MSM self-censorship on the Israel issue
Tonight Chris Matthews used the retirement of Joe Lieberman as an opportunity to bash the “neocons” for the Iraq war. Matthews landed on Lieberman’s disgraceful answer to Pat Buchanan’s question on Morning Joe today, saying the Iraq war was worth it because of WMD and Al Qaeda and Saddam’s threat to the region. Matthews said this was all BS. He said that Saddam posed no threat apart from his support for “Hamas.”
Obviously Matthews thinks that Lieberman was thinking about Israel’s security, not the U.S.’s security. But you still can’t say this in the MSM. You can bash the NRA over the Tucson shootings, but you can’t talk about the role of the Israel lobby in our foreign policy. You can just think about it. Like Chris Matthews.
On this note, orthodoxy and self-censorship, I’d point out that Michelle Goldberg, who interviewed me for Tablet this week (the piece is here, I hear it’s mixed, still haven’t read it, I’m weird that way) asked me if I’d been worried for my career when I started being as critical of Israel as I am. I said Yes, and it had hurt my career. Goldberg made the same point a couple years back at the 92d Street Y: “Everybody knows that if you write certain things [about Israel] you put yourself beyond the pale of certain publications. And not just the obvious ones like the New Republic. I mean you take a certain stance and you consign yourself to the loony left. I think that is maybe becoming less and less true.” Goldberg said she has been told on some occasions, “You can’t write something,” and there “is a degree of self-censorship as well.”
The other day a friend told me of his conversation with a financial journalist in the MSM who had expressed sympathy for the Palestinians. He asked her why she didn’t write about it. She said, a, I figure I’m not going to be able to help them so they’re not losing anything by my silence, and b, even though I write financial journalism, if I take a strong stand on this issue, I might be blacklisted or brown-listed by publications for any work at all… (Consigned to looniness, to quote Goldberg.)
When Walt and Mearsheimer’s book came out, they said the same thing. Many journalists came up to them privately to express agreement, but said that it was career-cyanide to speak out about it.