The people involved in this covert joint effort are some heavyweights. At the center is David Fenton, the veteran left wing media-manipulating mastermind, and one of the most important figures on the American Left. (Discover the Network's political biography of Fenton is required reading for any conservative who wants to understand how we lost the culture.) As Linton Weeks of the Washington Post put it, "He's not the poster child of liberal causes; he's the designer, producer and distributor of the posters."
Adam Kredo of the DC:
Fenton appears to have circulated the emails on a listserv maintained by the Committee for the Republic, a group of Washington insiders, including [Charles] Freeman, who criticize neoconservative foreign policy views.They people involved included:
Fenton communications chief executive officer David Fenton, the Atlantic's national correspondent James Fallows, former diplomat Charles 'Chas' Freeman, Just Foreign Policy director Robert Naiman, and American Conservative founding editor Scott McConnell participated in a recent email exchange dedicated to silencing Hagel's critics, the emails reveal.They went after Elliott Abrams:
The emailers targeted recent comments made by Elliott Abrams, a former Bush administration National Security Council adviser who said Hagel "seems to have some kind of problem with Jews," a sentiment that has been echoed by several lawmakers and Jewish leaders.They raise the topic of how inconvenient it is that Abrams is affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations, in effect muttering to themselves that it would be a shame if something happened to that affiliation.
"Elliot [sic] Abrams is an ardent armchair Zionist who thinks that a commitment to Israel is an essential qualification for public service in the United States," wrote Freeman, a vociferous Israel critic who has dubbed Israel's supporters in America a "fifth column."
"Abrams doubts that Hagel has such a commitment. Abrams thus 'has a problem' with Hagel," Freeman wrote, according to the Jan. 10 email chain obtained by the Free Beacon. "Abrams is a Jew. Ergo, he asserts, Jews have a problem with Hagel. Logically, therefore, Hagel has a problem with Jews. What slimy nonsense!"
"I am going to write something about this on the Atlantic's site," the Atlantic's Fallows later replied.
"I cannot at the moment think of a comparable case in which: someone with a comparably 'reputable' institutional pedigree (I am talking about CFR [Council on Foreign Relations], not Abrams personally, given his own varied background), making a comparably bald 'bigotry' charge in a comparably high-stake confirmation debate-and getting away with it," Fallows wrote.Make no mistake, this is an effort to delegitimize an opponent, deflecting attention away from the nominee, and making the point that it is very dangerous to speak out like this. The correspondents are men of influence, the kind of people who can signal well placed leftists elsewhere on which buttons to push as the Hagel nomination narrative is being written by the MSM. Thought leaders of the Left have been captured doing what they do all the time, as they manipulate media coverage and political strategy to advance an anti-Israel agenda, largely a project of the Left, but also including, as in this case, segments of the Right.
Robert Naiman, a frequent Huffington Post contributor with a long history of criticizing Israel who has recently authored articles defending Hagel, asked if CFR has "some culpability by giving Abrams a credential and institutional affiliation that helps him gain access to mainstream media to do what he is doing."
"I think CFR should have some standards for its fellows about promoting civil, fact-based democratic public discourse on U.S. foreign policy," Naiman added.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman