Our correspondent Felson is pessimistic. He argues that the debate on Israel/Palestine in this country isn't fundamentally changing:
I went back recently and looked at the media's coverage of the 1982 Lebanon War and
realized that, as much as we'd like to think the Gaza slaughter
represents some kind of turning point, the U.S. media's reaction to
Lebanon was far harsher and louder. For what it's worth, below are links to
some Time covers from '82 and early '83. Two things stand out to me:
They covered the hell out of this story — multiple covers over a
period of months; they were willing to be bluntly critical of Israel,
and to call a massacre a massacre. And this was back when it meant
something to be on the cover of Time. Just check these out (I'm also
throwing in an interesting one from 1975 that I found):
8/16/82: link to www.time.com
9/27/82 (MUST SEE THIS ONE): link to www.time.com
9/20/82: link to www.time.com
10/4/82: link to www.time.com
2/21/83: link to www.time.com
3/10/75: link to www.time.com
It actually ties in to a documentary I saw a while back. It's called "Peace, Propaganda, & the Promised Land," and it's floating around on the web somewhere. It makes the argument that '82 was a turning point, and that Israel
got killed in the US media and that public/congressional support was
suddenly becoming an issue. In response, Israel and its US allies
launched a concerted and ridiculously-organized pressure/propaganda
campaign, to make sure U.S. support was never an issue again. It's pretty
compelling, and maybe it leaves room for us both to be right: Media
coverage isn't as good now as it was then, but it's also better now
than it was 10 years ago.
Weiss response: I have little frame of reference: I discovered the issue after the Iraq debacle in 2003, and I think, Apres moi, le deluge. I don't want to believe I'm banging my head against a wall. If so, I'm going to stop and work for Dershowitz now.
But to points: Felson's a young guy who got dragged into this by Iraq. The Iraq war is bigger than Gaza or Lebanon and it has implicated the U.S. in this madness in a new way. Young people are different. Young Jews are different. The Holocaust consciousness of anti-Semitism that was vital to the post-82 consolidation of the lobby is fading. Yes, Time magazine was influential, but the internet is in people's water now, and it's given Walt and Mearsheimer, and Al-Jazeera, wide play. Some of the Time covers that Felson cites were months after the investigation. We haven't gotten that far from Gaza yet. Let's see what falls apart in weeks to come. Netanyahu/Lieberman is huge.
America doesn't stand still. It took decades to cancel slavery. And with every decade there was progress.