WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have attacked Helen Thomas' controversial remarks on Israel and cheered her abrupt retirement. So why did they publish Pat Buchanan's complaint there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court?
By Terry Krepel
Columnist and longtime White House press room fixture Helen Thomas made a very stupid statement during an interview, saying that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go "home" to "Poland, Germany ... and America and everywhere else."
Unsurprisingly, the ConWeb was quick to pounce, especially the Media Research Center, which has long despised Thomas. The MRC posted the video of her remarks as soon as it could and slapped together a compilation of "liberal eruptions" from Thomas, as if being liberal was the same as criticizing Israel.
When Thomas issued an apology and announced her immediate retirement in the wake of the controversy, NewsBusters was all but dancing on her grave, portraying any nice thing said about Thomas' career in the media as tacit endorsement of her remarks. Tom Blumer went on to complain that "the establishment press is for the most part attempting to give Helen Thomas's hateful remarks and her dubious apology a very light once-over -- if they're covering her outrageous statements ... at all."
At WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah declared without any hint of irony that Thomas is an "embarrassment ... to the entire White House press corps" -- remember, WND employs the highly embarrassing Les Kinsolving. Farah added, "This is a first-rate, raw-boned, dyed-in-the-wool Jew-hater." Meanwhile, Kinsolving himself piled on; while acknowledging that Thomas "was so often kind and congenial to me and wrote a gracious tribute to my biography, 'Gadfly,' published by WorldNetDaily" -- Kinsolving made sure to assert that "some statements are simply beyond any possible reach of apology." (Unlike, say, when Kinsolving asked of the Baltimore Sun's owners after the paper wrote too many nice things about gays: "If your newspaper in Baltimore believes in matrimony for buggers by far the nation's leading AIDS spreaders why not weddings for necrophiliacs and their corpses-of-choice?")
Can you smell the stench of hypocrisy? Because as vociferous Farah and the MRC have been about Thomas, they completely ignored similar comments by Pat Buchanan.
On May 14, both WND and the MRC's CNSNews.com published a syndicated column by Buchanan in which he complained that with the appointment of Elena Kagan, there were too many Jews on the Supreme Court: "If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this the Democrats' idea of diversity?"
The column remains live at both outlets, and both have continued to publish Buchanan's column. Similarly, there was complete silence about Buchanan's remark at CNS' sister website NewsBusters, as its archive on Buchanan demonstrates.
Further, the MRC seems more than willing to gloss over Buchanan's Israel-bashing. Mark Finkelstein all but gave Buchanan a pass in a January 2009 NewsBusters post after Buchanan accused Israel of carrying out a "blitzkrieg" against Gaza and turning it into a "concentration camp":
I like Pat Buchanan. I do. He's wise, funny and charming. But every so often . . .
Can you imagine Finkelstein or his NewsBusters fellow travelers so blithely dismissing similar remarks by Thomas? Of course not -- Thomas would never get the "wise, funny and charming" defense or tsk-tsking about manners. And she didn't in this case.
Similarly, NewsBusters and the rest of the MRC are unable to call Buchanan anti-Semitic, though he clearly is if Thomas is the standard.
Nevertheless, the heads of these respective organizations kept up the double standard. MRC chief Brent Bozell used his June 8 column -- the same day his CNS posted Buchanan's latest column -- to personally attack Thomas, claiming that she "is leaving the White House with all the hate she’s been bringing to the grounds for decades," and attacked anyone who "awarded her respect" for her long journalistic career.
Again, neither Bozell nor Farah saw fit to mention Buchanan or justify their continued publishing of his column.
While the MRC and WND were busy ignoring Buchanan in their Thomas-bashing, another right-wing controversy was brewing: Glenn Beck, on the June 4 edition of his radio show, touted as "the who's who and handbook for radicalism for patriots" a 1930s-era book called "The Red Network," in which author Elizabeth Dilling portray unions in general and teachers' unions in particular as, in Beck's words, "the real radical communists."
But "The Red Network" is also rife with racism, anti-Semitism, and religious bigotry. As Media Matters detailed, Dilling claimed that "un-Christianized" blacks are "savages" who owed their success to whites "who actually have freed them and given them better jobs and opportunities than exist in Africa." Dilling also attacked an anti-Nazi group for criticizing the anti-Semitism of the Nazi movement, stating that "it is only fair to note" that "Naziism has directed its attacks more against conspiring, revolutionary Communist Jews, than against nationalist German Jews." Dilling would later become a prominent Nazi supporter and author of several anti-Semitic books, writing in one that "Talmudic Judaism is the progenitor of modem Communism and Marxist collectivism as it is now applied to a billion or more of the world's population."
Amazingly, Beck refused to offer a direct apology for promoting Dilling, instead professing ignorance of what book he was promoting at the time and complaining that "the left" is calling him a "Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer."
As of this writing, no MRC website had mentioned, let alone criticize, Beck's promotion of Dilling. But a few hours after we wrote at ConWebBlog that WND had ignored Beck and Dilling, there appeared a June 7 WND article by Drew Zahn noting that "Glenn Beck has come under heavy criticism for citing a book on the air last week written by an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer named Elizabeth Dilling." That WND would criticize fellow conservative Beck is not as surprising as it might seem -- WND editor Joseph Farah has long had it in for Beck for mocking birthers.
Back at the MRC, the hypocrisy had metastasized. A June 10 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth carried the headline "Olbermann Slams Anti-Helen Thomas Rabbi in ‘Worst Person’ Segment, But Not Helen Thomas." But in his post, Wilmouth quotes Olbermann, well, slamming Thomas' remarks on Israel and Jews: "It was sad. It was narrow minded. I can't defend it."
That lie aside, Wilmouth seemed more upset that Olbermann criticized the person who posted the Thomas video, Rabbi David Nessenoff, for a video in which he engages in Mexican stereotypes. Wilmouth apparently has no problem with such mocking stereotypes, for he offered no word of criticism of them.
When forced to confront the subject, however, the MRC instead has endeavored to change the subject. A June 8 MRC Culture & Media Institute item by Jeff Poor criticized a Salon.com writer for citing Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity as examples of people, like Thomas, who have "uttered controversial, even despicable comments," Poor made the irrelevant point that "neither Limbaugh, Beck, Stern nor Hannity have been designated the 'dean' of the White House press corps, or even have access to the White House briefing room."
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard wrote in a June 10 post that Stephen Colbert "defended Helen Thomas's anti-Semitic remarks by attacking conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, John Gibson, and Michael Savage" -- even though Colbert had neither defended Thomas' remarks nor even mentioned Limbaugh, Beck, Gibson and Savage by name in the clip that accompanied Sheppard's post (he only showed their pictures as he said, "You don't just blurt out racially charged comments on camera. You do it on your radio show"). Indeed, Sheppard quotes Colbert as saying, "Jesus Christ on a matzo cracker, Helen. What were you thinking?" Like Poor, Sheppard tried to deflect any idea that radio hosts have culpability for their remarks: 'Welcome to the Bizarro World of today's liberal comedian that doesn't understand the difference between news and opinion, and can't distinguish a talk radio host from a member of the White House press corps." And like Poor, Sheppard played hear-no-evil as to what statements those radio hosts made that might be considered racially charged.
It seems WND and the MRC complain about alleged anti-Semitism only when it suits their political agenda -- which only raises questions about just how genuine the depth of their support for Jews and Israel really is.