Jewish Americans are only 2 percent of the nation's population, but they are 25 percent of its problem.
That's according to Bernard Goldberg, whose new, bestselling nonfiction book is called, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is No. 37)."
The book offers one- and two-page mini-attacks on people who, Goldberg writes, "are not only screwing things up in this country, but who often are wildly succeeding by screwing things up."
The way I see it, if Goldberg could take the time and trouble to list these people, the least that I, the Jewish journalist, could do is count the Jews among them.
I came up with 25.
So there are 25 American Jews who, in Goldberg's words, produce "a slow poison running through the veins of this great country."
The screed of this scribe has a history. Every couple of years, Goldberg releases a new book attacking liberals in America. His first was called, "Bias," and it was a fun read, because the author had been a CBS News correspondent, and had scores to settle and grudges to nurse.
His second, "Arrogance," I didn't read -- it was beneath me -- and this new one continues the same general line: political, media and entertainment elites, spurred on by the liberal-educational complex, have debased and coarsened American culture.
The book is a bestseller -- No. 2 on Amazon.com and climbing the New York Times list -- and Goldberg is out flogging it everywhere. Droning on through droopy jowls, working himself up into a kind of lackadaisical outrage about Barbra Streisand and Howard Stern, Goldberg is the thinking man's Deputy Dawg.
He wags a finger at radio pioneer Stern, though he is quick to say he opposes media censorship. His cover promises a full frontal attack on Franken, who took apart "Bias" for factual inaccuracy, but Goldberg doesn't marshal anything more than a fictional conversation between himself and the Air America host.
His indictment of Michael Moore, who ranks No. 1 on the list, consists of a full-page photo of Moore and a single quote.
Most of the nonliberals who make the list -- there are five -- either broke the law or killed someone.
"The Unknown American Terrorist" is No. 23. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is No. 8.
Serious, thoughtful work this book is not.
So which Jews make the list?
Other than Franken, Streisand and Stern, there is billionaire Democrat George Soros; activist Laurie David; schlock hosts Jerry Springer and Maury Povich; professors Eric Foner, Jonathan Kozol, Peter Singer and Noam Chomsky; right-wing talk show host Michael Savage; director Oliver Stone; "Vagina Monologue" author Eve Ensler; Norman Mailer; feminists Gloria Steinem and Linda Hirshman; Nation writer Katha Pollitt; Interscope's Ted Field; "Fear Factor" producer Matt Kunitz; New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, and columnist Krugman; Barbara Walters; NBC News president Neal Shapiro; and ABC News president David Westin.
Of course, Goldberg makes nothing of the fact that these people happen to be Jewish. It's possible that no one but me will notice. It's not like anyone can accuse a middle-aged author named Goldberg who lives in Miami of being an anti-Semite. You might even say it's a good thing that someone can publish a best-selling diatribe listing more than two dozen Jews who are poisoning the American bloodstream and not one crackpot picks up on it.
Well, not quite.
Goldberg's callings-out turn up quite frequently on the Web sites of white supremacists and anti-Semitic hate groups. Even nutjobs need validation, and who more authoritative than a man named Goldberg to assure the hatemongers that, yes, if the whole, anti-American entertainment and media elite seems Jewish, it's because it is.
Take this from www.thepriceofliberty.org: "The Zionist domination of the media has been repeatedly proven, and this domination is evident in both the electronic and print media. The commonality of "news" reporting in all the news media, to include major leading newspapers and both network and cable TV journalism, was definitively exposed in Bernard Goldberg's two best-selling books: 'Bias' and 'Arrogance.'"
Just wait until they read the new book: It's the same ideas with twice as many Jewish names.
Another web hate site, www.rense.com, either rips Goldberg off or just happened to arrive at a similar revelation: It lists the same Jewish media execs he does, like Shapiro and Westin.
Goldberg isn't responsible for the delusions of others. But his list, which he calls, at the end of his book, "the fun part," is not without its risks. A just-released study in Britain found anti-Semitic actions among the general population on the rise -- some42 precent in 2004. In times of social upheaval and terror, people look to scapegoats, and simple-minded lists -- especially ones weighted so heavily to one minority group -- are ready-made red flags.