Answering Andrew Sullivan's Question About Rick Sanchez

By Jeffrey Goldberg

In a post entitled "The Power of the Pro-Israel Lobby" that mainly concerns this piece by Hitch (about which more later), Andrew, taking note of AIPAC's legislative power, asks, "So why the fuss over Rick Sanchez?"

The answer -- or at least one of many compelling answers -- is that what Rick Sanchez said was a lie. According to Brian Palmer at Slate, the news networks are run by non-Jews:

If Sanchez was referring to people in the television news business, he's wrong. Not one of the major television news operations--Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, or NBC News--is currently headed by a Jewish executive. (That includes Ken Jautz, the man who fired Sanchez.) Or at least none of these executives has talked about being Jewish in a public forum. The Internet is littered with rumors about various media moguls being Jewish, but few of those claims are backed by any evidence.

So that's one reason to make a fuss -- the fact that Rick Sanchez trafficked in a pernicious stereotype that has been used in the past, in various places, to justify violence and discrimination against Jews. But another question also arises: Even if all of the television news networks were indeed run by Jews, would this mean that they were run by "The Jews", by a monochromatic Jewish collective? Does the Jewishness of any given television executive represent the most essential truth of his or her being, the element that consciously or subconsciously shapes an entire worldview, and thus, American journalism? Or is it even worse -- are these irreducibly Jewish television executives part of an actual politically-motivated cabal known as the "pro-Israel lobby," the ostensible subject of the Andrew Sullivan blog post in which Rick Sanchez's libel is mentioned in casual and dismissive terms?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/answering-andrew-sullivans-question-about-rick-sanchez/64124/