New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner took some friendly fire from the paper’s Public Editor Arthur Brisbane in his Sunday column, “Tangled Relationships in Jerusalem.” Brisbane forwarded complaints from a left-wing anti-Israeli blogger about Bronner's business relationship with a conservative Israeli, Charley Levine. But Bronner's history of slanted reporting, especially his hostile coverage of "angry rampag[ing]" Jewish settlers in the West Bank, proves he can hardly be credibly accused of sympathizing with Israeli conservatives.
Conflict of interest, or the appearance of it, is poisonous in journalism. This is particularly so when it relates to reporting on Israel and the Palestinians, a subject that draws a steady stream of skepticism about New York Times coverage from readers and partisans on all sides.
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
When the far-left finds a character to assassinate, it doesn't let facts get in the way. That, at least, is the lesson we can draw from the latest bout of liberal character assassination, this one aimed at James O'Keefe.
The slandering of his reputation has occurred mostly at Salon.com, the Village Voice, and an obscure hard-left organization called the One People's Project. Together, they have waged an all-out war on James O'Keefe's character by associating him with supposedly racist people and organizations. Just one problem: their claims are predicated on falsehoods, exaggerations, and assumptions (but mostly just falsehoods).
Max Blumenthal, who penned the Salon piece, and the stalwart non-journalists at OPP (the Village Voice, for its part, issued a mild retraction) alleged that O'Keefe had helped to organize a gathering of "anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism." They also claimed (and produced a cropped picture that could not possibly validate this claim) that O'Keefe had manned the literature table at the event.
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
On Friday’s edition of "Democracy Now" on (taxpayer-funded) radical Pacifica Radio, leftist writer Max Blumenthal promoted his new book "Republican Gomorrah," complete with the bizarre theory that the Grand Old Party is a movement based on sadomasochism, that James Dobson’s book "Dare to Discipline" was essential: "By creating a belt-wielding army of milllions, Dobson created the next generation of Republican shock troops, who are more radical than before."
Under this theory, Dobson found in Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay men who were viciously abused boys who were ready for his message: "Dobson has been able to get close to and work with in the Republican Congress and in American culture who have been viciously abused as children. And he understood that by advocating violence against children, deliberate violence, he was creating this sensibility, which would produce a radical generation of political followers."
Blumenthal was interviewed by Pacifica co-host Juan Gonzalez, a columnist for the New York Daily News.
CNN's "Newsroom" apparently can't get enough of Max Blumenthal. Less than four hours after their 5-minute infomercial on Blumenthal latest left-wing hack job on Sunday evening, host Rick Sanchez and correspondent Josh Levs did another segment promoting the "expose" on College Republicans. Sanchez and Levs continued to "conveniently omit" the liberal associations of Blumenthal, not even mentioning Blumenthal's posting of his video on the Huffington Post, as they did in their first segment. Sanchez was even open about where he stood on the issue of young Republican "chicken hawks." "As you watch these guys – and I think most people at home would agree -- there seems to be a certain hypocritical nature to this. I mean, they're so boastful when they talk about supporting the war, and yet sheepish when it comes to actually doing something about it."
Not only did segment reporter Josh Levs fail to identify many of Blumenthal’s left-wing associations (other than the fact that posted his video on the Huffington Post, which is not identified as a liberal website), he tried to cover for Blumenthal by stating that the left-wing writer "really rejects that radical left-wing label" after the co-chair of the College Republicans called Blumenthal part of "a bunch of radical left-wing people." "Newsroom" anchor Rick Sanchez closed the segment with a clip of an earlier interview where he posed Blumenthal’s question to three Republican college students earlier this month.