Now executive editor at the Guardian, the work of Jonathan Freedland (1967– ) may not be greatly familiar to TOO readers, at least when compared to some other high-profile Jewish journalists active in the United States. However, it is for precisely that reason that I felt he should number among the earliest of the individuals I will discuss in this planned series of case files.
Journalism and a strong sense of Jewish identity seem to run in the Freedland blood. Jonathan is the son of Michael Freedland (1934– ), a biographer and journalist who specializes in Hollywood biographies and recently produced the scathing anti-McCarthy screed Witch Hunt in Hollywood: McCarthyism’s War on Tinseltown. The basic thesis of Witch Hunt in Hollywood is that Sen. Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Affairs Committee were engaged in an irrational and purely “anti-Semitic” purge of Hollywood. The elder Freedland wrote: “For Communist read Jew. … The hearings were as (some would say more) anti-Semitic as anti-Communist. Hollywood was chosen for the attack because of the great publicity value the movie capital offered. It was also a great opportunity to get at the Jews of Hollywood.” Freedland Senior is also one of those Jews who, as Kevin MacDonald elucidates in CofC, viewed supporters of McCarthy as “intellectual and cultural primitives.”
The younger Freedland began his own writing career at the short-lived Sunday Correspondent, a London newspaper backed by Rothschild Ventures, and which also launched the career of current Newsnight editor Ian Katz. In 1990 Freedland joined the BBC, working as a news reporter across radio and television. In the summer of 1992, he was awarded the Laurence Stern fellowship at The Washington Post, serving as a staff writer on the national news section. In what almost appears like the choreography of their careers, Freedland’s Sunday Correspondent cohort Ian Katz received the same fellowship the following year. Freedland became Washington Correspondent for The Guardian in 1993, remaining in that post until 1997. On his return Freedland launched an attack on British traditions and the system of constitutional monarchy, in his Bring Home the Revolution: The Case for a British Republic (1998). One of Freedland’s primary inspirations was that he felt that, unlike most European states, America “most — though not all — of its citizens feel like they belong.” The “old” Britain, symbolized in the monarchy and out of touch with its citizens, should be annihilated. Read more »