Eat The Press

regan jewish question.JPG

from NYT, with modifications

It's no "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world": Yesterday, NewsCorp released notes from the conversation between Judith Regan and HarperCollins lawyer Mark Jackson in which Regan had allegedly made anti-Semitic comments and which NewsCorp had claimed was the impetus for Regan's unceremonious firing.

According to the notes, Regan was upset with her perceived lack of support from HarperCollins during the O.J. scandal last month (a claim that seems reasonable, given that HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman won "Publisher of the Year" last week for her skill in "distancing" her publishing house from the distasteful event), and allegedly said this: "Of all people, the Jews should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie." Regan then allegedly said that ICM literary agent Esther Newberg, HarperCollins' executive editor David Hirshey, HarperCollins' CEO Jane Friedman and lawyer Jackson constituted "a Jewish cabal against her."

That's it? Coming from a woman whose vituperative, graphic outbursts are legendary, that's all she said? As her lawyer Bert Fields points out (but which was immediately to this writer upon reading):

"She did not make any remarks that a rational person would consider anti-Semitic," he said. "What she said was that she was being destroyed in the press for something that wasn't her fault, and that the Jewish people should understand more than anybody else what it is to be the victim of a big lie. If anybody considers that anti-Semitic, they should explain it to me."

Something I'd like explained to me: Why the New York Times refuses to say either way whether Regan is Jewish. The NYT reported that the controversy drew "attention to the fact that her boss and others involved in the controversy over the aborted O. J. Simpson project were Jewish." Oh, "others involved in the controversy" — like, say, the speaker?

NB: The WSJ doesn't mention the relative Jewishness of any of the parties at all, and nor do any other outlets (though the LAT quotes Fields saying that he's Jewish). But we're singling out the New York Times, which yesterday broke the claim of "anti-Semitic comments" and today mentions the religion of some people but not others, as tiptoeing around an obvious and intrinsic part of the story.

Disclaimer: Now would be a good time to mention that I'm currently working on a book for HarperCollins coincidentally called "Jew-ish," and am looking forward to working with the whole cabal over there, including those who are Jewish, Jew-ish, and of indeterminate religion like Judith Regan.

Earlier on ETP:

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