Late last week, The New York Times published an 800-word story about a few right-wing Jews' complaints that Barack Obama's Hannukah party was smaller than that of Bush, a purported sign of the White House's callous indifference to the Jewish people. On Friday, the CBS News Political Hotsheet blog picked up the story with a headline declaring: "White House Hanukkah Party Spawns Anger."
"Jews at home and abroad have been slow to warm to Mr. Obama – a recent poll found nearly 40 percent of Israelis believe he is Muslim – and it seems the distrust within the community is at least partly driving the anger," said the CBS item. This is, of course, untrue. Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 -- a gain of four points over Kerry, and only a single point less than the Gore/Lieberman ticket in 2000. Obama's favorability numbers among Jews have fallen in tandem with the rest of the country, but remain high: an October Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Jews approve of the president. No other religious group is so enthusiastic about Obama.
Yet this meme that Obama has a Jewish problem won’t die. And it spawns the type of stories -- idiotic pseudo-controversies with only the slimmest connection to reality, ginned up as blog bait and talk show fodder -- that now clog the media ecosystem like some sort of mutant intellectual algae. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the flood of BS speculation and jejune analysis. The War on Christmas was bad enough. Please don't let the right invent a War on Hanukkah, too.