Thursday, July 23, 2009

Implicit Anti-Semitism?

When I observed that a Yahoo! News item on the Apollo 11 anniversary described the original event as "infamous," I received a comment that I may have been making too much of "an incorrect word choice by a low-paid headline writer." However, now that Barack Obama's comments on the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. have returned the "race question" to the front burner, I seem to have become sensitized to other instances of discrimination. Sadly, my feelers had to reach no further than the BBC NEWS Web site, where I encountered a story introduced with the following summary:

Two mayors, rabbis and politicians are among some 30 people arrested in a major corruption and money-laundering investigation, say US authorities.

This sentence, taken on its own, is not necessarily discriminatory or surprising. Consider, however, the headline under which this story appeared:

US rabbis arrested in crime probe

Even the addition of the word "politicians" could have blunted (if not dismissed) the anti-Semitic tone of the headline. So is this just the work of a low-paid employee bored with his/her work; or is it some kind of Zeitgeist indicator?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps politicians are expected to be dishonest, lying, snakes-in-the-grass, but, rabbi's are held to a higher standard, hence the headline. Don't be too quick to pull out the anti-semite card.

Joe the Philosopher said...

My experience has been that Jews who use the devious expression "anti-semitism" have an intense hatred of they are raised to do.

Stephen Smoliar said...

Joe the Philosopher makes an excellent case for the caution Anonymous advises in using the term "anti-Semitism" at all. It tends to amplify extreme opinions, generating far more heat than light. In retrospect I think it probably would have been better to have used the noun "Bias" in place of "anti-Semitism;" but it is probably the case that every headline conveys a biased point of view. My primary reaction was one of disappointment that a source I have tended to view as objective should have slanted their headline the way they did. My reaction to Joe the Philosopher is that I feel fortunate that my own life experiences have not warped my worldview the way his seem to have done.

Brewerstroupe said...

What nonsense. If the miscreants had been Catholic Priests the headline would have been as big or bigger. "Holy" men behaving badly is big news no matter what denomination.

Time to put aside Jewish exceptionalism.