Israel Walks Tight Rope in Ukraine; Calif. Ethnic Studies

Lachlan Murdoch and Sarah Murdoch attend the ‘Mother!’ premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, September 13, 2017. (Photo: Shutterstock/Debby Wong)

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Succession at Fox News

Whether or not you are a fan of Fox News, it is reasonable to wonder, as Ken Lacorte does in an April 12 article on National Review Online, what will happen to Fox News after the reign of owner Rupert Murdoch, 91, comes to an end.

Lacorte finds cause for optimism in the person of the young and dynamic Lachlan Murdoch, who is executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation. The presumptive heir to the News Corporation empire recently gave a speech at the Centre for the Australian Way of Life that harshly criticized woke culture’s attacks on figures and symbols of America’s past and what he termed “the destructive rewriting of its history.”

“Debate is essential to democracy. Important issues need to be aired, examined, and judged. It can be uncomfortable, but it is the media’s key role in our system. Hewing to one orthodoxy does not allow this, and is not the media’s role,” Lachlan states.

Descent Into Hell

Can Mayor Eric Adams reverse the decline of New York City?

The headline of columnist Michael Goodwin’s piece in the New York Post on April 12 is “After latest bloodbath, time is running out for Hochul and Adams to save NYC.” The incident that shocked millions occurred on the morning of April 12 when a crazed lone wolf assailant set off smoke bombs and shot passengers on a Manhattan-bound N train in Brooklyn, wounding at least 29.

Noting that New York is in the third year of a crime wave, Goodwin calls rising crime in all major categories a factor driving people out, including wealthy New Yorkers whom Goodwin regards as pillars of the massive budgets that City Hall wants to put to use on its pet projects.

Goodwin thinks that Adams, who ran on a tough law-and-order platform, has moved away from the promises he made while campaigning and has turned into something of an appeaser of the wing of the Democratic Party associated with militants like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If Adams continues to play this role, and to avoid being the kind of leader people sick of crime thought they were voting for, the rapid decline is likely to accelerate still further.

Israel’s Third Way

Ever since February 24, the blue and yellow flags of Ukraine have been ubiquitous in the news and on social media. People around the world are eager to show their support as Ukraine suffers ever-intensifying battering from Russian forces, including a recent missile attack on a train depot that killed at least 50 civilians. As Patrick Kingsley notes in an April 10 article in the New York Times, Israel has made serious efforts including setting up a field hospital in Ukraine, sending humanitarian aid, and joining diplomatic efforts at the U.N. to sanction Russia.

At the same time, Kingsley notes, Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has largely refrained from demonizing Russia or blaming Russia for the crisis. The balancing act that Bennett has undertaken has drawn fierce criticism and charges of a conflict of interest. The article informs us that 13 percent of Israel’s 9.2 million people were born in the former Soviet Union. Many of these Russian-born citizens now hold highly prominent positions in Israeli society as well as holding ties to Russia. The article gives a few examples, namely billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has ties to Vladimir Putin and has been a prominent donor to Israeli organizations, and Yitzchak Mirilashvili, the owner of Channel 14.

But the article quickly turns to experts who are of the opinion that these powerful Russian-Israeli figures have not muted Israel’s official response to the Ukraine crisis, and that the government of Naftali Bennett is acting on considerations of national security.

Golden State Buffoonery

Governor Gavin Newsom, January 7, 2019. (Photo: Kevin B. Sanders for The Media Globe)

Now that ethnic studies courses are a requirement in California’s public schools, parents want to know what effect such courses are having on those subjected to them.

An April 12 article by Katy Grimes on the website California Globe recounts how Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 101 into law last fall after having vetoed an earlier version, Bill 331, on the grounds of a lack of balance in the viewpoints and perspectives it would impose in California classrooms.

Grimes’s article challenges the notion that the version of the bill that Governor Newsom deemed worthy of signing is in fact balanced and inclusive. She quotes an unnamed education consultant who told California Globe in 2021, “The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, loaded with Marxist ideology, is already sowing deep divisions among peoples, and generally maligns people of European descent and Christianity.”

Grimes also questions the claims that proponents of ethnic studies have made about how the curricula supposedly boost academic performance. She quotes two professors, Abraham Wyner of the University of Pennsylvania and Richard Sandler at UCLA, stating in a March 29 article in Tablet Mag that studies purporting to show an improvement in the GPAs of ninth-graders who have taken ethnic studies courses are based on vague and inconclusive data that could be interpreted either way.

By Michael Washburn

Michael Washburn is a Brooklyn-based writer and journalist. He is the author of the short story collections Scenes from the Catastrophe (2016), The Uprooted and Other Stories (2018), When We're Grownups (2019), and Stranger, Stranger (2020). Michael's story "Confessions of a Spook" won Causeway Lit's 2018 fiction contest.