The Greatest Story Never Told
Date: Saturday, September 15 2007
The Greatest Story Never Told
By Stephen Lendman
No issue is more sensitive in the US than daring to criticize Israel. It's the metaphorical "third rail" in American politics, academia and the major media. Anyone daring to touch it pays dearly as the few who tried learned. Those in elected office face an onslaught of attacks and efforts to replace them with more supportive officials. Former five term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney felt its sting twice in 2002 and 2006. So did 10 term Congressman Paul Findley (a fierce and courageous Israeli critic) in 1982 and three term Senator Charles Percy in 1984 whom AIPAC targeted merely for appearing to support anti-Israeli policy.
DePaul University Professor Norman Finkelstein has long been a target as well for his courageous writing and outspokenness. Depaul formally denied him tenure June 8 even though his students call him "truly outstanding and among the most impressive" of all university political science professors. It's why his Department of Political Science endorsed his tenure bid stating his academic record "exceeds our department's stated standards for scholarly production (and) department and outside experts we consulted recognize the intellectual merits of his work."
It didn't help, and on August 26 got worse. The university acknowledged "Professor Finkelstein is a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher." Yet it issued a brief statement canceling his classes and placing him on administrative leave "with full pay and benefits for the 2007-8 academic year (that) relieves professors from their teaching responsibilities." For now, Finkelstein's long struggle with the university ended the first day of classes, September 5. Both sides agreed to a settlement, and a planned day of protests was curtailed. But as Chicago Tribune writer Ron Grossman put it in his September 6 column headlined "Finkelstein deal ends DePaul tiff....the underlying struggle between supporters of Israel and champions (like Finkelstein) of the Palestinians continues, not just at the North Side campus but across the academic world."
That struggle is nowhere in sight in the dominant media that includes major print publications, commercial radio, television and so-called Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio both of which long ago abandoned the public trust in service to their corporate and government paymasters.
In all parts of the major media, no Israeli criticism is tolerated on-air or in print, and any reporter, news anchor, pundit or on-air guest forgetting the (unwritten) rules, won't get a second chance. Support for Israel is ironclad, absolute, and uncompromising on everything including its worst crimes of war and against humanity. Open debate is stifled, and anyone daring to dissent or demur is pilloried, ridiculed, called anti-semetic, even threatened, ostracized, and finally ignored. In his seminal work on Middle East affairs, "Fateful Triangle," Noam Chomsky put it this way: "....Israel has been granted a unique immunity from criticism in mainstream journalism and scholarship...."
Call it the myth of the free press in a nation claiming to have the freest of all. It's pure fantasy now and in an earlier era, journalist A.J Liebling said it was only for "those who own(ed) one." Today, they're giants operating the way Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained in their classic book on the media titled "Manufacturing Consent." The authors developed their "propaganda model" to show all news and information passes through a set of "filters." "Raw material" goes through them, unacceptable parts are suppressed, and "only the cleansed residue fit to print (and broadcast on-air)" reaches the public. The New York Times calls it "All The News That's Fit to Print." By its standard, it means sanitized news only leaving out the most important parts and what readers want most - the full truth and nothing else.