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The New Republic and the Beltway media’s race problem

Marty_Peretz

Then-owner of The New Republic Marty Peretz, at left, in 2005 Jemal Countess/WireImage

So there were ‘Mass resignations’ at The New Republic  (TNR) following the resignations of editors Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, over the direction the current owner  was taking the magazine. But where were these great principles when Marty Peretz former owner was using his position at TNR for his anti-Black, anti-Latino, anti-Arab, Islamophobic rants?

The New Republic and the Beltway media’s race problem

by Max Fisher on December 5, 2014, 2:50 p.m. ET @Max_Fisher max@vox.com

There’s little doubt that The New Republic’s young owner, Chris Hughes, treated its beloved editor, Frank Foer, poorly. Hughes’ new CEO, Guy Vidra, criticized Foer’s leadership while sitting right next to him at an all-staff meeting. Hughes hired a replacement before firing Foer — which Foer had to learn about through rumors. Hughes, a newcomer to journalism who bought his way, publicly humiliated Foer, along with also-fired literary editor Leon Wieseltier. It’s an ugly, unkind way to treat an editor, an employee, and the well-respected leader of a newsroom. Much of the publication’s masthead, outraged, has resigned in solidarity and protest.

But Hughes’ predecessor, Marty Peretz, did much worse. In the years of Peretz’s ownership, from 1974 to 2007 and then partially until 2012, he gave himself the title of editor-in-chief and regular space in the magazine and on its website, which he frequently used to issue rants that were breathtaking in their overt racism. The columns typically came during periods of turmoil for the minorities he targeted: often blacks and Latinos, later focusing especially on Muslims and Arabs.

“A publication that buoyed racism was tolerable. a publication that fired two beloved white men was not.”

The overwhelmingly white writers and editors who worked for Peretz knew his work was monstrous, and often struggled over the morality of accepting his money (as did I, during my brief internship there). But none ever resigned en masse as they did over the firing of two white male editors today. That fact is just a particularly egregious example of a much larger problem among the elite Beltway publications: a lack of diversity and a begrudging tolerance of racism that go hand-in-hand.

Here are the sorts of things that Peretz wrote or said over the years; all but the speeches here ran on the New Republic’s pages or website.

Quoted speaking on the “cultural deficiencies” of “the black population”:

Citing statistics on out-of-wedlock births among blacks, Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic, said, “So many in the black population are afflicted by cultural deficiencies.” Asked what he meant, Peretz responded, “I would guess that in the ghetto a lot of mothers don’t appreciate the importance of schooling.” Mfume challenged Peretz, saying, “You can’t really believe that. Every mother wants the best for their children.” Peretz agreed, then added, “But a mother who is on crack is in no position to help her children get through school.” Some in the audience of 2,600 young Jewish leaders hissed at Peretz’s remarks.

Writing on the “lives of Africans”:

The truth is that no one has ever really cared about the lives of Africans in Africa unless those lives are taken out by whites. No one has cared, not even African Americans like [Jesse] Jackson and [Susan] Rice. Frankly — I have not a scintilla of evidence for this but I do have my instincts and my grasp of his corruptibility — I suspect that Jackson was let in on the diamond trade or some other smarmy commerce.

Writing on the “deficiencies” of “Latin society”:

Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies: congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict.

By far his worst screeds, though, were reserved for Muslims and Arabs, whom he famously argued should all be stripped of free speech rights:

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imaam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. 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.

On the “higher standards of civilization” that “we” (that most telling pronoun) hold than do Muslims:

I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) “atrocities.” They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures. That comparison shouldn’t comfort us as Americans. We have higher standards of civilization than they do. But the mutilation of bodies and beheadings of people picked up at random in Iraq does not scandalize the people of Iraq unless victims are believers in their own sect or members of their own clan. And the truth is that we are less and less shocked by the mass death-happenings in the world of Islam. Yes, that’s the bitter truth. Frankly, even I–cynic that I am–was shocked in the beginning by the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq. But I am no longer surprised. And neither are you.

And no one resigned — including me, while I was an intern at the magazine for four months. Though I was unpaid, I eagerly accepted the resume-boosting prestige that came from working there. And, like the rest of the staff, I did it knowing it meant turning a blind eye to Peretz’s frequent screeds on the magazine’s website, fully aware that they were not just the crazy rants of an old racist but were in fact palpably damaging to the minority families who had to live in a society that was that much more intolerant because Peretz enjoyed a platform that legitimized his views.

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  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Hell no.

  • Jekyll

    I’m in tears…hear I though I was the only one who cared for delicacies…

  • Jekyll

    Not on an Asian Toliet

  • Mehdi

    Ok tanveer, Okay!

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    A man’s bathroom is his honour. There are three rules about the bathroom.
    1. The bathroom must be clean and dry.
    2. The lighting must be good.
    3. The bodna/lota must have a FLIPPING HANDLE.

    It is no laughing matter.

  • Mehdi

    Serious about your bathroom? You really want to talk about that again?

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    I was being very serious.

  • Mehdi

    I was teasing you.

    But I do confirm that I’m more interested in your usually smart comments.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Sorry, sometimes I forget that not everyone is as normal as my friends and I. We talk about such things often.

  • Mehdi

    Okay, but mentioning your bathroom is not always a very good idea 😉

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Mr mehdi, I think you’re understanding it differently.

  • Mehdi

    Look, that’s more information than I need to know, and I’m happy that I’m not having lunch or dinner right now!

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    I’d watch movies there as well if I could. Unfortunately, I doubt I could persuade my parents to install a TV there. Perhaps when I have my own house.

  • Mehdi

    No judgement, what you do with your life is up to you young man:

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    I find the bathroom peaceful.

  • The greenmantle

    oui

  • Mehdi

    And that means “I like to do my homework in a bathroom”, kind of creepy no??

  • Guess – BDS

    Love how he was humiliated, greeted with the same slogans Arab dictators are treated (“BHL assassin!” ; “BHL out!”) during his most recent visit to Tunisia. Which by the way, he responded with a screed smearing those (of all political background) that protested the entry to their country of a warmongering, imperialist salesman of his calibre meddling in their internal politics, as “the anti-semitic sound and furry of a few dozen exiled Gaddafi supporters, or perhaps, Islamists” …. yawn! And the paradox being he had to supposedly meet his “[anti-Gaddafi] Libyan friends” in Tunisian and not in the land his “humanitarianism” contributed to “liberate” from Gaddafi.

  • Laurent Weppe

    Well, I’ll try to translate (although Renaud’s style gets easily lost in translation):

    Victim of pastry assault
    Ah! What a laughing stock
    The Posh districts’ Philosopher
    With his cleavaged white shirt

    Conceit is his profession
    But fuck we laughed
    When he wanted to rebel
    with his little twitchy fist
    The cream-pied

    Ten times, Twenty times was humbled
    By mere whipped cream
    Still hope to get back on his feet
    But I’m afraid he’s just screwed

    The pie flinger avenged us
    From this subpar Sartre wannabe
    Who sermonize on the TV
    His old discourse so hackneyed
    The cream-pied

    The idol from Saint-Germain-des-Près
    Even though he writes with his two feet
    Has the mad pretentiousness
    To tell us what we have to think

    At the Flore, at the Deux Magots
    holding a vintaged champagne cup
    He pretends to remake the world, persuaded
    That he has a great role to play
    The cream-pied

    He tried making feature films
    Made all France laugh
    When all the theaters
    Where deserted before mid-movie

    In Bosnie he really tried
    To play the hero, the Hemingway
    Shirking war reporter
    [Defiant when facing] Cream-pies yeah, not so much [when facing] actual mortars
    The cream-pied

    Mama Beauvoir as his fiancé
    That would have pleased the cream-pied
    But it seems he shacked
    With a bird who’s much curvier

    Barbie doll quite unhinged
    No no, I did not say wacky
    Despite her hair peroxyded
    She’s much nicer than her Dopey
    The cream-pied

    I want cream-piers by the thousands
    I too will learn the craft
    Some will soon cop it
    I won’t lack for prey

    Let’s leave alone this poor BHV
    He got enough hammered
    More pedants need to be dealt with
    Beside this trifling boy too well hair-dressed

    And above all: Long live Le Gloupier!

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    J’aime fait mes devoirs dans une salle de bains. That’s the only French I remember.

  • Mehdi

    Oh yes and don’t get me started on him…

  • Laurent Weppe

    There’s a reason why BHL has been punchline for years, you know

  • Mehdi

    Exactly, also reminds me of Bernard Henri Levy who made remarks in the beginning of the second intifada about Palestinian parents sending their children to die and not caring about their lives. He had to apologize, but typical dehumanization and racism.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Marty Putz as he was known

  • Laurent Weppe

    But Hughes’ predecessor, Marty Peretz, did much worse. In the years of Peretz’s ownership, from 1974 to 2007 and then partially until 2012, he gave himself the title of editor-in-chief and regular space in the magazine and on its website, which he frequently used to issue rants that were breathtaking in their overt racism

    Kinda like what Dassault did with the french newspaper Le Figaro, creating this weird creature where many of the paper’s article are actually well done reporting buried under disgusting right-wing “I-wanna-be-afeudal-lord-but-fench-laws-don’t-allow-me-to-therefore-this-country-sucks-we-should-be-more-like-China-and-Russia” rants.

    ***

    The columns typically came during periods of turmoil for the minorities he targeted: often blacks and Latinos, later focusing especially on Muslims and Arabs.

    Boy must he have envied the west-european wingnuts: given that the underclass here contains a lot of Arabs and Muslims, it allows local demagogues to put their contempt for the plebs and their racism in a nice little all-encompassing package.

    ***

    “I would guess that in the ghetto a lot of mothers don’t appreciate the importance of schooling.”

    I’m sure the mothers forced to raise their children in the pre-20th century jewish ghettos would have loved his remarks.

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