A sure sign that Jews control the media is that someone like Alan Dershowitz can get away with trotting out totally lame arguments in the mainstream media against the idea that Jews control the media. (Do Jews Control the Media?) It’s an example of Orwell’s idea of blackwhite: “a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.”
Dershowitz’s basic point is that yes, there are “individual Jews” with influence in the media, as well as the law, finance, and academia. His phrase “individual Jews” is meant to indicate that they are people “who happen to be Jewish.” They do not “act together in a conspiratorial manner.”
If he means that Jews in the media do a Protocols-of-the-Elders-of-Zion thing where they get their marching orders from Abe Foxman, I would have to agree with him. But the fact is that in general Jews do not act simply as individuals. There is a shared vision that influences the attitudes and behavior of individual Jews. As I note in summarizing J. J. Goldberg, “There is a great deal of consensus on broad Jewish issues, particularly in the areas of Israel and the welfare of other foreign Jewries, immigration and refugee policy, church-state separation, abortion rights, and civil liberties” (see Jewish Power, p. 5). Indeed, the consensus on these issues among Jewish activist organizations and the Jewish intellectual movements reviewed here despite a great deal of disagreement on other issues is striking.These attitudes typify the entire Jewish political spectrum, from the mainstream Jewish left to the neoconservative Jewish right, and in general, the Jewish profile on these issues is quite different from other Americans. Massive changes in public policy on these issues coincide with the period of increasing Jewish power and influence in the United States.
Philip Weiss points out that Dershowitz himself has emphasized general Jewish goals, particularly the defense of Israel. And he presents examples of Jews in the media who see themselves as promoting Israel or who actively exclude points of view critical of Israel. To which I would add the comment by Eric Alterman about Martin Peretz, publisher of The New Republic: “It is not enough to say that TNR’s owner is merely obsessed with Israel; he says so himself. But more importantly, Peretz is obsessed with Israel’s critics, Israel’s would-be critics, and people who never heard of Israel, but might one day know someone who might someday become a critic.”
Dershowitz gives the New York Times as an example of a Jewish-owned media, noting that is critical of Israel. But in general, the Times’ coverage has been highly skewed toward Israel, as documented by Alison Weir’s If Americans Knew. Weiss gives the well-known quote from former editor Max Frankel: The NYT’s former executive editor Max Frankel wrote, “I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.”
A recent Forward article recounts the firings of Rick Sanchez, Octavia Nasr, and Helen Thomas for their comments on Jewish issues. It points out that “Jews have done more than other groups to make it clear that they will not suffer lightly the public slights like those made by Sanchez — let alone by those with even bigger mouths, like Mel Gibson. As Foxman put it, ‘We are a community that is sensitive, and — have no doubt — we’ll respond.’ ‘
Right. But at least we know what the game is. The truth will be suppressed with all the power that the Jewish community can bring to bear. The message is out that anyone who wishes to have a career in the media must play by these rules or look for another line of work.