Remember the tree that fell in the forest, causing a ruckus of breaking branches and cracking trunks as it crashed? According to the fortune-cookie school of philosophy that popularized this conundrum, there would be no noise, or no verifiable noise, if there were no human being around to witness it ... unless, I would hasten to add, the human witness on hand happened to be a journalist.
With a journalist -- or, rather, with a press corps -- you never know what reverberations an event or revelation will generate. And I'm not even thinking of the big media silence on the so-called "Feith Memo." Tossed out many news cycles ago by the Weekly Standard in the form of a big, fat scoop, this top-secret U.S. government memo offers intelligence, in 50 numbered points, on the operational relationship it says has existed between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein since the early 1990s. The Standard called its article "Case Closed," but that doesn't mean the press shouldn't even take a peak.
This time, it's another Big Story that has been reliably launched only to sink with little trace. It concerns the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, and it broke in the Financial Times on Nov. 21. "The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-Semitism," the newspaper reported, "because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined."
This suppression is a disgrace. Having commissioned the report during a shocking European upsurge in anti-Semitic violence in 2002, the EU has now buried the report during another shocking European upsurge in anti-Semitic violence in 2003. Indeed, the Financial Times published its initial story the same week that two Jewish synagogues in Turkey were devastated by Islamic bombers, and a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed. A French-language news Web site, www.revue-politique.com, now reports that the brutal murder of a Jewish DJ in Paris on Nov. 19 may have been an act of Muslim anti-Semitism.