news analysis that mischaracterized the reasons for Israel’s “toughness.” He might also have been thinking about the Jewish ties of the family that has long owned the Washington Post that published this front page the other day. In that context, it wasn’t unreasonable for the non-Jewish Murdoch to wonder why these papers as well as much of the liberal media are often so reflexively hostile to Israel’s cause even when it is clearly the aggrieved party, as it is this week after Hamas rocket attacks set off the current conflict.

In response, Beinart only sees a foolish observer assuming that Jewish publishers should sacrifice their journalistic integrity when covering Israel and assume the pose of Zionist cheerleaders.

But that is not what Murdoch or many other media critics are talking about. Quite the contrary; in the last 30 years we have often seen mainstream publications ditching their integrity to unfairly bash Israel.

Part of Beinart’s own pose as a Jewish critic of Israel is the claim that taking the position that the Jewish state must be saved from itself is so unpopular that it takes courage to stray from the AIPAC playbook. But anyone who has observed the way the media works knows that the opposite is true. The easiest way for any self-identified Jewish writer to get published on the op-ed page of the Times or to get prominent notice in most other mainstream publications is to attack Israel. Indeed, at times it seems the only papers that do regularly publish defenses of Israel against these unfair attacks are the ones Murdoch owns.

Let’s assume that all those who treat Israel unfairly or show bias against it are doing so with motives that are pure as the driven snow. Let us further assume, as we probably should, that all those Jews who do so are not self-hating Jews but just ignorant, blinded by ideology or just as misguided as Beinart.

But let’s not pretend that any journalist who takes such a stance, or a publisher who puts out a newspaper or magazine where Israel is harshly treated, is being brave. Far from it, running with the pack baying for Israel’s blood is the path of least resistance in mainstream media culture.

Under these circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that many Jews as well as some non-Jews like Murdoch are given to wondering aloud about why so many Jews in the business are so little moved by Israel’s predicament and so inclined to rationalize the actions of the Jewish state’s foes.

As usual, Beinart has it backwards. Far from wanting Jews in journalism to jettison their professional obligations, what media critics want is for them to return to a position of integrity and to tell the story of the Middle East conflict more accurately. If they did, media bias against Israel wouldn’t be as much of a factor as it is today.

Though Murdoch expressed this sentiment poorly, he was a lot closer to the truth of the situation than the bile that Beinart directed at him.

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How WaPo Covered Operation Pillar of Defense

The Washington Post’s front page this morning:

In the photo, a Palestinian stringer for BBC cradles his son, who was reportedly killed during Operation Pillar of Defense. The corresponding story briefly mentions the Hamas rocket attacks, but focuses mainly on Israel’s “intense air offensive” that could “paralyze the Gaza Strip” and result in “all-out conflict.”

Innocent casualties of war are a tragedy, and this is especially true when they are children.

But what the Washington Post doesn’t emphasize in its corresponding story is that the Israeli military launched this operation specifically because its citizens in the south, including children, live under constant threat from Hamas rocket fire — hundreds can rain down in a single day. These attacks regularly result in injuries and deaths, and recently forced more than a million Israelis into bomb shelters. While these stories may get a blurb on page three or four, they are rarely given front page coverage.

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The Washington Post’s front page this morning:

In the photo, a Palestinian stringer for BBC cradles his son, who was reportedly killed during Operation Pillar of Defense. The corresponding story briefly mentions the Hamas rocket attacks, but focuses mainly on Israel’s “intense air offensive” that could “paralyze the Gaza Strip” and result in “all-out conflict.”

Innocent casualties of war are a tragedy, and this is especially true when they are children.

But what the Washington Post doesn’t emphasize in its corresponding story is that the Israeli military launched this operation specifically because its citizens in the south, including children, live under constant threat from Hamas rocket fire — hundreds can rain down in a single day. These attacks regularly result in injuries and deaths, and recently forced more than a million Israelis into bomb shelters. While these stories may get a blurb on page three or four, they are rarely given front page coverage.

There are terrible casualties on both sides; three Israeli civilians were killed this morning by Hamas missile attacks. The difference is that Hamas aims for civilians, and Israel does not. And the Washington Post’s front page seems almost intended to give readers the impression that the Israeli military randomly decided to go into Gaza this week because it felt like killing children.

At the Spectator, David Blackburn writes:

The Post’s front page reinforces the fact that Israel has a public relations problem when it retaliates in Gaza; a fact that friends of Israel ought to accept.

My colleague Douglas Murray is right to assert that the western media often applies a double standard when reporting Israeli and Palestinian casualties: the suffering of Israeli citizens is not given the coverage it deserves. This bias skews the tragic human story of Israel and Palestine to benefit Hamas, an organisation whose bloodcurdling charter makes clear that it has no interest in a peaceful solution to the problem. Other terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip also benefit, which provides further complication.

There is a deep-seated media double-standard here. And while it can sometimes be subtle, it certainly shapes the coverage of the conflict.

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Ted Cruz Takes on DC Gimmickry

In the post-Tim Russert age, Sunday morning political talk shows are rarely revelatory or particularly educational. But that wasn’t the case yesterday for Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and Senate nominee, who got an education in the ways of Washington. Cruz appeared on Russert’s old program, “Meet the Press,” along with the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and a few other commentators.

Cruz is a Tea Party favorite, which means sending an “outsider” to Washington was important to his appeal. And he was presented with a pristine example of the Beltway nonsense he would be up against when he and Dionne got into a brief argument over the two parties’ different takes on the budget. Dionne insisted President Obama is a serious man with a serious plan, and thus put forth a serious budget, in keeping with his overall seriousness. Because the president’s plans are manifestly unserious, Cruz said so, and asked Dionne how many votes the president’s budget received in the Senate. Here is the exchange that followed:

MR. DIONNE:  Well, that’s– that is a side issue because…

MR. CRUZ:  It got zero votes.  Not a Democrat…

MR. DIONNE:  No, no, Obama…

MR. CRUZ:  …in the Senate voted for it.

MR. DIONNE:  Yes, because…

MR. CRUZ:  Not one.

MR. DIONNE:  …the vote was put up there as a political matter.

You’ll have to go to the program’s web page to watch the video, and I highly recommend it, because the look on Cruz’s face when Dionne said this was absolutely priceless. Cruz understands Washington business-as-usual well enough to run against it, but he seemed genuinely shocked, not that liberal pundits would believe what Dionne was saying, but that they would say it out loud.

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In the post-Tim Russert age, Sunday morning political talk shows are rarely revelatory or particularly educational. But that wasn’t the case yesterday for Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and Senate nominee, who got an education in the ways of Washington. Cruz appeared on Russert’s old program, “Meet the Press,” along with the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and a few other commentators.

Cruz is a Tea Party favorite, which means sending an “outsider” to Washington was important to his appeal. And he was presented with a pristine example of the Beltway nonsense he would be up against when he and Dionne got into a brief argument over the two parties’ different takes on the budget. Dionne insisted President Obama is a serious man with a serious plan, and thus put forth a serious budget, in keeping with his overall seriousness. Because the president’s plans are manifestly unserious, Cruz said so, and asked Dionne how many votes the president’s budget received in the Senate. Here is the exchange that followed:

MR. DIONNE:  Well, that’s– that is a side issue because…

MR. CRUZ:  It got zero votes.  Not a Democrat…

MR. DIONNE:  No, no, Obama…

MR. CRUZ:  …in the Senate voted for it.

MR. DIONNE:  Yes, because…

MR. CRUZ:  Not one.

MR. DIONNE:  …the vote was put up there as a political matter.

You’ll have to go to the program’s web page to watch the video, and I highly recommend it, because the look on Cruz’s face when Dionne said this was absolutely priceless. Cruz understands Washington business-as-usual well enough to run against it, but he seemed genuinely shocked, not that liberal pundits would believe what Dionne was saying, but that they would say it out loud.

You would think that the number of votes received by the president’s budget would be important, and that the president’s party would think that, since they control the Senate and since the GOP-led House has been passing budgets, they should pass a budget as well. But you would be wrong. Cruz is living in the real world, where you need concrete budgets to operate. Dionne explained to him that, first, the number of votes a budget receives is “a side issue,” and second, the only reason to put the president’s budget up for a vote is to play some kind of trick on him. The Republicans offered to have a clean vote on the president’s own budget because, well, they’re a bunch of meanies. Welcome to Washington.

In the fantasy world of liberal pundits, you don’t need to pass a budget, or enact real-world solutions to problems. You just have to make a series of grand political gestures infused with partisan demagoguery and call it “governing.” As it happens, the weekend was bookended by this behavior. On Friday, the Obama campaign, apparently without shame or a shred of self-awareness, told the Romney campaign that if Mitt Romney releases five years of tax returns the Obama campaign will stop asking for more tax returns:

“If the governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign,” Mr. Messina wrote to Matt Rhoades, Mr. Romney’s campaign manager.

Again, it’s understandable that the Obama campaign does not want to have a serious conversation about the issues, but why be so open about it? Perhaps because the press will keep writing these stories for them, so why not? What the Obama campaign letter meant, of course, is that they will criticize Romney for whatever they find in those five years of tax returns relentlessly, while their allies “outside” the campaign, like Harry Reid, continue to attack the Romney campaign—uncoordinated, they swear!—for not releasing more.

As Alana wrote on Friday, this is an indication the Obama campaign is running out of ways to change the subject. If they cannot change the subject, they will have more conversations like the one between Dionne and Cruz. And that simply can’t be good for the Obama campaign.

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New Defense of Obama Tactics: Blame Bush

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, to his credit, can’t quite bring himself to equate the Obama campaign’s insinuations that Mitt Romney is culpable in the death of innocents with the Romney campaign’s attacks on President Obama’s controversial welfare executive order. But he does happen to have another justification of the Obama campaign’s rhetorical excesses, and it’s one that should come naturally to Obama: it’s all Bush’s fault.

“What’s different this time,” Milbank writes, “is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success.” And what finally pushed the Democrats over the edge was the defeat of John Kerry. Milbank writes that Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, who was caught making false claims about the now-infamous murder ad and her role in orchestrating that line of attack, was especially affected by that election. He writes:

Eight years ago, Cutter was a staffer on the Kerry campaign when the candidate was undone by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on his war record. Cutter, like other Democrats, learned a hard truth back then: Umbrage doesn’t win elections. Ruthlessness does.

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The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, to his credit, can’t quite bring himself to equate the Obama campaign’s insinuations that Mitt Romney is culpable in the death of innocents with the Romney campaign’s attacks on President Obama’s controversial welfare executive order. But he does happen to have another justification of the Obama campaign’s rhetorical excesses, and it’s one that should come naturally to Obama: it’s all Bush’s fault.

“What’s different this time,” Milbank writes, “is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success.” And what finally pushed the Democrats over the edge was the defeat of John Kerry. Milbank writes that Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, who was caught making false claims about the now-infamous murder ad and her role in orchestrating that line of attack, was especially affected by that election. He writes:

Eight years ago, Cutter was a staffer on the Kerry campaign when the candidate was undone by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on his war record. Cutter, like other Democrats, learned a hard truth back then: Umbrage doesn’t win elections. Ruthlessness does.

Now, Milbank gets much about the Kerry election wrong–and as Jonathan wrote, he isn’t the only one to try to use the Swift Boat veterans against the GOP this time–but he’s right in his conclusion: negative campaigning tends to be effective, and the Obama campaign is far more concerned with winning than adhering to honest electioneering. It may be true that Cutter learned from the Kerry debacle to turn this campaign into a carnival of obscene personal attacks and extraordinarily irresponsible unfounded accusations—but that’s not the case with the president.

As Victor Davis Hanson wrote at NRO, Obama knows the “Chicago way” works because he’s never run any other kind of campaign:

Obama demolished his U.S. Senate Democratic primary rival through leaked divorce records. He demolished his initial Republican rival through leaked divorce records. When he got through with Hillary Clinton, the liberal former first lady and U.S. senator had transmogrified into a prevaricating hack and veritable racist, as Bill Clinton lamented the race card being played. John McCain released his health records and his general dismal ranking at Annapolis, leading to a false narrative that he was naturally inattentive and reckless, and scarcely hale, while Obama released neither his medical nor his college records; as Sarah Palin — heretofore a reformist governor of Alaska who in bipartisan fashion had fought special interests — was reduced to a caricature of an uninformed poor (and trashy) mom. All of the above transpired while Barack Obama ran as a “reformer” and proponent of “civility,” who vowed to run a “transparent” campaign of full disclosure, and to leave the old “petty” and “gotcha” politics behind.

The fiction that Democrats like to tell themselves about the 2004 Bush-Kerry election grows out of their refusal to admit what everybody knew: Kerry was an absurd candidate, produced by a bizarre primary season. In the end, they nominated for president a man who made a big show of tossing away his Vietnam War ribbons and smearing his fellow soldiers—to challenge a wartime president, no less. To compensate for this, that nomination took place, as Andrew Ferguson wrote in COMMENTARY, “in a hall festooned with so much military paraphernalia and overrun by so many saluting veterans that you might have thought you were watching a Latin American coup.”

It is also the case that Kerry didn’t think much of the American people he was asking to lead, and it showed. In one of Matt Taibbi’s columns about the 2004 election, he writes that he noticed Kerry was using a quote from George Bernard Shaw in his speeches,

but he always introduces it by saying, “He (Ted Kennedy) quoted the poet who said…” When I asked a Kerry spokesman why Kerry didn’t just say the poet’s name out loud, he told me that the average voter might be confused by the mention of too many academic references.

It turned out that the “average voter” was smarter than Kerry gave him credit for—smart enough to vote against Kerry. The sooner the Democrats make peace with Kerry’s failed candidacy, the better. There are many things Obama was able to blame on Bush, but the negativity of this election isn’t one of them.

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WaPo Finds Israel, Reality “Puzzling”

The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson has published his account of Mitt Romney’s trip abroad, focusing on the GOP candidate’s time in Israel. It is an editorial disguised as a story–common for presidential campaigns–and includes snarky asides unworthy of lefty blog posts, let alone newspaper reporting. But the crux of the problem for Wilson is identified in the headline: he calls Romney’s comments about Palestinian culture “puzzling.” Because he does not quote anyone in the story calling those comments “puzzling,” it’s clear from the context that Wilson is the puzzled one.

So let’s help him out a bit. Of Romney’s comments on Palestinian culture as one factor in the lagging Palestinian economy, Wilson writes:

The assessment is one not widely shared within Israel, and suggested a lack of sustained study or nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

Wilson does not provide any attribution to back that statement up, probably because it is demonstrably false. It is, in fact, quite easy to find those in Israel and their democratically-elected government officials expressing this idea. But perhaps we should ask the Palestinians what they think. In 1994, at the beginning of the Oslo process but decades after the Six-Day War created the current geopolitical setting, Eyad El-Sarraj, the founder and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, wrote the following:

Palestinians have to address taboos and bring into the open ideological, cultural and political weaknesses which have infiltrated their national movement and seriously damaged their individual and collective awareness. They have to address their dependency on the outside world, their self-indulgent image of the victim, their own cycle of violence and oppression, their conflict between religious and secular identity, and the erosion of their national identity. Above all they have to confront the loss of the dream of liberating all of Palestine and the accompanying grief. They will have to exercise democratic debate and respect the right to oppose. Only then will a new style of political and community leadership evolve.

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The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson has published his account of Mitt Romney’s trip abroad, focusing on the GOP candidate’s time in Israel. It is an editorial disguised as a story–common for presidential campaigns–and includes snarky asides unworthy of lefty blog posts, let alone newspaper reporting. But the crux of the problem for Wilson is identified in the headline: he calls Romney’s comments about Palestinian culture “puzzling.” Because he does not quote anyone in the story calling those comments “puzzling,” it’s clear from the context that Wilson is the puzzled one.

So let’s help him out a bit. Of Romney’s comments on Palestinian culture as one factor in the lagging Palestinian economy, Wilson writes:

The assessment is one not widely shared within Israel, and suggested a lack of sustained study or nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

Wilson does not provide any attribution to back that statement up, probably because it is demonstrably false. It is, in fact, quite easy to find those in Israel and their democratically-elected government officials expressing this idea. But perhaps we should ask the Palestinians what they think. In 1994, at the beginning of the Oslo process but decades after the Six-Day War created the current geopolitical setting, Eyad El-Sarraj, the founder and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, wrote the following:

Palestinians have to address taboos and bring into the open ideological, cultural and political weaknesses which have infiltrated their national movement and seriously damaged their individual and collective awareness. They have to address their dependency on the outside world, their self-indulgent image of the victim, their own cycle of violence and oppression, their conflict between religious and secular identity, and the erosion of their national identity. Above all they have to confront the loss of the dream of liberating all of Palestine and the accompanying grief. They will have to exercise democratic debate and respect the right to oppose. Only then will a new style of political and community leadership evolve.

Last year, Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem were asked, in a final peace deal in which all Israeli control and stewardship over the West Bank would cease and the new Palestinian state called East Jerusalem its sovereign capital, would they rather be citizens of Israel or Palestine? Respondents were also asked if they would move elsewhere in Israel specifically to avoid having to live under Palestinian rule. A plurality responded in favor of Israeli citizenship, even if they had to move. Why?

When asked to provide the top reasons they chose one citizenship over the other, those who chose Israeli citizenship stressed freedom of movement in Israel, higher income, better job opportunities and Israeli health insurance.

So there would be much more economic opportunity in Israel, even once the Palestinians were freed from the “occupation.” We could go on, but you get the point. As I said: Wilson’s claim is demonstrably false, as Professor Google would have told him immediately. Does Wilson quote anyone at all in the story, you ask? Yes he does:

“This really is an election about the economy,” said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a nonprofit organization that promotes a two-state solution to the conflict.

Now, Ibish is a prolific Mideast commentator and has every right to register his opinion with reporters. But perhaps Ibish could have been balanced with an additional quote from someone with a slightly different perspective on ethnic conflict. After all, this is what Ibish thinks of Israel:

The system of ethnic discrimination imposed by military force and Israel’s “civil administration” in the occupied territories is by far the most extreme form of discriminatory abuse anywhere in the world today.

And you thought Darfur was bad! In any case, Wilson doesn’t need to quote a lot of “experts,” because he just offers his opinions. Here is a paragraph that belongs in the Newseum:

Romney’s advisers have argued that Obama — who ended the Iraq war, ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden and emphasized alliances at a time of austerity at home — is vulnerable in the area of foreign policy. Recent polling disagrees.

Wilson does not put quotes around that paragraph nor attribute it to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Perhaps that will be added to an updated version of the story. Until then, we can only hope the Post finds the Middle East slightly less puzzling in the future.

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RE: The Striking Bias of the Washington Post

Just to add a few observations to Pete’s right-on post regarding the Washington Post’s hit-job on Romney, it should be noted, as reported by Brietbart, that the Post misquoted one of the main sources for the story. The paper reported that a fellow student had been bothered by the incident for years, but it turns out that he only heard about it this year. The Post, hiding its journalistic misfeasance, made a silent correction to its website regarding this.

The subject of the incident, John Lauber, died in 2004, but his sisters have issued a statement objecting to the story: “The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family.” Said another sister, “If he were alive today, he would be furious [about the story].”

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Just to add a few observations to Pete’s right-on post regarding the Washington Post’s hit-job on Romney, it should be noted, as reported by Brietbart, that the Post misquoted one of the main sources for the story. The paper reported that a fellow student had been bothered by the incident for years, but it turns out that he only heard about it this year. The Post, hiding its journalistic misfeasance, made a silent correction to its website regarding this.

The subject of the incident, John Lauber, died in 2004, but his sisters have issued a statement objecting to the story: “The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family.” Said another sister, “If he were alive today, he would be furious [about the story].”

Mitt Romney also says that he does not recall the incident.

Well, having spent four (wonderful) years at a school not unlike Cranbrook at that time, I can tell that something is seriously amiss here. Boys boarding schools, at least in this country (English schools are quite different), are inward looking island universes, in effect maximum security prisons for the over privileged. The faculty constantly patrols the dorms, school buildings, and athletic facilities. Nothing of significance happens that isn’t known to everyone, including the faculty, within hours if not minutes.

To be sure, there is much roughhousing, and unpopular boys can have a hard time of it. Surely even the editors of the Washington Post know that boys will be boys. But any incident in which a boy was seriously assaulted, as described in the article, would have resulted in big trouble for all concerned and, undoubtedly, life-long memories. Trust me, being hauled before the headmaster to explain yourself is as close as a 16-year-old prep-school student ever wants to come to Judgment Day. He’d remember it.

So I suspect this was a minor incident or practical joke that the Washington Post tried to turn into a major one for reasons having nothing to do with reporting the news.

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Tip for WaPo: Look Into Young Joe Biden

Now that the childhood hijinks of our national candidates are fair game, the Washington Post might want to devote some investigative resources toward the background of Vice President Joseph Biden. That’s right, “Sheriff Joe” was reportedly involved in a spate of anti-social activities as a child and adolescent, including but not limited to elaborate neighborhood pranks, street brawls, and even an assault on a lowly dorm employee in college.

From the book What It Takes: The Way to the White House, a story of the 1988 presidential election by reporter Richard Ben Cramer, a troubling snapshot of young Biden emerges:

Once Joey [Biden] set his mind, it was like he didn’t think at all—he just did. That’s why you didn’t want to fight him. Most guys who got into a fight, they’d square off, there’d be a minute or so of circling around, while they jockeyed for position. Joey didn’t do that. He decided to fight … BANGO—he’d punch the guy in the face. Joe was kind of skinny, and he stuttered, and the kids called him Bye-Bye, for the way he sounded when he tried to say his name. But Joey would never back down, and he knew how to box, when no one else did. …

Even after he left, after Mr. Biden got the job selling cars in Wilmington and moved the family away, Charlie Roth would still (in moments of duress) tell guys that his friend Joey Biden would come back and beat them up, if they didn’t watch out. (When Joe did come back, Charlie always had a list.)

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Now that the childhood hijinks of our national candidates are fair game, the Washington Post might want to devote some investigative resources toward the background of Vice President Joseph Biden. That’s right, “Sheriff Joe” was reportedly involved in a spate of anti-social activities as a child and adolescent, including but not limited to elaborate neighborhood pranks, street brawls, and even an assault on a lowly dorm employee in college.

From the book What It Takes: The Way to the White House, a story of the 1988 presidential election by reporter Richard Ben Cramer, a troubling snapshot of young Biden emerges:

Once Joey [Biden] set his mind, it was like he didn’t think at all—he just did. That’s why you didn’t want to fight him. Most guys who got into a fight, they’d square off, there’d be a minute or so of circling around, while they jockeyed for position. Joey didn’t do that. He decided to fight … BANGO—he’d punch the guy in the face. Joe was kind of skinny, and he stuttered, and the kids called him Bye-Bye, for the way he sounded when he tried to say his name. But Joey would never back down, and he knew how to box, when no one else did. …

Even after he left, after Mr. Biden got the job selling cars in Wilmington and moved the family away, Charlie Roth would still (in moments of duress) tell guys that his friend Joey Biden would come back and beat them up, if they didn’t watch out. (When Joe did come back, Charlie always had a list.)

A list of children to beat up! That means there are documents, assuming they haven’t already been destroyed. WaPo could find this list and potentially interview the victims. Surely there are some stories there that could give us crucial insight into these vaguely sociopathic flare-ups.

But there’s more. According to What It Takes, Biden apparently also led neighborhood boys in carrying out what he would call “pranks” – and what current law might call “willful and malicious destruction of property” – against an innocent elderly neighbor:

Joe always had an idea. … If their notion of a summer evening’s prank was to put a bag of dogshit on old man Schutz’s doorstep, Joey would say, “No, here’s what we’ll do. You know behind my house, where they got all those little trees? Get a shovel …” And they did: they went out with shovels and planted a forest of saplings on Mr. Schutz’s lawn. It was so much more elaborate—all thought out, the way Joey had it figured.

And later, the book recounts a story about how Biden was put on student probation in college for apparently assaulting a resident adviser with fire extinguisher fluid. Tampering with fire safety equipment? Now we’re moving into federal offense territory:

And before that, University of Delaware, where he only screwed around, trying to be Joe College—got probation for dousing the dorm director with a fire extinguisher. … Then there were hijinks from high school, streaking the parking lot. … They were getting back to childhood sins, stuff where the priest says, “Two Hail Marys” … but Joe was still talking.

Okay, so maybe these incidents all sound innocent enough. But that’s probably just because we haven’t heard from victims or aggrieved outside witnesses with axes to grind. What did that hapless RA do to deserve getting sprayed down with a fire extinguisher, anyway? What about “old man Schutz” – how could he possibly remove all those trees from his lawn on his own? Yes, it will be tough to track down information on these cases considering they took place more than 50 years ago. But if WaPo’s investigative team has shown us anything, it’s that the paper has what it takes to get to the bottom of pressing national issues like these.

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The Striking Bias of the Washington Post

I wanted to add to what Alana and Jonathan wrote about the nearly endless front page story in today’s Washington Post.

The title of the story is “Romney’s pranks could go too far.” Indeed they could. As Ed Morrissey wrote, what Mitt Romney, then in prep school, did — clip the bleached-blond hair of a high school student while he was pinned to the ground and crying for help – is pretty cruel. “It’s one reason not to vote for a teenager for president,” according to Morrissey.

As for other things that could go too far, in addition to Barack Obama’s admitted drug use, we could add to the list Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, Bill Ayers’s domestic terrorism, and Obama’s support as a state senator for infanticide, to name just three. But did the Washington Post devote 5,000 words to each of those stories? Did it devote 5,000 words to all of those stories combined? I doubt it.

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I wanted to add to what Alana and Jonathan wrote about the nearly endless front page story in today’s Washington Post.

The title of the story is “Romney’s pranks could go too far.” Indeed they could. As Ed Morrissey wrote, what Mitt Romney, then in prep school, did — clip the bleached-blond hair of a high school student while he was pinned to the ground and crying for help – is pretty cruel. “It’s one reason not to vote for a teenager for president,” according to Morrissey.

As for other things that could go too far, in addition to Barack Obama’s admitted drug use, we could add to the list Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, Bill Ayers’s domestic terrorism, and Obama’s support as a state senator for infanticide, to name just three. But did the Washington Post devote 5,000 words to each of those stories? Did it devote 5,000 words to all of those stories combined? I doubt it.

What the three of us are saying is that the Post was noticeably more indifferent to things from Obama’s past – at least those things that might not reflect well on him — than they appear to be when it comes to Romney’s past. Consider this story a preview of coming attractions.

The Washington Post is home to some outstanding reporters and columnists. But it is also a newspaper with a decidedly liberal bent (which is why Obama says he respects it and the New York Times so much). And today’s breathless front page essay (posted online yesterday) on Romney the Mean-Spirited Prankster simply confirms that most of the press, which was embarrassingly one-sided in Obama’s favor in 2008, hasn’t evolved much since then.

None of this is surprising. But that doesn’t make it any less striking.

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Liberal Slurs of Conservative Motives Par for the Course

Greg Sargent is the liberal blogger for the Washington Post. He recently expressed his barely uncontained fury at Republicans, and Mitt Romney in particular, for daring to impugn Barack Obama’s motives. “Republicans react with bloody screams of outrage whenever Dems suggest that they might be trying to sabotage the recovery in order to harm Obama politically and make it easier for them to recapture the White House,” according to Sargent. “Yet here Romney has now made an even broader charge, arguing that Obama is making policy decisions across the board that he ‘knows’ are ‘counter to the interests of the country,’ including major decisions involving war and  national security.”

Sargent concludes this way: “When Romney falsely claims that Obama apologized for America, insinuates that we should find his values suspect, and implies that we should be vaguely suspicious intentions towards the country [sic], it’s routinely treated a ‘part of the game.’ Now that Romney has taken this line of attack to its ultimate conclusion, I’m not expecting the reaction to be any different.”

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Greg Sargent is the liberal blogger for the Washington Post. He recently expressed his barely uncontained fury at Republicans, and Mitt Romney in particular, for daring to impugn Barack Obama’s motives. “Republicans react with bloody screams of outrage whenever Dems suggest that they might be trying to sabotage the recovery in order to harm Obama politically and make it easier for them to recapture the White House,” according to Sargent. “Yet here Romney has now made an even broader charge, arguing that Obama is making policy decisions across the board that he ‘knows’ are ‘counter to the interests of the country,’ including major decisions involving war and  national security.”

Sargent concludes this way: “When Romney falsely claims that Obama apologized for America, insinuates that we should find his values suspect, and implies that we should be vaguely suspicious intentions towards the country [sic], it’s routinely treated a ‘part of the game.’ Now that Romney has taken this line of attack to its ultimate conclusion, I’m not expecting the reaction to be any different.”

I’ve addressed the issue of political discourse and impugning motives before. And people can link to Sargent’s blog to see the case Romney made for his judgments (including the fact that Obama’s decision to withdraw in September 2012 more than 30,000 troops in the midst of the fighting season in Afghanistan, and made contrary to every military commander’s recommendation, makes no military sense). For now I’ll simply say that Sargent’s outrage appears to be – what shall we say? – highly selective. After all, President Obama makes a point of impugning the motives of Republicans in almost every speech and interview he does these days, including his recent “60 Minutes” interview, in which he said of GOP opposition to his tax proposals: “And I could not get Republicans to go ahead and say, ‘You’re right. We’re gonna put country ahead of party.’” (Obama also takes delight in saying that Republicans are eager to have children with autism and Down syndrome “fend for themselves.”)

This is a common Obama refrain – that unlike our high-minded, unstained, pure-of-heart president, Republicans are putting their party ahead of their country and making major policy decisions they know are counter to the interests of the country. But this charge goes uncommented upon by almost everyone in the press, including Sargent.

How curious.

As for Obama’s charge that Republicans want “dirty air and dirty water,” Sargent betrays the arrogance of reactionary liberalism, which assumes that if one opposes their policies one must expect – indeed they must want — the worst possible outcome. So the only way to a healthy environment is to embrace the regulations that Obama’s administration has implemented; to do anything less means you are wishing destruction upon Earth. I recall similar arguments being made about welfare reform in the 1990s. If you embraced reform, you wanted poor people to suffer. Conservatism was a form of sociopathy. Compassion was synonymous with reactionary liberalism.

In fact, welfare reform, by virtually every objective measure, helped the poor. From the high-water mark of 1994, the national welfare caseload declined by more than 60 percent during the course of a decade. Not only did the numbers of people on welfare plunge, but, in the wake of the 1996 welfare-reform bill, overall poverty, child poverty, black child poverty, and child hunger all decreased, while employment figures for single mothers rose. Welfare reform ranks  among the most successful social reforms of the last 50 years. And yet liberals excoriated conservatives for favoring reform, criticizing not only their policies but their motivations.

And it continues to this day, as Obama demonstrates at almost every political stop. Now that Obama has taken this line of attack to its ultimate conclusion, I’m not expecting Sargent’s reaction to be any different than it has been in the past: support for Obama or complicit silence. I’ll leave it to others to judge what motivations may be driving Greg Sargent.

 

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What Was Perry Supposed to Do?

Here is what accusations of racism in America have come to. According to a column by Jonathan Capehart in this morning’s Washington Post, Rick Perry is “associated” with a hunting camp “widely known” as Niggerhead — he “had no problem” with it, you see — and that is “beyond troubling.” End of his candidacy. End of his respectability.

True, there is no evidence at all — none whatever — that Perry ever used the term, ever referred to the camp by it, ever spoke the word aloud, or ever did anything other than painting over the name and laying flat the rock on which it appeared. You might think the efforts to obscure the name suggest that Perry did have a problem with it. You’d be wrong. To be contaminated with racism, all Perry needs is to be “associated” with a name that doesn’t even appear on U.S. topographic maps.

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Here is what accusations of racism in America have come to. According to a column by Jonathan Capehart in this morning’s Washington Post, Rick Perry is “associated” with a hunting camp “widely known” as Niggerhead — he “had no problem” with it, you see — and that is “beyond troubling.” End of his candidacy. End of his respectability.

True, there is no evidence at all — none whatever — that Perry ever used the term, ever referred to the camp by it, ever spoke the word aloud, or ever did anything other than painting over the name and laying flat the rock on which it appeared. You might think the efforts to obscure the name suggest that Perry did have a problem with it. You’d be wrong. To be contaminated with racism, all Perry needs is to be “associated” with a name that doesn’t even appear on U.S. topographic maps.

No journalist can write like Capehart and be taken seriously. The first responsibility of a writer is to be as clear and exacting as possible. Capehart, though, intentionally resorts to vagueness, because he knows for a fact he cannot specify the nature of Perry’s offense. Perry did not name the camp, he did not own the camp, and he cannot travel back in time to change the name before his family leased it. The most Capehart can charge Perry with is being “associated” with the name, although he never takes the trouble to spell out exactly what that means or why it is so terrible. If it is found that Perry once borrowed a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the Cushing Library at Texas A&M University, is he then “associated” with Mark Twain’s use of the word nigger throughout the book?

The truth is Capehart’s irresponsibility is far worse than anything Perry is accused of. If nothing else, Capehart forgives himself from asking the basic question. What exactly was Perry supposed to do? To ask the question, though, is to answer it. Short of repudiating his father for signing the lease and refusing ever to step foot on the property — easy things to ask of someone else — there is nothing more Perry could have done. When a journalist avoids asking a question out of fear the answer will sink his story, he has crossed the line and become a propagandist.

“[I]t is crucial that Perry address the issue forthrightly,” Capehart huffs — but the truth is he owes an explanation to the readers of the Post. And an apology to Rick Perry.

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Bad Day at Racist Rock

I am still trying to figure out why the “news” that Rick Perry’s father once held a deer lease on a 1,700-acre hunting camp known to locals as “Niggerhead” is a national story. By the Washington Post’s own account, “the name does not appear on U.S. topographic maps” and could not be found “in a database maintained by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.” No one can remember Perry’s using the name, although it was evidently painted on a five-foot-by-three-foot rock beside the entrance to the camp. When he was a state legislator in the mid- to late-1980s, according to the Post, Perry “began hosting spring turkey shoots and other hunts for supporters and fellow legislators.” By then, however, the name had been painted over and the rock turned flat. On that score, pretty much everyone is in agreement.

Nevertheless, Gawker was “not surprised” to learn about “Perry’s old hunting ground.” The Huffington Post raised the inevitable question whether Perry is “racially insensitive.” The Village Voice chortled that “the phrase ‘Niggerhead’ will now always be associated with the Perry campaign,” and ran a photo with a caption that was far more “racially insensitive” than anything Perry is accused of.

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I am still trying to figure out why the “news” that Rick Perry’s father once held a deer lease on a 1,700-acre hunting camp known to locals as “Niggerhead” is a national story. By the Washington Post’s own account, “the name does not appear on U.S. topographic maps” and could not be found “in a database maintained by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.” No one can remember Perry’s using the name, although it was evidently painted on a five-foot-by-three-foot rock beside the entrance to the camp. When he was a state legislator in the mid- to late-1980s, according to the Post, Perry “began hosting spring turkey shoots and other hunts for supporters and fellow legislators.” By then, however, the name had been painted over and the rock turned flat. On that score, pretty much everyone is in agreement.

Nevertheless, Gawker was “not surprised” to learn about “Perry’s old hunting ground.” The Huffington Post raised the inevitable question whether Perry is “racially insensitive.” The Village Voice chortled that “the phrase ‘Niggerhead’ will now always be associated with the Perry campaign,” and ran a photo with a caption that was far more “racially insensitive” than anything Perry is accused of.

Even Perry’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination piled on. Herman Cain said Perry showed a “lack of sensitivity.” Mitt Romney told Sean Hannity the name is “offensive.”

I am still trying to figure out what Perry was supposed to do. Rebuke his father for signing the original lease? Refuse to have anything to do with the place? The Perry family did not own the hunting camp and could not “rename” it by some kind of magical authority, as Cain and others are suggesting. Nor is there any evidence Perry or his father even referred to the camp by that name. That others did so, and that the Perrys did not take some unspecified action to stop them, are sufficient grounds for insinuating racism, I guess.

The whole episode reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield, the phoniness-sniffing hero, sees “F–k you” written on a wall and tries to rub it out with his hand. It won’t come off. “If you had a million years to do it in,” he says in resignation, “you couldn’t rub out even half the ‘F–k you’ signs in the world.” All Holden succeeded in doing was to earn a reputation for “profanity” and “obscenity.”

American culture has become so hypersensitive to certain offensive words, spotted in isolation like rare birds, that all feeling for language, all sense of moral proportion, is being lost.

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Soros Cites Israel as Main Obstacle to Democracy in Egypt

In a Washington Post column today, George Soros seems quite optimistic about democracy taking root in Egypt — that is, as long as the Egyptians are able to overcome the Israel obstacle:

The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks.

Really? Of all the problems facing Egypt in terms of building a democracy — Islamist groups, cultural intolerance, the violent pro-Mubarak rioters, etc. — Soros sees Israel as the main stumbling block?

The left-wing financier also doesn’t miss a chance to take a shot at Israel supporters in the U.S. (including AIPAC) and ends up sounding like a J Street press release, circa 2008, in the process:

And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.

The talk about AIPAC no longer being “monolithic” was no doubt meant to be a shout-out to J Street. Of course, Soros can’t even bring himself to say the organization’s name straight out. After J Street’s humiliating public implosion over the past year (in which Soros played a major role), he probably realized how ridiculous it would sound.

In a Washington Post column today, George Soros seems quite optimistic about democracy taking root in Egypt — that is, as long as the Egyptians are able to overcome the Israel obstacle:

The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks.

Really? Of all the problems facing Egypt in terms of building a democracy — Islamist groups, cultural intolerance, the violent pro-Mubarak rioters, etc. — Soros sees Israel as the main stumbling block?

The left-wing financier also doesn’t miss a chance to take a shot at Israel supporters in the U.S. (including AIPAC) and ends up sounding like a J Street press release, circa 2008, in the process:

And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.

The talk about AIPAC no longer being “monolithic” was no doubt meant to be a shout-out to J Street. Of course, Soros can’t even bring himself to say the organization’s name straight out. After J Street’s humiliating public implosion over the past year (in which Soros played a major role), he probably realized how ridiculous it would sound.

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Pro-Mubarak Demonstrators Attack Reporters

Pro-Mubarak protesters in Egypt may have been following government instructions when they attacked members of the media today, according to the Jerusalem Post. Journalists from Sweden and Israel have allegedly been detained by the Egyptian government, and CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper and his news crew were physically assaulted by the pro-government rioters:

Two Swedish reporters were held for hours on Wednesday by Egyptian soldiers accusing them of being Mossad spies, the reporters’ employer, daily newspaper Aftonbladet, reported.

The soldiers reportedly attacked the reporters, spitting in their faces and threatening to kill them.

Four Israeli journalists were arrested by Egyptian military police in Cairo on Wednesday. Three of those arrested work for Channel 2 and the fourth is from Nazareth.

In addition, renowned CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper and his news crew were roughed up by mobs favoring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, as were Washington Post reporters. Cooper was reportedly punched in the head ten times.

Another CNN correspondent said that pro-government rioters were instructed to target the press.

The State Department has tweeted a statement condemned the attacks, saying that “We are concerned about detentions and attacks on news media in Egypt. The civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press.” But the U.S. really needs to issue a much harsher condemnation on this. Not only is the Egyptian government now acting in direct defiance of Obama administration requests for nonviolence; it also appears that it may have instructed pro-Mubarak mobs to attack Americans. Based on this latest crackdown on the news media, and the recent suspension of Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau, it’s growing even clearer that Mubarak has no interest in pursuing the democratic reforms the U.S. has been calling for.

Pro-Mubarak protesters in Egypt may have been following government instructions when they attacked members of the media today, according to the Jerusalem Post. Journalists from Sweden and Israel have allegedly been detained by the Egyptian government, and CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper and his news crew were physically assaulted by the pro-government rioters:

Two Swedish reporters were held for hours on Wednesday by Egyptian soldiers accusing them of being Mossad spies, the reporters’ employer, daily newspaper Aftonbladet, reported.

The soldiers reportedly attacked the reporters, spitting in their faces and threatening to kill them.

Four Israeli journalists were arrested by Egyptian military police in Cairo on Wednesday. Three of those arrested work for Channel 2 and the fourth is from Nazareth.

In addition, renowned CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper and his news crew were roughed up by mobs favoring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, as were Washington Post reporters. Cooper was reportedly punched in the head ten times.

Another CNN correspondent said that pro-government rioters were instructed to target the press.

The State Department has tweeted a statement condemned the attacks, saying that “We are concerned about detentions and attacks on news media in Egypt. The civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press.” But the U.S. really needs to issue a much harsher condemnation on this. Not only is the Egyptian government now acting in direct defiance of Obama administration requests for nonviolence; it also appears that it may have instructed pro-Mubarak mobs to attack Americans. Based on this latest crackdown on the news media, and the recent suspension of Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau, it’s growing even clearer that Mubarak has no interest in pursuing the democratic reforms the U.S. has been calling for.

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About Those ‘Likudniks’

The theory that a powerful cabal of Jewish intellectuals pressured President Bush into launching wars on behalf of Israel is one that’s become associated with the anti-Semitic political fringe. But it wasn’t long ago that this idea was being promoted in mainstream publications — for example, the 2003 Washington Post cover story entitled “Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.”

The article was about a so-called group of “Likudniks” — loyalists to the right-wing Israeli government — who allegedly pulled the foreign-policy strings in the Bush administration. According to the report, the faction included Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams.

“Some Middle East hands who disagree with these supporters of Israel refer to them as ‘a cabal,’ in the words of one former official,” reported the Post. “Members of the group do not hide their friendships and connections, or their loyalty to strong positions in support of Israel and Likud.”

“The Likudniks are really in charge now,” the story quoted an anonymous senior U.S. official as saying.

In certain circles, the term Likudnik has been used interchangeably with neoconservative, and both have carried allegations of dual loyalty to Israel.

“What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel,” wrote Pat Buchanan in the American Conservative. “They want the peace of the sword imposed on Islam and American soldiers to die if necessary to impose it.”

Obviously, these charges were nonsense. And this is illustrated, once again, by the very different positions the Israeli government and neoconservatives have taken on the crisis in Egypt.

As Max has pointed out, Israel has come out in support of the Mubarak regime:

The newspaper said Israel’s foreign ministry told its diplomats to stress that it is in “the interest of the West” and of “the entire Middle East to maintain the stability of the regime in Egypt.”

“We must therefore curb public criticism against President Hosni Mubarak,” the message sent at the end of last week said, according to Haaretz.

The newspaper said the message was sent to Israeli diplomats in at least a dozen embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries.

And yet the alleged “Likudniks” from the Bush administration haven’t been out disseminating pro-Mubarak propaganda of some sort on Fox News.

Instead, Abrams has come out strongly in support of the Egyptian people. As have Wolfowitz and Feith. In fact, neoconservatives are overwhelmingly in favor of democratic reform in Egypt, just as they were under Bush. And that makes the old allegations of dual loyalty look even more shameless.

The theory that a powerful cabal of Jewish intellectuals pressured President Bush into launching wars on behalf of Israel is one that’s become associated with the anti-Semitic political fringe. But it wasn’t long ago that this idea was being promoted in mainstream publications — for example, the 2003 Washington Post cover story entitled “Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.”

The article was about a so-called group of “Likudniks” — loyalists to the right-wing Israeli government — who allegedly pulled the foreign-policy strings in the Bush administration. According to the report, the faction included Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams.

“Some Middle East hands who disagree with these supporters of Israel refer to them as ‘a cabal,’ in the words of one former official,” reported the Post. “Members of the group do not hide their friendships and connections, or their loyalty to strong positions in support of Israel and Likud.”

“The Likudniks are really in charge now,” the story quoted an anonymous senior U.S. official as saying.

In certain circles, the term Likudnik has been used interchangeably with neoconservative, and both have carried allegations of dual loyalty to Israel.

“What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel,” wrote Pat Buchanan in the American Conservative. “They want the peace of the sword imposed on Islam and American soldiers to die if necessary to impose it.”

Obviously, these charges were nonsense. And this is illustrated, once again, by the very different positions the Israeli government and neoconservatives have taken on the crisis in Egypt.

As Max has pointed out, Israel has come out in support of the Mubarak regime:

The newspaper said Israel’s foreign ministry told its diplomats to stress that it is in “the interest of the West” and of “the entire Middle East to maintain the stability of the regime in Egypt.”

“We must therefore curb public criticism against President Hosni Mubarak,” the message sent at the end of last week said, according to Haaretz.

The newspaper said the message was sent to Israeli diplomats in at least a dozen embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries.

And yet the alleged “Likudniks” from the Bush administration haven’t been out disseminating pro-Mubarak propaganda of some sort on Fox News.

Instead, Abrams has come out strongly in support of the Egyptian people. As have Wolfowitz and Feith. In fact, neoconservatives are overwhelmingly in favor of democratic reform in Egypt, just as they were under Bush. And that makes the old allegations of dual loyalty look even more shameless.

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Activists Find It’s Easier to Slur Peter King than to Look in the Mirror

Ever since Rep. Peter King announced his plans to hold hearings on the influence of radical Islam on the rise of homegrown terrorism in this country, he has been subjected to a furious backlash from groups purporting to represent American Muslims and their cheerleaders in the media. In today’s Washington Post, his critics take the fight to his home ground in the form of a profile of a Long Island mosque that is represented as a peaceful congregation of perplexed King constituents who don’t know why their congressman is doing them harm.

But while the intent of the article seems to be to cast aspersions on King’s hearings, the result is not entirely flattering to the supposedly “moderate” Muslims who are angry with him. As it turns out, King was a supporter of the Westbury, N.Y., mosque and once received an award from it for his advocacy on behalf of U.S. intervention to save Bosnian Muslims. But the love affair between King and the Islamic Center of Long Island ended when leaders of the mosque reacted to the 9/11 atrocities by denying that Muslims took part in the crime, instead blaming it on Israel. In other words, far from being a source of genuine moderation, this mosque was just another venue for the anti-Zionist and anti-American conspiracy theories and hatred that are the bedrock of Islamist ideology that fuels homegrown terrorism.

King has now become the target of false charges of Islamophobia and McCarthyism, but rather than stirring up hate against Islam, what he has done is to challenge American Muslims to stand up and participate in the fight against terror. Instead, groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, which are lauded as representing “mainstream” Islam, are actually urging their members not to cooperate with federal terror probes. This is a development that proves King’s point about the need to highlight the ideological support that terrorists and their fellow travelers and apologists are getting from mosques and Muslim groups.

Instead of working hard to reinforce the myth that Muslims are being subjected to a post-9/11 discriminatory backlash, King’s Muslim critics should be devoting their energies to creating an American Islam that is hostile to Islamism and supportive of government efforts to fight it. King rightly describes arguments put forward to spike his hearings as “politically correct nonsense,” but the problem goes deeper than just an aversion to hurting the feelings of certain groups. At the heart of this fight is a false narrative of both how followers of Islam have been treated since 9/11 and the way in which American Muslim institutions have been compromised by Islamist tendencies. Unless and until the truth about both subjects is fully aired, it is Rep. King and not the troubling way mosques have been used to rationalize and support terror that will continue to be the subject of press scrutiny.

Ever since Rep. Peter King announced his plans to hold hearings on the influence of radical Islam on the rise of homegrown terrorism in this country, he has been subjected to a furious backlash from groups purporting to represent American Muslims and their cheerleaders in the media. In today’s Washington Post, his critics take the fight to his home ground in the form of a profile of a Long Island mosque that is represented as a peaceful congregation of perplexed King constituents who don’t know why their congressman is doing them harm.

But while the intent of the article seems to be to cast aspersions on King’s hearings, the result is not entirely flattering to the supposedly “moderate” Muslims who are angry with him. As it turns out, King was a supporter of the Westbury, N.Y., mosque and once received an award from it for his advocacy on behalf of U.S. intervention to save Bosnian Muslims. But the love affair between King and the Islamic Center of Long Island ended when leaders of the mosque reacted to the 9/11 atrocities by denying that Muslims took part in the crime, instead blaming it on Israel. In other words, far from being a source of genuine moderation, this mosque was just another venue for the anti-Zionist and anti-American conspiracy theories and hatred that are the bedrock of Islamist ideology that fuels homegrown terrorism.

King has now become the target of false charges of Islamophobia and McCarthyism, but rather than stirring up hate against Islam, what he has done is to challenge American Muslims to stand up and participate in the fight against terror. Instead, groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, which are lauded as representing “mainstream” Islam, are actually urging their members not to cooperate with federal terror probes. This is a development that proves King’s point about the need to highlight the ideological support that terrorists and their fellow travelers and apologists are getting from mosques and Muslim groups.

Instead of working hard to reinforce the myth that Muslims are being subjected to a post-9/11 discriminatory backlash, King’s Muslim critics should be devoting their energies to creating an American Islam that is hostile to Islamism and supportive of government efforts to fight it. King rightly describes arguments put forward to spike his hearings as “politically correct nonsense,” but the problem goes deeper than just an aversion to hurting the feelings of certain groups. At the heart of this fight is a false narrative of both how followers of Islam have been treated since 9/11 and the way in which American Muslim institutions have been compromised by Islamist tendencies. Unless and until the truth about both subjects is fully aired, it is Rep. King and not the troubling way mosques have been used to rationalize and support terror that will continue to be the subject of press scrutiny.

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