Sunday night on All Things Considered, NPR hosted an ESPN reporter who made the case for Penn State, how much the football program does for the community. He offered a lot of pro-football propaganda, and nothing about the tremendous cost of Penn State’s chauvinism. My wife heard it and was enraged. They ought to shut that program down, she said. The last time they shut a program down was for paying athletes. Isn’t raping children worse?
Thankfully, yesterday on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC program, Dave Zirin of the Nation echoed my wife’s view. He said that the whole NCAA should be shut down for its corporate corrupt culture. That’s called a moral voice. Buzz Bissinger has provided a similar moral perspective, to NPR listeners.
Later yesterday, Lehrer hosted another moral voice in Carolyn McCarthy, the NY congresswoman who lost her husband to a gun massacre. McCarthy said, I am going to take a moral stand to save lives, and then blew away the gun lobby’s propaganda on Colorado. Lehrer played a clip of a Texas congressman saying that others should have been packing guns in the theater; McCarthy said, that would have just killed more people, in the panic and confusion. He played a clip of the Colorado governor saying that the Aurora killer was so “diabolical” he would have been successful even with strict gun laws. McCarthy said Gov. Hickenlooper’s not thinking clearly; we make it easy for anyone to buy semi-automatic weapons.
In both these cases, the liberal media is performing its job, bringing a moral leftleaning perspective to a national issue. You didn’t hear Lehrer bust Zirin for being pie-in-the-sky; he honors his moralist view. He didn’t call McCarthy unrealistic or absolutist.
We don’t get this free flow of ideas in connection with the Israel/Palestine issue. Both Penn State and Aurora are reminiscent of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara. In May 2010, nine people on a humanitarian mission to Gaza were killed by Israeli commandoes on the high seas. One of the victims was an American citizen. Later the same day Emily Henochowitz, a student at Cooper Union, was blinded in one eye by an Israeli teargas canister fired at her during a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli raid at Qalandiya.
I’ve never heard Henochowitz on public radio. I’ve never heard Max Blumenthal– who so distinguished himself in his reporting on the Mavi Marmara raid and who was himself transformed by that experience– invited on to public radio to talk about his own moral stance in order to save lives. I’ve never heard Dave Zirin, a leftwinger on Israel/Palestine, express his Middle East views on public radio.
Going further, I’ve rarely seen an anti-Zionist granted a platform in the media to hold forth on the human rights issues at the heart of the conflict. I’ve never heard an anti-Zionist express my view — that Zionism and the special relationship have hurt Americans, and played a role in the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Rachel Corrie and the terror victims of 9/11. I’ve never heard an anti-Zionist say, If it’s a choice between a Jewish state and more conflict, why not choose democratic regime change?
Our media are in the tank. They give a rightwing prime minister a platform on television to push for war. They regard Israel as a heroic and embattled democracy. They print pieces sympathetic to the Israeli army. On this subject, they cannot tolerate a wide range of opinion.