Back in the third grade, a naughty boy would write the unforgivable word on the wall of the little boys’ room with an indelible marker. The principal would come by and, by adding three deft little strokes to the first letter and adding another letter to the end of the word, would wind up with the word “Bucky.” And that would last until the next painting.
I wasn’t fooled for an instant, even at the age of 9. No boy in the entire school had the name or nickname “Bucky.”
The MSM is behaving just as absurdly as that principal, and a lot more harmfully, in the Egyptian crisis. You’ve seen the anti-Mubarak crowds on TV brandishing signs that say, “Mubarak – Friend of the the Jews,” “Mubarak – Defender of Israel” and the most frequent, Mubarak’s face snug in the middle of a six-pointed Star of David. One magazine printed a picture of that latter attraction and didn’t even comment on it in the caption! The Star of David was thus silently dismissed as a quaint design.
I can forgive an elementary school principal for protecting post-tot pre-teens from “the word”! Much harder is forgiving the media for shielding grownups from the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish signs in the hands of the anti-Mubarak demonstrators. It’s eerie; we see the signs, but we don’t hear any discussion of it at all. And why not? I suspect the answer is, those signs in those hands mess up the narrative the MSM has elected to confect, present and revere. The demonstrators, don’t you see, are the good guys; lean and resilient in pursuit of justice, long-suffering at the hands of brutal oppressors, risking all to rid themselves of a tyrant. They’re freedom fighters!
We can’t let them come across as standard Middle Eastern Jew-haters, can we, now? America is a free country with a media free to shape the narrative any way it damned well pleases.
My target of the moment is NOT the anti-Mubarak crowds with who-knows-how-much hatred of Jews, Israel and, of course, America. My target is this anti-intellectual brain-deadening insistence on the “good-guy/bad-guy” colorations that make third-graders so comfortable. The protesters must be all good and Mubarak must be all bad, all the time! Gradations need not apply.
Do you remember the heroic rescue of Denmark’s Jewish population by the Danish anti-Nazi Underground? Danish Underground good; Nazis bad. Right? Absolutely right, just not the whole story. Are you aware that the warning to the Danish Underground of the German round-up came from a supposedly reliable Nazi in the German Consulate in Copenhagen? And are you aware that some of the Danish fishermen who risked their lives to spirit the Jews over the water to Sweden charged exorbitant fees? And are you aware that some of the rescued Jews got on the radio when they were delivered safely to Sweden and denounced some of those Danish fishermen, now back in Nazi-occupied Denmark, by name? Not everything is the third grade.
Can you handle some of those anti-Mubarak protesters being Jew-haters? Can you handle Mubarak being guilty of brutal repression and of keeping Islamic extremism in a tight cage for 30 years, all the while living up to Egypt’s Camp David Accords with America and Israel? Apparently, your media don’t think so. You’re the “public,” don’t you understand? Such sophistication, the MSM has decided, is beyond you. For this, we should show the media the same disdain those demonstrators are showing Mubarak.
While we’re at it, has anybody heard our president warn that Muslim extremists might exploit Egyptian instability? In fact, has anybody ever heard this president use the words “Muslim” and “extremist” together? Presidents from Eisenhower through Reagan were never bashful about warning that Communism would try to exploit disorder. Why now, no such warnings, and no MSM complaints about the absence of such warnings?
My failure to inveigh mightily against the dismal performance of this administration’s Egyptian policy should not be taken as conservative softness; merely human pity. It’s so obviously amateur-hour at the White House every night and day. America’s foreign policy is conducted with public – and ever-changing – blustering of what should be only diplomatic whispering.
You need proof? The president thunders, “The transition must begin NOW!” The secretary of state thunders, “The transition must begin NOW!” Then – last Saturday – Washington sends a special envoy to Egypt who says, “Mubarak can remain!” But, the envoy adds, he’s speaking for himself, and not for the administration!
Once, President Ike Eisenhower botched a press conference so badly that an aide to press secretary Jim Hagerty turned to his boss and asked, “What kind of statement should we put out?”
Hagerty replied, “I guess all we can say is, ‘The president does not speak for this administration’”
I’m reminded of the student who approached the teacher waving a paper with a huge zero on it and complained, “I don’t think I deserve a zero on this test.”
“I don’t think you deserve it, either,” replied the teacher. “But it’s the lowest grade I’m allowed to give.”