Epic battle looms over accused anti-Semite entering White House, and ‘NYT’ graywashes the moment

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The lead story in the New York Times today is on Donald Trump’s two administrative appointments, including Stephen Bannon as a top counselor. The article is a graywash of the Bannon choice. Not a whitewash; a graywash. The first reference to Bannon says that he is a “rightwing media provocateur,” making him sound roguish instead of dangerous.

It’s not until the 19th paragraph that the paper gets into in-depth criticism of Bannon himself, quoting the Anti-Defamation League.

 Mr. Bannon’s appointment on Sunday set off a fierce response on Twitter and in Washington. The Anti-Defamation League issued a scathing statement calling him “hostile to core American values.”

“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’” the statement said.

The Times‘s minimization of these charges may be an unconscious effort to normalize Bannon. It’s a graywash.

By contrast, a Haaretz article about Bannon by Chemi Shalev is not a graywash. Right in the headline it accurately calls Bannon an “accused anti-Semite.” Shalev writes, “American Jews have transformed virtually overnight from insiders to outsiders; the appointment of ex-Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, an accused anti-Semite, as chief strategist, is bound to exacerbate the tensions.”

The article gives a shocking but true statement of Bannon’s political character:

He is considered the standard bearer for the racist, anti-immigrant alt-right movement and has been accused of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments himself.

An entirely fair summary. And nothing remotely like that is in the Times piece until deep into the article. What’s more, in the next paragraph, Shalev does not let Donald Trump off the anti-Semitic hook either:

Trump has repeatedly and unapologetically disseminated white supremacist tweets. His campaign has used anti-Semitic symbols that Trump has failed to disown even when advised of their offensive content. He has distanced himself from his neo-Nazi supporters only under duress. And under his wings, America has seen an unprecedented outburst of blunt and naked hatred of Jews, which has only gotten worse since his election.

That sentence should be in the New York Times.

The campaign to resist the Bannon appointment should be an epic battle, which will set a precedent for the next months and years. If Trump successfully installs this man in the White House, an alt right accused anti-Semite, things will be very bad for America, and for the actual lives of our people.

The shock that many Jews are experiencing is partly of the making of the Jewish establishment. This graywash in the Times and lack of sufficient alert to what looks like a sudden danger is due in part to the misuse of the term “anti-Semitism.” For years now, pro-Israel Jews slandered Jews and anyone else who fought for Palestinian human rights, contending day in and day out that any criticism of Israel was anti-Semitism. But Trump is not anti-Israel! Therefore he gets cover for an appointment that actually elevates anti-Semitism. Ben Kunkel observes sharply:


Remember that many at the leading Israel lobby AIPAC cheered Trump when he addressed their conference last spring. And now those same followers have to swallow their own medicine. Reports a television producer:


But will AIPAC say anything publicly? Unlikely. The AIPAC policy is to ensure that there is “no daylight” between the US government and the Israeli government, and with Trump being such an unknown, it would be a huge political misstep for the lead Israel lobby organization to criticize Trump at first breath. It needs Trump too much.

Does AIPAC care more about Israel than it does about the rights of Jewish Americans in their own country?


Neither AIPAC nor the American Jewish Committee (“the leading global Jewish advocacy organization” which “works to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and to advance human rights and democratic values for all.”) will be making a statement on Bannon:

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

As long as both (all) sides keep their Fear Machines well-oiled and fueled, they should be able to tack into whichever way the wind blows.

So Trump is hiring a guy who hates Trump’s (jewish) daughter, Ivanka, and Trump’s new (jewish) grandchild.

Possible. But not very likely.

Let’s all get this straight. Exposing the machinations and influence of certain groups in turning America into a liberal hell-hole is not antisemitism, it is simply a discussion of the facts. There can’t be a discussion of how we got here without exposing the facts, and Bannon knows ’em. Antisemitism… Read more »

. being as it doesn’t take much to be labeled anti whatever in this country let’s see what passes for anti whatever in the kingdom of Trump let’s see where his lines are drawn . instead more of the same crystal balls out everyone shall we run a poll that… Read more »

Has an aide that doesn’t need senate approval ever been nixed based on outside pressure? Not in my memory. To fight trump over this appointment seems foolish, so the nyt shies away. Chemi shalev is free to speak from the heart. The ny times has to be ready for battles… Read more »