a congenitally untrustworthy columnist?

When writers like Steve Benen, Ezra Klein and Steve Kornacki are critical of the President it’s hard not to take notice – they do, after all, have a record of being objective with no suspect agendas.

But then you read someone like The New Republic’s editor-in-chief Martin Peretz and all you can do is laugh. In his latest diatribe, posted today, he describes the President’s approach to the Middle East as “scandalous” and his attitude to Israel as “hostile indifference”.

“What is curious about Obama’s infatuation with Arab societies (and with non-Arab Muslim societies, too) is that he knows just about nothing about them,” Peretz pants.

It’s always interesting to look at the track record of people who spew dishonest hysteria like this. And in Peretz’s case it’s some track record….

Wiki: Over the course of his career, Peretz has drawn criticism from some fellow commentators … for making comments they considered bigoted, particularly towards Arabs and Muslims.

He has written (among other things) that “Arab society is hidebound and backward” and that the Druze are “congenitally untrustworthy”.

The website Peretz Dossier has compiled an encyclopedia of the most ridiculous and inflammatory things Peretz writes about Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis….

On September 4, 2010, Peretz drew media attention and controversy when he posted an editorial which concluded: “But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims…. so, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof denounced Peretz’s comments, asking: “Is it possible to imagine the same kind of casual slur tossed off about blacks or Jews?”

When criticized, Peretz insisted “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims” was “a statement of fact, not of value”.

Two weeks later Peretz apologized: “…..I allowed emotion to run way ahead of reason, and feelings to trample arguments.”

The Atlantic’s James Fallows: “Peretz … beloved by many students and respected by some magazine colleagues, but broadly considered in his 70s to be a bigot.”


So, short of President Obama agreeing to nuke the Palestinians, his approach to the Middle East will, in Peretz’s eyes, always be “scandalous”. How ‘fair and balanced’!

16 Responses to “a congenitally untrustworthy columnist?”

  1. 1 Hachikō
    March 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Excellent review of Peretz’ rant and assessment of his background and motives, Chip.

  2. March 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Marty Peretz is shrill. Really. he’s shrill. And disgusting.

    In other news:

    Among those who say a government shutdown would be harmful, about twice as many say they would hold the GOP, rather than the president, responsible. A similar question two weeks ago showed that about as many said they would blame Obama as the congressional Republicans for such a stoppage.

    Recall this poll the next time someone says Obama is losing the messaging on the budget battle.

    See more great poll numbers here:
    “The Party With The Edge” : http://www.washingtonmonthly.com OR


    • 3 Dorothy Rissman
      March 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Gobrooklyn. I like your new avatar. Thank you for this great information and links. It is particularly wonderful to see that people are aware of who the hostage takers are. Yahoo.

  3. 4 Theo67
    March 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    It’s these kind of people, and their small minds, who put American lives at risk.

    • 5 majii
      March 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      I agree, and the problem is that they either don’t realize it, or they don’t care. What gives me grief about people like Peretz is that they’re always first to claim how patriotic they are, and how much they love the troops. If one takes a very close look at their words and actions, one could easily see that neither of these is true. What one loves, one doesn’t seek to harm or destroy.

  4. 7 Proud of Obama
    March 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    President Obama looks fierce in that pic. Like he means business. Which he does.

  5. 8 Suzanne
    March 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    He’s loud. He’s shrill. Sane people aren’t going to believe him and can see what he’s about.

    There are so many sites that either beat the drum of the Republican voice or others like Daily Kos that beat the drum of the GOP lies and hypocrisy. Either way the result is that Republicans are being heard, talked about and getting the attention.

    It doesn’t have to just be the great photos and videos about Obama, but I just want to put in a word about keeping the focus on the positives, especially about the President. I don’t usually go surfing the news sites because the positives are stuck in with the negatives and I don’t want to wade through them. I’ve about decided to just get my news from the White House blogs.

    I love your blog, just wanted to let you know.

    • 9 Dorothy Rissman
      March 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Well, he is probably a hero in Israel. Obama is seen as a traitor to Israel because because he does not bend over for them. The Jewish reps and senators are on his back all the time if the president wants to come down on them.

      At times I feel Israel has more power in this country than we the people do.

  6. 10 Dorothy Rissman
    March 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I had no idea that Marty is that old. He is a curmudgeon. Some people because so brittle and hardened in their view when they get old, some of us are open to looking things with fresh eyes, no matter how old we are.

    A lot of Humbugs to Marty.

  7. 11 Dorothy Rissman
    March 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I had no idea that Marty is that old. He is a curmudgeon. Some people become so brittle and hardened in their views as they grow old, but some of us are open to looking at things with fresh eyes, no matter how old we are.

    A lot of Humbugs to Marty.

  8. 13 V C prezOfan2
    March 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    No problem. We always notice you Dorothy. 😉

  9. 14 lisa
    March 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    This has nothing to do with the topic, but can I be superficial for a second: I frickin’ love this photo. There’s something so iconic about it. I can totally see this photo in a history book someday soon.

    • 15 Sue in Minnesota
      March 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      I’ve been knocked off balance with the statement by James Fallow, stating Peretz, “is beloved by students and respected by some magazine colleagues” A bigot, beloved?…..I need to work harder on loving those that IMO seem undeserving and whose behavior should not IMO be condoned.

      Lisa I agree President Obama looks formidable/fierce in this photograph!

  10. 16 Carolyn
    March 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    To use an old fashioned figure of speech, those two look like they’ve just been taken to the woodshed.

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