Newspaper publishing firms in the U.S. have increasingly found themselves the subject of news reports as of late. Tribune Co. is in the headlines for having filed for bankruptcy. It owns The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times and it is just another in a long list of newspaper owners in trouble in recent years. The New York Times has announced it will borrow against its headquarters building and The Philadelphia Inquirer's headquarters is up for sale.
In these tough times for newspapers the question comes to mind: What U.S. newspaper is the most fair to Israel?
This time last year the answer may have been a given for some pro-Israel activists. But, The New York Sun, the daily newspaper created by Seth Lipsky, published its last issue on September 30, 2008 the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The Sun was a victim of the bad economy.
Writing from Philadelphia the answer to the search for fair Middle East coverage is clear: The Bulletin in Philadelphia see their website at www.thebulletin.us. The Bulletin is a four year old daily newspaper and it revived the name of a much loved paper that had been shuttered back in January 1982. What sets it apart from The New York Sun is that The Bulletin is a paper with very strong ties to Philadelphia's Catholic community.
In the interest of full disclosure: The Bulletin published two essays by this author in 2008; I was not remunerated for either one.
In addition to this author some of the most talented pro-Israel writers today have appeared regularly in The Bulletin's pages in the last several years including Daniel Pipes, the head of the Middle East Forum, who has a weekly column in The Bulletin. Others who have been given op-ed space in The Bulletin are Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Institute for Security Affairs (JINSA), syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, former AFSI and American Jewish Congress staffer Joseph Puder, Philadelphia based ZOA staffer Steve Feldman, founder of the Sderot Media Center Noam Bedien, noted community activist Bob Guzzardi, Lori Lowenthal Marcus a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Israel Advocacy Task Force, Dr. Rafael Medoff head of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, syndicated columnist Dennis Prager, Asaf Romirowsky of the Middle East Forum's Campus Watch, Director of Policy for the Jewish Policy Center Jonathan Schanzer, the editor of the Middle East Forum's Middle East Quarterly Michael Rubin and many, many others.
That is not to say that The Bulletin does not welcome some of Israel's harshest critics onto its opinion pages. It does. Both Joe Sobran and Pat Buchanan have appeared in The Bulletin's pages as have others from the "Blame Israel First" crowd. Sobran has strong ties to Holocaust deniers and his penchant for criticism of Israel, Zionism and the America-Israel alliance is a centerpiece of his writing. It should suffice to remind readers that Sobran and his colleague Pat Buchanan were the main subjects of the late William F. Buckley's 1993 book In Search of Anti-Semitism and the December 1991 National Review cover story and essay that the book was based on. The cover story caused a national media sensation when it was published. The Bulletin even published a tribute to Sobran by Jim Panyard in 2007. Sobran has appeared only very rarely. Buchanan has been featured on a pretty much weekly basis.
The demerits The Bulletin should receive for Buchanan and Sobran (especially Sobran) must be seen for what they are. A daily newspaper must include viewpoints from a wide spectrum in order to best serve its readership. Buchanan is a MSNBC political analyst and while he is an extremist by any realistic measure he has not been discredited as such by the mainstream media (yet). The publishing of and praising of Sobran is just not excusable.
More importantly than opinion columnists though, the work of two fine journalists originates daily at The Bulletin. Analyst Herb Denenberg is the dean of consumer affairs investigative reporters. Denenberg is a great American patriot and a dedicated Zionist. Denenberg's recent articles about the revelations found in Robert Spencer's new book Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs have been excellent.
David Bedein is The Bulletin's Jerusalem based correspondent and his recent series on the Jewish connections to the City of Hebron were outstanding. The Bulletin also has an excellent U.N. Correspondent named Michael Brasky. Others in The Bulletin newsroom provided great coverage during the election of the Los Angeles Times / Barack Obama videotape scandal.
Recently Jerry Verlin of the Philadelphia based effot Brith Sholom Media Watch wrote: "This week I re-subscribed to The Bulletin, and was promptly rewarded. On Thursday, it ran a balanced Bloomberg article presenting multiple views on the potential significance of astounding new Israel archaeological finds."
Verlin is right. Reading The Bulletin is rewarding. A daily newspaper that is fair to Israel and opens its op-ed pages to pro-Israel writers is an increasingly rare thing in America. Check out The Bulletin in 2009. You'll be glad you did.
What's more, there should be little doubt that the new Obama/Clinton policy for Israel will include pressure on Israel to negotiate away Israel's full control of the Old City and other parts of Jerusalem. In such times newspapers that are fair to Israel should be acknowledged and should be read. Here's hoping that The Bulletin has some considerable competition as the U.S. newspaper that is the most fair to Israel in 2009.
Postscript: If you have a newspaper in your area that you feel should be acknowledged as fair to Israel please write to firstname.lastname@example.org .