You have to appreciate the Nathan Cummings Foundation. They fund all the best stuff: AJWS, Avodah, BJ, COEJL, Elat Chayyim, Jewish Funds for Justice, JOFA, JOI, New Israel Fund, PJA, SHATIL… You seriously couldn’t hope for a more conscientious Jewish org — one that supports cutting edge and infinitely important and worthwhile projects.
Were it for the smattering of aforementioned initiatives alone, dayenu! It would be enough to credit Cummings with being, perhaps, the crown jewel of Jewish philanthropy — at least in my book. But it doesn’t stop there: Not in the Jewish world, nor in the secular world either.
The reason I’m writing this love letter, in fact, is because I’m so damned rootin’-tootin’ impressed with Cummings’ most recent initiative — one that has little to do with the Jewish community at all.
That project is News War.
In a four-hour special, News War, FRONTLINE examines the political, cultural, legal, and economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Through interviews with key figures in print, broadcast and electronic media over the past four decades — and with unequaled, behind-the-scenes access to some of today’s most important news organizations, FRONTLINE traces the recent history of American journalism, from the Nixon administration’s attacks on the media to the post-Watergate popularity of the press, to the new challenges presented by the war on terror and other global forces now changing — and challenging — the role of the press in our society.
The episodes which have aired thus far are available on PBS’s website, and the full program will eventually be up there. It is must-see TV.
News War offers monumental insight into the workings of our government and newsmedia — knowledge that is essential to deciphering the barrage of media we consume, as it grants us a deeper understanding of the motivations underlying each news segment we watch, and each news story we read. I would even go so far as to say that failure to view this program may constitute “dereliction of duty” for voting citizens of the United States.
Kol hakavod to the Cummings Foundation for supporting this fantastic documentary. It is an invaluable contribution to the public discourse.