So Much for O'Reilly's Theory: NY Times Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire

Back to the drawing board for Bill O'Reilly. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, BOR propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.

BOR particularly singled out the New York Times as a paper reluctant to take any positions that could be construed as contrary to Israel's interests. As of this morning's NY Times editorial, No More Foot-Dragging, that theory might be 'inoperative.' For the Times, in flat contradiction of Israeli desires, is now calling for an immediate cease-fire:

"We’d like to believe that [Sec. Rice's trip to the region] means Washington is now urgently committed to finding a way to halt the fighting." And in case we missed its intent, the Times spells it out: "What the people of Lebanon and Israel urgently need is a cease-fire."

True, the Times went on to call for a muscular peace-keeping force and the disarmament of Hezbollah, but it also managed to take swipes at Israel and at the Bush administration's foreign policy to date:

"The White House has resisted calls for a cease-fire, arguing that a return to the situation that existed before the latest fighting would not bring lasting peace. While that is true, we fear that what the administration has been doing is buying Israel more time to pound Hezbollah and Lebanon. Since July 12, hundreds of Lebanese civilians have been killed and nearly a score of Israelis. For all that dying, there is little sign that Hezbollah — which fired 100 missiles into Israel on Sunday — has been so deeply wounded that it can’t rebuild quickly. Ms. Rice needs to make clear to Israel that more civilian deaths in Lebanon won’t make Israelis safer."

How's this for an alternative theory: after a brief hiatus to assess matters, the Times has reverted to form. It has combined Bush-administration bashing with a dash of disapproval of Israel, seasoned the stew with a soupcon of moral relativism and called for peace-at-any price.

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at

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