Here we are now, entertain us

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Marty Peretz is kvelling about what he calls "The End of Palestine." Read the piece here.

Reading the piece , I was reminded of an earlier quote of Peretz's, pulblished in Ha'aretz on June 4, 1982, in which he advised Israel to administer to the PLO a "lasting military defeat" that "will clarify to the Palestinians in the West Bank that their struggle for an independent state has suffered a setback of many years." Then "the Palestinians will be turned into just another crushed nation, like the Kurds or the Afghans," and the Palestinian problem -- which "is beginning to be boring." Those were the good old days, huh, boys? When the Kurds and Afghans were "crushed nations" and "boring."

On the other hand, I like The Nation's editorial about Israel, Palestine and Hamas almost as much as I like Marty's. My real preference, were I one day made czar of Middle East coverage for "liberal" opinion magazines -- and that's not a bad idea -- would be for those like M.J. Rosenberg's take at Josh Marshall's TPM Café, here.

And to answer your questions, no, I've seen no response anywhere from anyone associated with TNR about this piece.

And speaking of The Nation, you have my permission to skip Rick Perlstein's cover story, "Will the Progressive Majority Emerge?" here, because it employs the word "commentariat" rather than the accepted term, "punditocracy," which is in the Oxford English Dictionary among many others, including the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, which is the other one that happens to be on my shelf (and on whose Usage Panel I proudly sit, though that's not why). If you can't trust an article to use the proper term "punditocracy," for what can you trust it? Feel free to read the data upon which it's based, published in part by our sponsors, here.

I see Matt did the work I was too lazy to do -- which is the way it should be; he's a youngun, after all -- and discovered that while MSNBC's Mr. Dedman may have discovered that a former copy editor at The Atlantic Monthly may have made a small donation to a Democratic candidate, he did not have room to mention, say, that in 2006, GE's PAC gave $807,282 to Republicans and just $474,118 to Democrats. In 2004 there was a similar division of funds, in 2002 "only" 60 percent of it went to the GOP. Indeed, as you can see here, essentially every PAC in the media sector backed the GOP over the Democrats. That's all here.

Someone else who's doing my job for me better than I know how to do it is Jamison Foser, whose day job is to sort of run Media Matters -- as I understand it, anyway -- and when he has a few spare moments, he knocks off a column that, well, doesn't make mine look so hot all the time. This week's is "A Tale of Two Studies," and in it, I learned that while the MSM focused on Dedman's fatally flawed study -- shame on MSNBC.com for publishing and hyping so shoddy a piece of work -- it was ignoring the various more significant studies published recently. Foser notes:

  • Conservative radio host Michael Graham, appearing on fellow conservative radio host Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News television show, said he would have liked to see the Clintons be murdered during their spoof of the final episode of The Sopranos. Graham has previously said of Hillary Clinton, "I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron." Beck, too, favors bloodthirsty rhetoric: He once fantasized on his radio show about "choking the life out" of Michael Moore, saying, "I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could." (This, incidentally, came before CNN decided to hire him. Talking about killing liberals doesn't get you kicked off the radio -- it gets you a television show on CNN.)
  • Guest-hosting for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Belling described same-sex couples' decision to have children as "pure selfishness."
  • Michael Savage claimed that the Massachusetts state legislature killed a proposed ... referendum on banning same-sex marriage because the "gay mafia bought the votes ... like cheap tricks in a gay bathhouse." Last week, Savage said "I think it's child abuse" for a gay parent to raise a child. That was no slip of the tongue; Savage said the same thing in February: "I want to puke when I hear about a woman married to a woman raising children because, frankly, I think that it's child abuse to do that to children without their permission." And in March: "The idea of two women who are so-called married raising children, I think it's child abuse." In 2003, Savage told a caller, whom he described as a "sodomite," that he "should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."

    Michael Savage isn't on MSNBC's list of journalists who make political contributions. Neither is Rush Limbaugh, Mark Belling, Glenn Beck, or Michael Graham. But what if they did? Should we care more if they wrote $250 checks to the Republican National Committee than that they routinely use their radio shows to make hateful comments?

    Of course not. It's the content of the news that matters, not the personal beliefs and preferences of journalists.

That's all here.

And hey, lookit Mr. Conflict of Interest mindlessly hyping the study on CNN. I wonder if The Washington Post's media cop will have anything to say about this.

Name three presidents who never won the popular vote:

1) Andrew Johnson

2) Benjamin Harrison

3) Dick Cheney. (More here.)

To my friends at the ALA:

Due to the fact that the contract for my advertised appearance on Saturday actually called for me to be there on Wednesday, I was unaware that I had been scheduled to appear on Saturday until I literally received a frantic email to my Blackberry (while walking on the beach), asking me where the heck I was. I love librarians, as you can imagine, and hope that the screw-up on the part of the people who booked me will not be mistaken by anyone who showed up as a sign of disrespect. As I told the ALA, I'm still hoping to speak on Wednesday, as I planned.

From our sponsors:

The McCain Suck Up Watch continues:

NY Daily News: "[M]averick" McCain "immediately accepted" adopted daughter

In a June 18 article profiling Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) wife, Cindy, New York Daily News reporter Rich Schapiro referred to the GOP presidential candidate as a "maverick" in the context of his willingness to accept an adopted daughter into his family. Schapiro wrote that after Cindy McCain adopted a baby in Bangladesh without informing her husband, "the maverick senator immediately accepted his new daughter, Cindy McCain said."

From MediaBistro:

It's Rupert Murdoch Day:

On the Brink: Murdoch Said to Be Close to Terms on WSJ (NYT)

News Corp. and advisers for Dow Jones were close last night to agreeing on terms designed to protect The Wall Street Journal's newsroom independence if the company accepts a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch. However, a deal between Murdoch and the advisers would not necessarily mean that either the Dow Jones board or the Bancroft family would approve the arrangement. NYT: Major exposé says Murdoch's vast media holdings "give him a gamut of tools - not just campaign contributions, but also jobs for former government officials and media exposure that promotes allies while attacking adversaries, sometimes viciously - all of which he has used to further his financial interests and establish his legitimacy in the United States." LAT: Critics cite as the latest example of those dangers Murdoch's little-noticed introduction in China of his red-hot MySpace Internet property. New Yorker: Perhaps the divided Bancrofts will once more muster the votes to deny Murdoch, but, for the first time, the family must deal with twelve independent directors who are as determined to seek a resolution as Murdoch. Slate: Jack Shafer on the "filth and fury" of Rupert Murdoch.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"If you don't think I'm leaving, you can count the days I'm gone."

WWOZ Pick To Click -- "Swamp Thang," The Soul Of John Black. I have neglected once again to seize control of a broadcasting satellite and proclaim to the unthinking universe how much I love New Orleans.

Sorry I'm late. I was buried on Friday in the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, researching a clever and crazy old sod named Ignatius Donnelly for an upcoming book. Stay tuned, kids.

If the elite political class in Washington had shown any sign of breathing in the past seven years, I'd call the ongoing Washington Post series on the malignancy that is Dick Cheney breathtaking. Part One, in which the president was demonstrated to be a barely functional non-entity, and in which other members of his administration -- like Colin Powell, who can probably now take off the toga for good -- were demonstrated to such a vast collection of useless tools it's a surprise they weren't all found rusting in a barn in Nebraska, was bad enough. (How many times a day do they have to water Alberto Gonzales, by the way?) Today's installment, in which officials of what is said to be history's greatest experiment in enlightened self-government are shown parsing the difference between "cruelty" and "torture" is so much worse that Parts Three and Four fill me with encompassing dread. Is there anything worthwhile about this country and its ideals that these guys didn't use for a pen-wiper? Is there anything worthwhile about this country and its ideals that they remotely understand?

I ordinarily enjoy apocalyptic literature. Under the auspices of the Society of Jesus, I even took a couple courses in it. I generally tend to avoid it in my own writing, in large part because the apostle John did it better than anyone else ever will. However, in this case, I will make an exception. The public careers of Cheney, Gonzales, David Addington, and anyone else involved in this perversion of democracy must be ended with all the brutality -- and more important, all the finality -- that the rule of law allows. They, and the philosophy they represent, must be crushed, utterly, so that it never rises again. In the future, executives must look at what happened to these people and be afraid of pulling this nonsense again. The WaPo series is a brief for impeachment, as clear a roadmap as we're likely to get, considering everything that must already have gone into the shredder. This is renegade authoritarianism at the very heart of the government and it must be stopped. This is no longer about politics. This is about what kind of country we are. If we allow this kind of unconstitutional brigandry to go on unchecked then we consent by our silence to the end of self-government. Period. If the Congress fails to check it, and if the Judiciary fails to recognize it for what it is, then they have consented to rule by the Executive. Period. Either Dick Cheney goes on trial, or we are found guilty of assisting in the suicide of our country. On this, there is no third way. Not any more.

P.S.: OK, just a little politics. Democrats? Except for Ron Paul, every single Republican presidential candidate is on board, either overtly or tacitly, with what is plainly an anti-American agenda. This strikes little ol' sportswriting me as kind of a, you know, issue. Of course, I could be wrong. But I think our own former governor, Willamette Romney, summed up the philosophy best when he gave the following quote to my newspaper - a quote which, in any thinking nation, would doom his campaign as thoroughly as the "brainwashing" business doomed his old man's:

"I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam."

There is not an ounce of truth to be found in that staggering vista of arrant bull***t. What were the "respects" in which Willamette longed to be ducking claymores in the Delta? Name three. And how many of the Five Brothers find it "frustrating not to feel like they (are) there as part of the troops" fighting in Iraq? This isn't a political party. It's a dumb show, and a dangerous one.

Name: Rick Kane
Hometown: Locust Grove, Virginia

Hi Doc,

I read with interest your Guardian column on Mike Bloomberg, and with somewhat more amusement the various posts. From the posts I concluded that certain people just want to be aggrieved for the sake of being aggrieved and to hell with learning or thinking about anything substantively and two, the folks who voted for Ralph Nader are sure sensitive about that 2000 election. Listen folks, I was an EVEN BIGGER FREAKING IDIOT, i voted for Bush (notice the very humble lower case). I have learned that is better to just come clean, admit your mistakes, figure out the wrong headed thinking that led to them, and acknowledge that judging the possible good against the unobtainable perfect may be the road to perdition.

Name: Rick Williams
Hometown: San Francisco

I know you must be as revolted/outraged/enraged/sickened/fill-in-the-blank as I am about Ralph's expected announcement that he will run for president yet again. But I so love your comments on this subject because sometimes I feel you are the only commentator who shares my feelings on this subject. (I still blame him for Gore's "loss" in 2000 and the last 7 years of catastrophe.) I haven't seen you comment on Nader's latest. Please do so. Thanks.

Eric replies: I guess you missed the story about Ralph buying 1,600 copies of What Liberal Media? for the entire student body of the Medill School of Journalism. Great guy, Ralph. Haven't I always said that?

Name: Linda Whitener
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Joanne from Santa Barbara really nailed "this Dowd creature." MoDo's bitchy exaggerations and outright fabrications are a waste of valuable real estate in the NYT. And if you need proof that life isn't fair, consider this: Dowd actually won the Pulitzer, while Molly Ivins was a finalist for the award. Makes me ill to think about it.

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