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Monday, December 26, 2005

"Munich" Assessed in the NYT

Online critiques of the political bias of the "MSM" are prevalent -- far too prevalent -- in the blogosphere, as everyone knows, and the New York Times is usually at the top of that list.  I tend to think these criticisms are both a little ridiculous, given the utter dependence of most blogs on reporting by the mainstream media, and especially reporting in the Times; that they tend to simple aggressive reporting for actual bias; and that, even where bias is evident, they tend to mistake for pure ideological bias what is more often something akin to class prejudice.  But my biggest complaint has always been that critics of media bias in the Times focus on the news pages, which are far less biased and subject to many more constraints, and not on the arts pages (including the Book Review), which regularly are the site of unapologetic and opportunistic political bias.  (Is there really any excuse any more for giving Michiko Kakutani books to review that have anything to do with politics?  Or, for that matter, anything else?)

So it is with pleasure and humility that I strongly recommend today's column by arts columnist Edward Rothstein, whose critique of "Munich" -- which I freely confess I have not seen -- rings far truer and sharper than anything else I have read about that film.  (Yes, including the column by Leon Wieseltier, who I suspect is quite familiar to readers and writers of this blog and who misses at least as often as he hits.)  I hope my friends at The Right Coast, for many of whom the Times can do not right, get a look at it.    

Posted by Paul Horwitz on December 26, 2005 at 04:00 PM in Culture | Permalink


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I haven't seen the movie either, but Rothstein's column strikes me as rather petty and defensive. Of course, I don't know how blunt or unseasoned Spielberg's allegories are, but from what I've heard it seems like a bold effort to import to America some of the soul searching that Israelis have done for years about the proper response to terrorism and how to live with the Arabs and Palestinians.

Perhaps the analogy is too striking for someone like Rothstein to bear: that Munich is the Shoah, that the assassination team is Israel itself, and the actions that they take to survive have terrible consequences for their well-being, i.e. Israeli society as a whole. That's the kind of debate that has raged in Israeli politics for years, but with which Americans are rarely sophisticated or comfortable enough to engage.

Then again, maybe we should all just watch the film and decide for ourselves.

Posted by: Tallyreader | Dec 28, 2005 10:54:06 AM

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