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Friday, June 30, 2006
NewsBusters Hits Matthews With Anti-Semitism Smear
Topic: NewsBusters
Reads the headline on a June 29 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein: "Chris Accusing WH of Anti-Semitism in Criticism of NY Times?"

Nope. As Finkelstein himself demonstrates, in asking why the Bush administration and conservative critics (like Finkelstein) are bashing only the New York Times over its reporting on a financial surveillance program when the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal reported the story at the same time, Chris Matthews never once says the word "Jew."

The flimsy basis for Finkelstein's smear is that Matthews mentioned "big ethnic New York way up there in the Northeast that never votes Republican" and did an impression of a Noo Yawk accent, coupled with an entirely unrelated San Francisco Chronicle column by Jon Carroll which did suggest an anti-Semetic motive in criticism of the Times.

Finkelstein ominously states: "Bear in mind that Matthews just happens to be a former San Francisco Chronicle columnist himself. Was it just pure coincidence that on the day the Carroll column appeared, Matthews seemed to be suggesting a similar theory?"

Switch to decaf, Mark. Carroll's and Matthews' theories aren't similar. There are many ethnicities in New York other than Jewish, and the Noo Yawk accent isn't a Jewish accent.

And Finkelstein himself never offers an answer to Matthews' question. That seems like something he might want to answer rather than carelessly tossing around anti-Semitism allegations.

UPDATE: Finkelstein adds in the comments:

If Matthews had been speaking of Bush administration animosity to 'ethnic' New York in general terms, I would agree with you. But here he was doing so in specific reference to the New York Times, historically identified as a 'Jewish' paper. Don't know if you saw the segment, but particularly when Matthews went into his wink and nod with 'New Yawk', I don't think there was any mistaking the point he intended to make.

Ah, those sinister winks and nods. And we thought the Forward was the New York paper "historically identified as Jewish."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 30, 2006 3:12 PM EDT

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