The good news is one of America’s largest local news broadcasters has begun training its staff on how to combat antisemitism. The bad news is that it has to train them to combat antisemitism.
“It’s important for our journalists across the country to understand antisemitism and to be equipped to report on it for our audiences,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson explains in a statement announcing why E.W. Scripps has asked the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to educate 160 newsroom employees – everyone from journalists to news directors – about antisemitism.
From the “very fine” Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville to the antisemitic terror attack at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue to “Jewish space lasers” to the torrent of fakakta Qanon conspiracy theory, nothing has prepared me for the fact that we’ve actually reached the point where American news media now need sensitivity training to understand they should not vilify people just because they’re Jewish.
As an American Jew who grew up in the aftermath of World War II, I naively thought America had evolved beyond that kind of antisemitism, but the past half dozen years has demonstrated it’s not only deep-rooted, but just required some antisemites to chant the quiet part our loud to reveal how close to the edge we still are.
Obviously, Jewish Americans are not alone. The right-wing conspiracy mongers are working feverishly to stir up lots of Big Lies – especially the Great Replacement one – to marginalize all minorities. And as Buffalo, El Passo, Pittsburgh and other domestic terrorism attacks attest, it’s working.
So maybe it is a good thing for the fine people on the other side to begin saying the other quiet parts out loud, too. So kudos to Scripps and the AJC for taking that initiative.
I’m just saddened that 75 years after "Gentleman's Agreement," it's something we need to do again.