Individual ideological biases
No human is immune from being influenced by their own background, which includes of course political and religious affiliation, ideological leanings, individual experiences, and association with others (family, friends, colleagues, chance encounters). Media professionals are no different.
It is possible to find traditional sympathies of misinformed Evangelical Christians who thought of the ingathering of the Jews as a fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy (jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggert).
There have always been three brands of Zionists operating in America to advance Zionist interests:
1) Extremists willing to engage in violence and destruction (e.g. Jewish Defense League which is designated a terrorist organization) and hundreds of individuals who engage in other illegal acts ranging from email fraud to sabotage of property and communications of human rights advocates.
2) Those who are up in your face, aggressive and openly demonizing of Arabs and Muslims, and
3) Those who put out the "liberal" face and work diligently to advance Zionists interests behind the scenes.
The latter two categories are ones not easily known to most Americans. The two categories are not an example of the "good cop"/"bad cop" strategy. It is more of a visible versus invisible lobbyist and the invisible ones are probably far more effective. Visible lobbyists include AIPAC, rated by Fortune magazine in the top five lobbies in America. Visible lobbyists also include people like Alan Dershowitz (who just published "The Case for Israel" a book of plagiarization from another phony book, "from Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, see http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/id143.htm ). They include Daniel Pipes, a hate monger who is so out of whack that he wrote once "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene... All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." For more on Pipes, see
Visible lobbyists include the influential employees and leaders ADL and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). ADL, a group that defames Arabs and Muslims while claiming to be "anti-defamation" spied on American citizens in the 1980s and had to settle a legal case on this and today continues to try to silence any critics of Israel by defaming them as "anti-Semitic". The ranks of the visible lobbyists include Mort Zuckerman (editor in Chief of US News and World Report), columnists like Thomas Friedman and Charles Krauthammer and Jeff Jacoby. There are literally hundreds of those folks openly and unabashedly advocating for Israeli apartheid. Being a free and open society, no one questions the right of such folks to advance their allegiances by legal methods available to them.
Mortimer Zuckerman, the editor in chief of Newsweek wrote this in one of his editorials (8/13/01):
The New York Times, the newspaper of record, has published a long article by its outgoing Jerusalem correspondent, Deborah Sontag, which basically implies that everyone was to blame for the negotiation failures and that therefore no one really, and especially the Palestinians, can be held accountable. This is an unlovely example of the False Objectivity Syndrome. ...Fortunately, two leading Times columnists, William Safire and Tom Friedman, have a very different view. Safire rightly asserts that Arafat and only Arafat launched the violence. And Friedman earlier this year wrote: "There was an Israeli leader for a fair historic compromise, but no Palestinian equivalent.' ...To the cynicism, there is no end. The ostensible Palestinian position is incredible. There can be peace, the Palestinians say, only if refugees from the 1948-49 war and their descendants can return to the territory that is now part of Israel. Arafat recently called this so-called right of return a "sacred right." Let us be clear here. For Palestinians, peace is not a matter of adjusting borders and territories but of eliminating the Jewish state. The right of return is not a humane proposal; it is tantamount to eradicating Israel by demographic subversion...."
Zuckerman is on the board of advisors of the pro-Zionist Washington Institute on Near East Studies (see Chapter xxx). In the quote above he conveniently fails to mention that Sontag is a reporter whereas both Friedman and Saffire are both COMMENTATORS (and known pro-Zionist). In his lengthy article Zuckerman refutes none of the facts presented in Sontag's article but instead he simply cries foul on media coverage. Our activists sent dozens of letters to Newsweek addressing this biased column and none were published.
The real difference between the New York Times and papers like the New York Post and Newsweek is that they actually are directed towards two brands of Zionism roughly corresponding to Labor and Likud party philosophies. Hence, criticism of Likud policies can be found in the New York Times. In his memoirs, Max Frankel, an editor with New York Times for 20 some years described how his own columns sometimes raffled many who attacked him for his criticism of Israel (really only Israeli policies under Begin). But then we find this quote from his book:
"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. And I wrote in confidence that The Times no longer suffered from any secret desire to deny or overcome its ethnic roots." ("The Times of My Life: And my Life with The Times," Random House, New York, 1999 p. 403)
The second group of lobbyists has their own careers in different fields ranging from medicine to economics to politics. They do not make a visible career of advocating for Apartheid Israel but step in at the "right" moments to ensure Israeli apartheid/hegemonic interests are protected through their other activities. Those include people like Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard University who made statements condemning the nascent movement on campuses for divestment from the Apartheid State of Israel. They include Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz who managed to push their agenda of the war on Iraq to maintain Israeli military hegemony (see http://www.al-awda.org/thewaroniraq ). They include key members of the very influential "think tanks" in Washington DC like the American Enterprise Institute. They include politicians like Senators Shumer and Lieberman (leading the anti-Arab crusade on Capitol Hill). They include far lesser known figures who insert themselves at crucial times in the groups they are involved in to argue for example that they are for "peace" but against the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands. Some are even in civil rights and social service organizations. They advocate human and civil rights in all areas except for Palestinians. Some like Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun may talk about vague concepts of two state solutions (similar to the South African concept of "homelands" for blacks) but adamantly resist basic human rights and international law.
Many in progressive causes are familiar with the lobbying tactics used. They can vary significantly but they usually involve nice words about peace but vicious and strong objections to using any economic pressure on Israel to reverse its apartheid policies (thus those invisible lobbyists argue against the non-violent methods of boycotts and divestments). They also oppose categorically internationally recognized rights of refugees to return to their homelands arguing instead or a need to maintain the "Jewish character" of the state of Israel. This of course means maintaining the racist laws. These laws ensure 90% of the land is off limit to non-Jews and open for settlement to any Jew from any where in the world. They include laws giving automatic citizenship to any Jew (including converts) while denying it to people born and raised there simply for being Christian or Muslim.
Progressive insitutions in the US are heavily infested by those who are definetly not progessive when it coems to Israel and Zionism.. their tribal affinities shien through. It is thus not suprising that Matthew Rotschild, editor of "The Progressive" magazine participates in villifying Dr. Norman Finkelstein. http://www.counterpunch.org/halle06162007.html
Such less visible lobbyists can become extremely aggressive if need be and will use any tool available to them to advance their cause. The most visible tool they use is the charge of "anti-Semitism". In the case of Jews who speak out for human rights, they are labeled "self-hating Jews" and targeted by smear and isolation campaigns (e.g. against Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein). Non-Jews who dare step out of line are cornered and sometimes defeated. Cynthia McKinney lost her seat in Congress and several editors and journalists were fired (see Congressman Paul Findley's revealing book "They Dare to Speak Out"). Thus, for many yeas in America, there was this perception that a wall exists protecting foreign special interests which is so impenetrable that it hopeless to try to deal with it. Yet, those who built and jealously maintain this wall get so self-confident and arrogant with power that they do not realize that the vast majority of humanity is now on the other side of the wall and it is chipping away. Desperate but rather misdirected and foolish measures were adopted: demonizing Islam (a religion of 1.3 billion people), getting an economically ailing superpower to go into the heart of the Arab world, and physically building a 300 mile length of a fortified wall around Palestinian cities making them Ghettos. All in the name of the new religion of Zionism. Since recent surveys showed that only 22% of American Jews identify themselves with Zionism, one wonders why all of us who are not Zionists work to reverse this misguided and racist ideology that hijacked Judaism and now hijacked US governmental policy. In the UN 144 countries voted yes on a resolution to ask Israel to stop its apartheid wall. Our government and Israeli government, joined by Micronesia and the Marshal Islands, were the lone no votes. This is just one of dozens of resolutions like this that our government stood on the wrong side. The US vote is against the interests of peace and the whole world (including interests of US taxpayers who foot the bill for Israeli aggression) . The only reason for it being there is the work of visible and invisible lobbyists whose interests do not even coincide with interests of Jews or even Israelis. We say tear down the walls of prejudice and hatred both in Israel/Palestine and in America.