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“Why is Jewish-owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” tweeted News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, in reaction to the overwhelmingly negative coverage Israel was receiving during its war with Gaza. Many in the left-wing press immediately pounced on Murdoch’s comment, claiming, as a Guardian writer did, that Murdoch had “slipped into an anti-Semitic usage.” A CNN commentator called Murdoch’s tweet “beyond outrageous to offensive, truly offensive … reviving the old canard about Jews controlling the media.”
Anti-Semites do commonly claim that Jews dominate the media out of all proportion to their numbers. But Murdoch, a Christian who heads the world’s largest media company, is no anti-Semite — he is as unabashedly pro-Zionist as they come. Neither are the anti-Semites wrong — Jews do exercise vast influence in the media, as they do in many industries, whether cultural such as fashion and entertainment, financial such as banking and insurance, whether the industries involve computer software or hardware, or retail or real estate. In all these areas and more, Jews often hold commanding positions as owners and managers.
Among newspapers, The New York Times has long been the world’s best-known newspaper and the decider of what constitutes news — the rest of the media often takes its cue from the Times. It has been owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family since 1896, when the son of a Jewish Bavarian immigrant, Adolph Ochs, took it over.
The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, also prestigious papers, are owned along with many other papers by Tribune Co., one of America’s largest newspaper groups. It is chaired by Sam Zell, son of Polish Jews who fled to America prior to Hitler’s invasion in 1939.
National Broadcasting Corp., America’s first national broadcast company, had its origins in RCA, and both owed their success to David Sarnoff, a Belarussian Jew who also pioneered the AM radio business. NBC today is owned by Comcast, America’s largest cable company, which was co-founded and then run for 46 years by Ralph Roberts, a Jew, and is now run by his son, Brian Roberts.
NBC’s long-standing rival, Columbia Broadcasting System, was built by William S. Paley, the son of an Ukrainian Jew. CBS is now majority owned by the family of Sumner Murray Redstone (born Sumner Murray Rothstein), also a Jew, who is also CBS’s executive chairman. (Redstone also owns Viacom, MTV and BET.) CBS’s president and CEO is Leslie Moonves, also a Jew.
American Broadcasting Corp., the third major U.S. network, was hived off from the NBC network in the 1940s and is now run by Bob Iger, a Jew, who succeeded Michael Eisner, another Jew.
Anti-Semites who believe Jewish ownership leads the press to show favouritism toward Jews haven’t been paying attention. The New York Times during the 1930s and 1940s played down the Nazi atrocities, burying stories of concentration camps and Jewish mass murders in small stories in the paper’s interior. In recent decades, the Times has been consistently anti-Israel.In these and many other media companies, Jews play a dominant role, often an entrepreneurial founding role in creating media empires. It will give anti-Semites no comfort to realize, though, that the Jewish media does not work in concert in a conspiracy to control the world. Jewish-owned firms compete with each other as well as with non-Jewish media companies such as Murdoch’s. Jew or non-Jew, they all play against each other to win, giving no quarter on the basis of religion or ethnicity.
A current controversy that demonstrates its biased coverage involves New York Timesreporter David Carr, who on Sunday lambasted Israel for bombing a vehicle of journalists working for Al-Aqsa, a Hamas-owned TV station. The article, provocatively titled “Using War as Cover to Target Journalists,” took issue with Israel’s explanation, that the targets, whose vehicle was marked “TV,” were relevant to terror activity. As Carr summed it up for Times readers: “So it has come to this: killing members of the news media can be justified by a phrase as amorphous as ‘relevance to terror activity.’”
Carr could have explained to Times readers that Al-Aqsa TV is designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, that one of the “journalists” was in fact a Hamas commander who headed its military training programs and that another person he refers to as a “journalist” wore a military uniform and was referred to by Hamas as a “mujahid,” i.e., a jihadist. Had Carr been keen to understand Israel’s justification, he might further have realized that a journalist for a terrorist organization was more akin to a propagandist following orders; that under international law, Israel was permitted to target “the installations of broadcasting and television stations of fundamental military importance,” as NATO had when it bombed the Serb Radio and Television headquarters in 1999 during the Kosovo War, killing 16 civilians.
The extent to which the media has distorted the war between Gaza and Israel is mind-boggling. During the eight-day conflict, casual consumers of news could have easily missed that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza only occurred after it had warned Hamas to stop attacking Israeli civilians over a period of months — some 800 Hamas rockets had rained on Israel this year prior to the war. Much of the press rarely if ever mentioned that Hamas, the terrorist group running Gaza, was violating the Geneva Convention by targeting Israeli civilians; that it was also violating the Geneva Convention by using its own civilians as shields; that Israel was going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and that Israel’s only reason to invade Gaza — rather than safely from on high bombing the rocket launchers that Hamas had placed in schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings — would have been to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.
Anti-Semites looking for media coverage sympathetic to Israel would be hard-pressed to find it in the Jewish-led press (Mort Zuckerman’s New York Daily News and U.S. News and World Report being notable exceptions). The narrative the anti-Semites are most comfortable with, ironically, comes from Jews.