In light of the brazen anti-Semitism displayed throughout Glenn Beck’s special programs attacking George Soros this week, the Anti-Defamation League must now answer for their tribute to Beck’s employer, Rupert Murdoch.
Last month the ADL gave Murdoch their International Leadership Award citing “his commitment to promoting respect and speaking out against anti-Semitism.” The press release announcing the award noted the presence of ADL’s National Director Abraham H. Foxman and Fox News President Roger Ailes at the award ceremony. However, it didn’t manage to offer a single example of Murdoch speaking out against anti-Semitism. The only representation of Murdoch’s opinion on the matter that appeared in the press release was this:
“When Americans think of Anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century,” Mr. Murdoch said. “Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”
So the only justification for the tribute to Murdoch cited in the press release is one that attacks liberals who have been the most committed opponents of Anti-Semitism. That’s a pretty thin (and biased) resume for tribute.
The awarding of this honor to Murdoch was suspect from the start as Murdoch’s television and newspaper properties have a long history of conveying overtly negative impressions of Jews and other Semitic peoples. But now that Beck has embarked on his crusade of hate directed at a Jewish philanthropist and a true hero of international tolerance, the ADL has to take a stand.
The ADL cannot dismiss this as the ravings of a TV pundit whose views are distinct from Murdoch. Beck has said on several occasions that he would not be able to make the statements he does if Murdoch disagreed:
Beck: Who owns this network? Rupert Murdoch. Do you know how much money Rupert Murdoch is … you know he’s got all these things going on. Do you think he’s going to let a guy at five o’clock say a bunch of stuff, put this together, it’s completely wrong, and stay on the network? Do you think he became a billionaire because he’s stupid? No, so that’s not it. Because Fox couldn’t allow me to say things that were wrong.
Beck is declaring unambiguously that Murdoch permits his hateful, hostile rhetoric specifically because he agrees with it. And Murdoch has never disassociated himself with Beck’s views or the assertion that Beck’s presence on the network is affirmation of their agreement. Therefore, Murdoch is vouching for Beck and his repugnant commentary.
The question now is whether the ADL still thinks that Murdoch is deserving of the award they presented to him. In an article in The Jewish Week published today, Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors castigated Beck for his “monstrous” allegations. Amongst them was the ADL’s Abe Foxman who said:
“For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say, there’s a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, that’s horrific. It’s totally off limits and over the top.”
Beck’s comments ‘were either out of total ignorance or total insensitivity,’ he said.”
I think it’s fair to say that Beck’s comments encompassed both ignorance and insensitivity. And in Beck’s own words, Murdoch would fire him if he thought Beck had lied or said something wrong. Since Beck still has a job we can conclude that Murdoch is comfortable with Beck’s “over the top” remarks.
So what will Foxman do about it? Will his comment to The Jewish Week be the whole of his protest? Will he hold Beck or Fox News accountable in any way? The one thing that he can do immediately is to announce that he is revoking the award he gave to Murdoch, an award that wasn’t deserved in the first place. By revoking the award Foxman would be making a statement that the sort of hate speech that Beck peddles will not be rewarded or tolerated. It would make a statement that media barons who promote this garbage are equally culpable.
There is simply no reasonable argument that absolves Murdoch from the responsibility he has for his network and its personnel. Foxman must not stand with Murdoch. He must have the courage to do the right thing. He must demonstrate that he is man of integrity and principle. And if he doesn’t he should just drop the “man” from his last name and be properly branded as another flunky for Murdoch and Fox News.
Feel free to let the ADL know how you feel about Murdoch being the recipient of an award for opposing anti-Semitism while his network promotes anti-Semitism.