Saturday, September 10, 2005

CJR on Navasky: Off the Charts Arrogance

The Navaskyization of Columbia Journalism Review is complete.

Yep, friends. Mozy on over to the latest (September-October) issue of CJR and you'll see what I mean. First look at the letters section (not online so I can't link to it) and then wander over to a "letter from Israel" that could have been pulled from the pages of the Moonbat rag The Nation, whose editor Victor Navasky was the hidden chairman of CJR for months and months.

CJR begins by addressing its long-festering hidden-Navasky problem in responses to two letters. The first was an outraged missive from a J-school prof named Willy Stern, an investigative journalist of some repute.

CJR's response? Now that's the good part. Basically the magazine's response to this entire affair is "What Me Worry?" I half expected to see a picture of Alfred E. Newman on the cover. CJR's reply is so arrogant and dishonest that it is really off the charts.

Responding to Stern's letter, "the editors" respond by providing a skewed "brief history" that says that Navasky's appointment "was certainly not a secret (it was announced on the school's web site and mailed to 8,059 alumni."

Uh, when was all that announcing and mailing done? Ten months after it happened. This is like saying that the Manhattan Project wasn't a secret in 1944 because it was announced to the residents of Hiroshima in 1945.

Navasky then weighs in with a response to another letter, in which he equates his super-left rag to two apolitical business publications. "I will check previous letters to the editor to see if [a letter writer] or the Stern brothers sounded similar alarms when a CJR editor arrived fresh from overseeing Fortune and Money."

The gall of this is extraordinary. Neither Fortune nor Money push a political agenda of any kind. To twist them into right-wing counterparts of The Nation is amazing.

Then comes the "letter from Israel," which is a hard-left critique of an Israeli press that, in the view of the writer, simply didn't push hard enough to favor the poor, innocent Palestinians.

"By avoiding certain troubling questions, by not looking too far into the future, by never really dissecting Sharon’s deeper motives or long-range strategy, Israel’s press helped turn a poorly articulated national undertaking into an inevitability," says The Nation.... oops, sorry. I mean, says CJR.

Not one word, by the way, on the arguments against disengagement within Israel--that it is a reward for terrorism. However, we do get quite a lot of favorable references to the hideous Israeli Moonbat journalist Gideon Levy, famed for denouncing Israel at a UN event. "He’s a one-man band trying to present the Palestinian perspective in a way that absolutely no one (other than his colleague [Amira] Hass) does," says The Nation... oops, CJR.

The "one man band" said this at the UN parley: "The occupation was one of the cruellest occupations in the world. Most of the Israelis did not want to know about this. . . The Israeli reader’s whole political thinking was manipulated towards terrorism and terror. This was a dehumanisation of the Palestinians and it was the biggest crime of the Israeli media." This blithering idiot is the Israeli version of Ernie Pyle, in the view of The Nation.... oops.... CJR.

I could go on and on, but that gives the flavor of it. The David M blog, which broke the story months ago, has a good analysis and promises more. David M points out that CJR has been... well, I think the word "lying" is not to strong to describe its shucking and jiving on when Navasky secretly became chairman of CJR.

Looking forward to reading David's blog as always, but let's make no mistake about it: The CJR some of us used to know, the reputable journalism review, is dead as a doornail.
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