Terry Gross aired Blumenthal when he went after Republicans, but Israel — no thank you

Karl Vick's piece in Time Magazine angered Israel's supporters

Karl Vick’s piece in Time Magazine angered Israel’s supporters

US press coverage of Israel is a theme in Dennis J. Bernstein’s Consortium News interview with Max Blumenthal about his new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. The book came out at the beginning of October. And Blumenthal relates that he’s had a hard time getting press coverage.

DB: This is one of the most, if not the most, censored subjects in the U.S. The liberal press is perhaps worse than the conservative press. We talked before about Rachel Maddow. Chris Matthews has a new book and will be on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Has NPR reached out to you yet? Morning Edition? Are any of these folks interested in this censored subject?

MB: I’m glad you asked that. In my last book tour for Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, I got books for Fresh Air and Terry Gross. I didn’t understand the significance of the show until my interview aired. She actually let me give my analysis uncensored on the Christian right and the Republican Party. Within five minutes of the show airing I went onto the Amazon page for my book and was number eight overall for books on Amazon. I was beating Glenn Beck, whose book was being bulk bought by conservative organizations.

People were eating it up, because they finally heard an analysis, even about the Republican Party, that had been sort of off-limits in the mainstream media. My publicist has tried to book me on Terry Gross again. If people hear my analysis, I think they are hungry to hear about my journalism and experiences. Terry Gross’s producer has flat out rejected it. I have not gotten onto any mainstream media.

DB: Do they say why they aren’t interested?

MB:  I was asked to submit something by the New York Times op docs, a new section on the website that published short video documentaries. I am known for short video documentaries about the right wing in the U.S, and extremism in Israel. They solicited a video from me, and when I didn’t produce it in time, they called me for it, saying they wanted it. So I sent them a video I produced with my colleague, David Sheen, an Israeli journalist who is covering the situation of non-Jewish Africans in Israel more extensively than any journalist in the world.

We put together some shocking footage of pogroms against African communities in Tel Aviv, and interviews with human rights activists. I thought it was a well-done documentary about a situation very few Americans were familiar with. We included analysis. We tailored it to their style, and of course it was rejected without an explanation after being solicited. I sent it to some other major websites and they have not even responded t me, when they had often solicited articles from me in the past.

It is clear what is going on here. Luckily, the Nation magazine will show this documentary later this month, appearing with an excerpt from my book. There are some brave people out there who are willing to allow me to have an audience, but that’s what’s going on with this subject. There are so many great journalists who are doing such a better job than the mainstream correspondents posted in Jerusalem. Many of these journalists are Palestinian. Others, like Nora Barrows-Freedman, who works with the Electronic Intifada, are denied a mainstream audience. It’s not like you are attacked  - it’s that you are denied an audience. There is a curtain of silence around this issue. What I am trying to do is break though that curtain..

Blumenthal also relates an interesting story about Time Magazine’s coverage of the conflict.

Conflict management is Netanyahu’s open strategy. Karl Vick [of Time Magazine] talked about that and how Tel Aviv is doing quite well, while Palestinians might be mired in increasing levels of misery. Why does Israel need a two-state solution if Tel Aviv is doing so well? Netanyahu’s people were furious about this article. I know from a source at Time magazine, that people at Time-Warner, the parent company of time, were furious about the article, and they exert a lot of pressure on Time because these are pro-Israel donors and they have big connections with Netanyahu.

So Time magazine sent its managing editor, Richard Stengel, in May 2012 to meet with Netanyahu. He arrived ready to relay a heavy dose of “Bibi-think” to the American public. The result of the interview that Richard Stengel returned with was a bizarre article, a fawning profile of Netanyahu arguing with god, who dubbed Netanyahu “King Bibi” who conquered Israel and god said will, Netanyahu now make peace or war? This was on the cover of Time - the same exact cover Time ran when Netanyahu was Prime Minister 16 years before asking, can he make peace?

You can’t take Netanyahu at his word when he says he doesn’t want to make peace. It’s these pressures inside the U.S. that prevent it from happening. Some journalists are sent to Israel to write press releases for Netanyahu, and others who are doing their job reporting the facts on the ground are themselves intimidated and punished. Luckily Karl Vick is still there doing a decent job. Consider this quote from Netanyahu:  it sums up the Israeli public relations operation in two lines. ”It doesn’t matter if justice is on your side. You have to depict your position as just.” So that’s what they are doing.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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  1. Cliff says:

    Terry Gross the pathological liar and Zionist.

    What did Max expect? NPR shills for Israel.

    Even the NYT is better on the issue.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Great piece Phil. We should all be politely hammering NPR and Terri Gross in particular(she had him on) as well as other MSM outlets. Another example of many about just how this wall of silence was built on this issue over decades and just how difficult it is to break through. Hope folks contact MSM outlets.

    Hell the so called liberals like Maddow, Matthews will not even have former Bush administration officials and former CIA middle east analyst Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on their programs to speak about Iran. The walls of silence build by money, threats and intimidation.

    Is Bill Moyers still kicking around on NOW? Is PBS going to touch Max’s book. Charlie Rose actually challenged Bibi for a change during that most recent interview

  3. Citizen says:

    Can anyone specify a bigger US mainstream media taboo than criticism of Israel? In the US a journalist can criticize the US government at will, and in Israel, there’s some substantial criticism of Israel by its mainstream media, but in the USA: No. That’s a career killer. This syndrome is a direct attack on the American principle that its democracy is dependent on the informed consent of the people, its citizens. There is no informed consent because criticism of Israel is a taboo subject for the American press.

    • Kathleen says:

      The only “liberal” MSNBC folks that I have heard touch this issue was Dylan Ratigan (when he had Glenn Greenwald on a few times), Chris Hayes when he had his UP program, and Cenk Uygar a few times (very lightly) When I challenged Chris Matthews about not touching this issue now years ago at the Scooter Libby trial and the Dem convention in Denver he said “I am not in control of the programming” Hey if Chris Hayes can touch this issue and not lose his job then the rest of them should be paying attention or clearly just concerned with their all mighty dollars.

      NPR will not go near this issue in any really honest way.

      The internet opened this topic wide open and Cspan’s Washington Journal who refuses to fold to the Camera Cspan watch crowd

  4. Woody Tanaka says:

    Terry Gross is one of the biggest problems in the US media today. A zio to the core who abuses her position to further that racist ideology.

  5. kayq says:

    Thanks Phil, and thanks Max.

    Max, you’re a brilliant journalist, and it’s such a shame that nowadays the liberals are worse than the conservatives on Israel. Oh well, if one seeks the truth, he will seek it independently, not from the mainstream.

    Keep up the great work.

  6. Ira Glunts says:

    Three places that have not covered Goliath are 972mag, Open Zion and the ElectronicIntifada.

    I loved Blumenthal’s book and salute the Nation and him for getting this important work into print. It is out there and I think it will be read even by some of those who refuse to acknowledge the book’s existence publicly.

    • Ira Glunts says:

      I just learned that there will be an upcoming review on the Electronic Intifada. This isn’t surprising since Blumenthal has published a whole bunch of articles there.

  7. When Max was working on Republican Gomorrah, he came to Alaska to cover Sarah Palin’s strange religious background. My wife and I hosted him as he did research and interviews in the Wasilla area. So I was in a situation where, when Max’s first book came out, I was both knowledgeable about how the book came about, and some of its context. I read, watched or listened to each of his appearances on U.S. media. Although many hosts were leery of the subject matter (how deeply authoritarian religious doctrine is embedded into American right-wing politics), they gave Max air time. Perhaps the most uncomfortable host was Joe Scarborough, on Morning Joe. Watching that program segment again is illuminating, especially in light of the recent government shutdown:

    But they hosted Max anyway. However, at the end of the Morning Joe session, Scarborough stated he hoped to have Max back (“I need to get you back, I need more time…..”), to debate aspects of the first book. That never happened, as far as I can remember. Also, at the end of the video, one can see the tag indicating it had been carried on the sometimes progressive site, Crooks and Liars. Will they give Max time and space for Goliath?

    This book rollout is distinctly different. It is almost three weeks into the rollout-tour. Republican Gomorrah was a very good book. Goliath is breathtaking and sweeping, perhaps a major American work of non-fiction.

    The lack of coverage, as disgusting as it is, is not surprising. What would be surprising would be if the quality of the book’s reception had matched that of the book itself.

    I’ll be hosting Max on November 2nd, from 5 to 7 pm, at firedoglake, for the Saturday Book Salon. You can register there to comment, and ask him anything you want.

    link to fdlbooksalon.com

    • Kathleen says:

      Crooks and Liars is very shut down to reporting about the I/P issue honestly or critically. They seldom post factual pieces about this issue. Their internal infrastructure is pro Israel no matter what they do.

      We should all contact Joe Scarborough and ask him to have Max on especially since he said “I need to get you back, I need more time” Maybe Joe will go where none of the so called “liberals” on that outlet will go. Contact Scarborough please

  8. flyod says:

    Gross is the poster child for PEP. Perhaps she is even worse then that, sometimes openly engaging in anti-Arab/ Zionist propaganda. It’s a shame really as she is good at her work and commands much respect. How often do I hear ” heard it on NPR/ Terry Gross”. Reasonable people taking her word as gospel.
    Blumenthal, Weiss, and company are doing tremendous work here. Their words are getting out thanks to the internet. Huge changes since the era of print media only. How much longer can the mainstream media ignore them?

    • Kathleen says:

      Terry Gross has been a very serious repeat offender on repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran. I believe she has lightened up possibly because she is being called out but absolutely a repeat offender. She has helped fuel the aggressive policies with her inaccurate statements.

      When I was still listening to her every day a year or so back she also was part of the NPR do feel good stories about Israel band wagon and take down Iran authors.

    • Ellen says:

      No, Gross does not command any respect. Please name a single truely significant report she has produced. Something of significance, entligntning, honestly informative?

      Why does she have her job?

  9. Walker says:

    Great thread. I really appreciate the reference to Consortiumnews.com, a site with great integrity, and one for which I have a huge soft spot.

    Another current story there of potential interest to MondoWeiss readers is How US Pressure Bends UN Agencies, detailing the mainly untold history of how US pressure has resulted in the appointment and removal of UN officials in posts connected to the Middle East.

  10. Cina says:

    How about the “Daily Show” or “Colbert Report”? Did they reject coverage as well?

    • Rusty Pipes says:

      Jon Stewart just spent the summer making a film in the Middle East. He’s had on some guests who have pushed the envelope, like Anna Baltzer and Omar Barghouti. I hope that Max can get on his show — especially because he appeals to a younger, more politically-aware audience than Terry Gross (who specializes in Rogerian interviews with celebrities).

      • Kathleen says:

        Stewart’s show has opened up over the last five or six years but before that as plugged up about this issue as any other MSM outlet. Really plugged up but cheers to his team and Jon for finally doing the right thing. Took them a good decade to even whisper about the issue. But better late than never

  11. Les says:

    NPR’s managers have co-habitated with AIPAC for ages.

    NPR host Siegel serves as moderator for Avigdor Lieberman at Saban gala
    Philip Weiss on December 1, 2012

  12. just says:

    Terry spent her show with Billy Crystal today…………………………………..

    ah well.

    A shill for all things Zionist.

  13. RE: “Terry Gross aired Blumenthal when he went after Republicans, but Israel — no thank you

    MY COMMENT: Perhaps this is the result of a process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung* (except that it is accomplished “without overt coercion” by virtue of what Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism”).

    * URI AVNERY ON THE SORRY STATE OF THE ISRAELI MEDIA/PRESS AND THE “BRAINWASHING” OF THE ISRAELIS:
    “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia - J.L.D. ]
    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
    [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
    , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  14. biorabbi says:

    I like how Max interviews people, just letting them tell their own perspectives, sometimes with some humor, usually self-depreciating. He’s a hard guy to dislike.

  15. RE: “Terry Gross aired Blumenthal when he went after Republicans, but Israel — no thank you”

    DEMOCRACY NOW!
    I SAID NOW, DAMMIT!
    NOW!!!

    Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Israel” – Democracy Now!
    Oct 4, 2013
    As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing a public campaign to cast doubt on U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, we speak to journalist Max Blumenthal, author of the new book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.” Blumenthal looks at life inside Netanyahu’s Israel and the Occupied Territories. “I was most surprised at the banality of the racism and violence that I witnessed and how it’s so widely tolerated because it’s so common,” says Blumenthal about his four years of reporting in Israel. “And I’m most surprised that it hasn’t made its way to the American public … that’s why I set out to do this endeavor, this journalistic endeavor, to paint this intimate portrait of Israeli society for Americans who don’t see what it really is.”
    VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT - link to democracynow.org

    Part 2: Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Israel – Democracy Now!
    Oct 7, 2013
    Part two of our conversation with journalist Max Blumenthal on his new book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Israel”.
    VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT - link to democracynow.org

    • Kathleen says:

      Amy Goodman heads above the rest. Will never forget Amy talking about Cast Lead on the stage of an event next to Union station the night of the inauguration. She did not hold back. Some of those “liberals” were leaving the room. Goodman always goes above and beyond the call of her journalistic duty.

    • P.S. AUDIO OF MAX BLUMENTHAL BEING INTERVIEWED BY DENNIS J. BERNSTEIN ON “FLASHPOINTS” (10/02/13)
      Today on Flashpoints: We speak with author, journalist and blogger Max Blumenthal, about his latest book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” [BEGINS AT ABOUT 11:00 MINUTES]. Also, we speak with California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano about the signing of his domestic workers bill of rights [THE FIRST ELEVEN MINUTES].
      LINK TO AUDIO – link to soundcloud.com

  16. Kathleen says:

    Just contacted Fresh Air about having Max on her program to focus on his new book. She is very tribal but not when it comes to having a Jewish person on her program criticizing Israel but otherwise sheoften promotes a disproportionate amount of Jewish writers etc and feel good about Israel stories

  17. amigo says:

    Bit of interesting news.

    “Glenn Greenwald, who has made headlines around the world with his reporting on United States electronic surveillance programmes, is leaving the Guardian newspaper to join a new media venture funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, according to people familiar with the matter”Irish Times.

    link to irishtimes.com

    The Guardians loss and someone else,s gain.

    Best of luck to Glenn Greenwald.

  18. Ira Glunts says:

    link to thenation.com

    Eric Alterman bashes Blumenthal’s Goliath in The Nation!!! The main article is behind a pay wall, but there is enough in the above link to see the loathing.

    I wonder if this kind of review could stimulate interest in the book. The angry over the top criticism helped Mearsheimer and Walt, I think.

    Here is a quote:

    The complication arose when I finally received the book. I expected to disagree with its analysis. I did not expect it to be remotely as awful as it is. Had the magazine not published its excerpt, it would have been easy to ignore. It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic. (Though to be fair, Blumenthal should probably add some anti-female, anti-gay arguments for that.) Goliath is a propaganda tract, not an argument as it does not even consider alternative explanations for the anti-Israel conclusions it reaches on every page. Its implicit equation of Israel with Nazis is also particularly distasteful to any fair-minded individual. And its larding of virtually every sentence with pointless adjectives designed to demonstrate the author’s distaste for his subject is as amateurish as it is ineffective.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Eric Alterman bashes Blumenthal’s Goliath in The Nation!!! ”

      I’m not surprised. PEP. Checks any pretense of liberalism when it comes to the Apartheid State; the Occupation Nation. Right-wing, reactionary injustice is okay, the them, when it is israelis doing it.

  19. Elliot says:

    I have my own experience of this double standard in the mainstream/Jewish world.
    I represented a Jewish organization on domestic advocacy campaign. During the campaign I was given all manner of moral support. When we win, enthusiastic accolades from the organization ensued.
    The next project I took on was an I/P issue. Here I was met with stonewalling. People were offended and annoyed. The final conversation I had with an office-holder ended with her saying to me: “the events you are reporting to me are just so….extreme”.

    So I/P is barred from polite Jewish conversation because it is too intense. Unlike that light, fun-filled topic that Jews love to dwell on endlessly – the Holocaust.

    • Your observations remind me of this piece by Tom Hayden – “I Was Israel’s Dupe” – link to counterpunch.org

      • Elliot says:

        Thanks. Great article. Despite the bullying and censorship today, it is still much easier than it used to be, say in the early 80s. I feel for people who had their awakening during the Lebanon War in 1982. You guys soldiered on in the wilderness for years.

        • Ellen says:

          Elliot, it was 1982 that the lights went off for me. Lebanon war. It was clear that horrific crimes were underway. Then the disgusting and transparent propaganda campaign started to promote Israel after the Lebanon slaughter. LIFE magazie ran a cover photo of Sharon and his little pet doggies — so cute and cuddley for the American populace.

          I did not know how to express anything, so kept quiet. But like many, realized we were in deep trouble.

          Am now currently back in the middle of the USA. Today a gentleman (Christian bible fundamentalist) declared to me that we must back Israel with everything because if we do not “it will be the end of the United States.”

          This is what many Americans really believe, and many of their elected officials as well. This is the true spirit of the US/Israel relationship. Not strategic, but Christian/Zio fear-based.

          What a way to run a country.

        • Ellen says:

          And let me add, and then a few years later came across a letter written by my Aunt who lost her husband to “suicide” on Christmas eve at at US Army installation while waiting for her and their four small children. He was with State and one of the so-called “Arabist” during the Truman Administration. (His PHd thesis at the Wilson Institute outlined the strategic problems for the US behind backing a Zionist project, btw)

          She never ever believed for a minute that her husband (my uncle) killed himself via a bullet to the head on Christmas Eve while waiting for her and the children.

        • Elliot says:

          I’m so sorry. I wonder if that is something an investigative reporter would pick up. If your uncle was assassinated by US government agents, there must have been more than one person in on the crime. They may have spoken to others over the years (in old age?)

    • Kathleen says:

      The exception card. Off limits card.