Anti-Defamation League

Your “Say What?” Update

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus stands on stage at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Here’s a proposition: About one-third of our body politic will attend an all-expenses paid trip to Israel, chaperoned by an anti-Jewish political advocacy group; what could possibly go wrong?

If you’re just picking up on the story, Ben Schreckinger brings us the latest version, in which we pause to consider how the right wing is responding. Because, you know, between the RNC, its premillennial dispensationalist evangelical bloc, and pro-Israeli hardliners, nobody could have foreseen this particular conflict arising, could they? Oh, the poor right wing. Actually, that’s not really fair. But you’ll note that no part of Schreckinger’s article―not even the parts covering the Anti-Defamation League―has anything to say about the AFA’s anti-Judaic posturing.

In interviews with POLITICO on Monday, evangelical leaders and right-leaning groups said the national party showed poor judgment at best in associating with “extremists,” as evangelical Alan Noble described the groups. AFA has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center — a description it has disputed.

“It creates a problem of the RNC appearing to pander to the most extreme elements of the religious right,” said Warren Throckmorton, a lifelong Republican and conservative evangelical leader from Pennsylvania.

Said Noble, managing editor of the evangelical publication Christ and Pop Culture and an assistant professor at Oklahoma Baptist University: “I’m at a loss for why they think that this is a good idea. It’s disappointing. As someone who is conservative and evangelical, I think there are a lot of conservative evangelical groups that the RNC can work with … that are not extreme and hurtful and un-Christian.”

And if that is enough of a temptation to actually dig into the story, Rachel Maddow actually ran a couple segments last week:

“American Family Association fires Bryan Fischer ahead of RNC trip to Israel” (28 Jan. 2015)

“Religious bigotry haunts group hosting RNC (29 Jan. 2015)

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Schreckinger, Ben. “Right attacks RNC over Israel trip”. Politico. 2 February 2015.

Your Liberal Media Conspiracy

Glenn Greenwald explains:

CNN yesterday ended the 20-year career of Octavia Nasr, its Atlanta-based Senior Middle East News Editor, because of a now-deleted tweet she wrote on Sunday upon learning of the death of one of the Shiite world’s most beloved religious figures: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah . . . . One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” That message spawned an intense fit of protest from Far Right outlets, Thought Crime enforcers, and other neocon precincts, and CNN quickly (and characteristically) capitulated to that pressure by firing her. The network—which has employed a former AIPAC official, Wolf Blitzer, as its primary news anchor for the last 15 years—justified its actions by claiming that Nasr’s “credibility” had been “compromised.” Within this episode lies several important lessons about media “objectivity” and how the scope of permissible views is enforced.

First, consider which viewpoints cause someone to be fired from The Liberal Media. Last month, Helen Thomas’ 60-year career as a journalist ended when she expressed the exact view about Jews which numerous public figures have expressed (with no consequence or even controversy) about Palestinians. Just weeks ago, The Washington Post accepted the “resignation” of Dave Weigel because of scorn he heaped on right-wing figures such as Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh. CNN’s Chief News Executive, Eason Jordan, was previously forced to resign after he provoked a right-wing fit of fury over comments he made about the numerousand obviously disturbingincidents where the U.S. military had injured or killed journalists in war zones. NBC fired Peter Arnett for criticizing the U.S. war plan on Iraqi television, which prompted accusations of Treason from the Right. MSNBC demoted and then fired its rising star Ashleigh Banfield after she criticized American media war coverage for adhering to the Fox model of glorifying U.S. wars; the same network fired its top-rated host, Phil Donahue, due to its fear of being perceived as anti-war; and its former reporter, Jessica Yellin, confessed that journalists were “under enormous pressure from corporate executives” to present the news in a pro-war and pro-Bush manner.

What each of these firing offenses have in common is that they angered and offended the neocon Right. Isn’t that a strange dynamic for the supposedly Liberal Media: the only viewpoint-based firings of journalists are ones where the journalist breaches neoconservative orthodoxy? Have there ever been any viewpoint-based firings of establishment journalists by The Liberal Media because of comments which offended liberals? None that I can recall. I foolishly thought that when George Bush’s own Press Secretary mocked the American media for being “too deferential” to the Bush administration, that would at least put a dent in that most fictitious American myth: The Liberal Media. But it didn’t; nothing does, not even the endless spate of journalist firings for deviating from right-wing dogma.

So here we have another example of the Liberal Media Conspiracy charging forward at reckless speed. Yet another journalist has fallen from grace for holding and communicating opinions too liberal for the … uh … Liberal Media Conspiracy.

Er … yeah. That makes sense. Right?

Anyone?