A friend points out to me that there’s evidence that the era of the Jewish establishment has peaked in the fact that media figures are now more willing to call out powerful Jews than in days gone by. Two items:
–As we noted the other day, 20-year-old singer Miley Cyrus took a shot at Jewish recording executives– “this 70-year-old Jewish man that doesn’t leave his desk all day, telling me what the clubs want to hear”– and doesn’t seem to have been hurt by doing so. Her comments were widely reported, and on Fox television, two TMZ talking heads had no problem with the statement.
–Last night, in an excellent MSNBC piece on the need for the Washington Redskins to change their name, immediately, Lawrence O’Donnell brought up the Jewishness of owner Dan Snyder, whom he called “the George Wallace of the NFL” because he has said that he will never change the name of the team. After saying that Snyder missed the civil rights movement, which changed the American language, O’Donnell said:
The goofy billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones thinks he has the perfect defense for Dan Snyder. Jones said, “It would be a real mistake – a real mistake – to think that Dan, who is Jewish, has a lack of sensitivity regarding somebody’s feelings. I promise you that.”
Well then I have this question for Dan Snyder, “What are you favorite nicknames for Jews that non-Jews have come up with? And if you think as the rest of us do that those nicknames for Jews are utterly reprehensible, what gives you the right to use and try to profit by a nickname invented by the same kind of people who came up with all of those nicknames that we hate and condemn?”
(O’Donnell also criticized the coverup of head injuries in football and said, “The force of history will crush [Snyder].”)
Writes my friend, “Even Bob Costas did not go so far as to bring up the Jewish angle in his criticism of the Redskin name yesterday and today. He used the Negro analogy instead. But O’Donnell went on the air with exactly the critique I’ve been making to my [Jewish] family the last few weeks. I don’t believe O’Donnell would have dared even a year ago to go after Snyder in this way. The Times are a Changin’.”
Seven years ago at the Yivo Institute, Clyde Haberman of the New York Times acknowledged that Jews have considerable influence in the media, then said this influence is “a function of a generation or two; I don’t think it’s going to remain that way forever.” It seems to me he’s right.
Update: The Anti-Defamation League has called on the Washington football franchise and Cleveland baseball franchise to change the teams’ names.
While it is not the intention of the fans, owners or leaders of sports franchises to offend, teams like the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians have a responsibility to be sensitive to the legitimate hurt that offensive names, mascots and logos cause. Tradition matters, but tradition should not justify the perpetuation of such names and mascots.
Good call, but Foxman’s being too soft on ownership.