Much has been written over the past few years about the harmful impact that hate speech and disinformation is having on the American public, an issue that has been brought sharply into focus by former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” and the antisemitic posts of Kanye West. It is also why we in the Cleveland Jewish community should be concerned about the weekly appearance of Jonathan Tobin’s JNS.org column in the Cleveland Jewish News.
His column Oct. 28 dealing with the elections in the United States and Israel provides a case in point.
Tobin calls the assertion that there was Russian collusion in the 2016 election “a hoax.” He denies that the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a failed coup d’etat. He asserts that the hundreds of Republican election deniers on the ballot in the upcoming election, including many state election officials, does not imperil our democracy. All of these are either outright falsehoods or deliberate disinformation. Tobin also includes spurious attacks on liberals in every column, blaming them for all of society’s ills. Just the week before, he blamed liberals for the failure of conservative media outlets to denounce West’s remarks, a laughably absurd bit of illogic.
It is difficult to understand how the CJN and its board of directors is comfortable providing a platform to Tobin’s disinformation and divisive rhetoric. If Trump’s big lie and West’s hateful messages would not be acceptable content, then the disinformation and divisiveness that are Tobin’s weekly message shouldn’t be either.