Robert Lenzner is a reporter for Forbes who was on the Leon Charney Report the other night–a somewhat smalltime show that airs on Channel 25 in New York and often has a Jewish theme to it. Charney served under Jimmy Carter and is a smart guy who could care less about being telegenic.
Charney and Lenzner and Stewart Ain of the Jewish Week were talking about the Madoff scandal and the Jewish angle, and Lenzner agreed that there was a strong Jewish element to Madoff’s world/victims, and then caught himself. No transcript, dearies; the actual show is not up yet, my reporter here is the unimpeachable James North; and North says that Lenzner said in essence: Do you think we could edit that out? When I’m on CNBC I don’t mention the Jewish angle.
To their credit, Charney and Ain both said, No the Jewish angle is important, we’re going with this.
It is a small moment but important. Lenzner is the most mainstream of the three men. He is Jewish, highly-educated, and said to be menschy. And here he admitted that he censors himself when discussing these issues before a national audience. This is hardly an aberration. It shows the degree to which successful American Jews are simply incapable of publicly discussing an important fact, the Jewish presence in Establishment life, presumably because pogroms would eventuate. Can you imagine anything like this sort of censorship when discussing the Christian right and stem-cell research? Or George Bush’s religious/social background? Jewish journos, jump up to it. See where you stand. And what is your responsibility, as journalists no less, to this nation that has given us so much?