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Senator John Fetterman on Capitol Hill last month. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Peter Savodnik: I Was Wrong About John Fetterman

Plus: Eli Steele on the mediocrity of Harvard president Claudine Gay. And Israeli ‘SNL.’

“I thought I knew who John Fetterman was,” writes my colleague Peter Savodnik of the progressive senator in our first piece today. To be more precise, Peter thought Fetterman was “a rich kid pretending to be a working-class stiff.” But after October 7, Peter has decided he got Fetterman wrong. “I mean totally, indefensibly, unbelievably wrong.”

Not only has the lawmaker shown more moral clarity than fellow progressives since the Hamas attack, he has proven more steadfast in his support for Israel than almost everyone in the Democratic Party.

Fetterman’s stance shouldn’t be remarkable, argues Peter. But “we have become so overwhelmed by uncertainty, so incapacitated by our moral relativism, that we’ve become incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, or defending our values. Or forgetting what those values were in the first place.”

One of our core values at the Free Press is admitting when we’ve made mistakes, as Peter does powerfully here. 

Click below to read his full piece.

The seismic effects of last week’s congressional hearing on campus antisemitism are still being felt, with University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill stepping down from her job over the weekend, and questions now circulating over the academic integrity of Harvard president Claudine Gay.

As Eli Steele writes in our second piece today, Gay is a symbol of mediocrity, the kind of person who has “checked the black box,” declaring her minority status on college and employment applications all her life. It’s something Steele says he has always refused to do. 

Why? 

Because, in his words, checking the “black” box “was to move off the merit track and onto the race track, where people like Claudine Gay excel.”

Read Eli’s essay below: 

For some time now, funny has been the exception, not the rule, on Saturday Night Live. Watch some classic sketches and you soon realize how far the show has fallen.

Or suffer through last Saturday’s cold open, which parodied the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn testifying before Congress last week. 

Practically everyone agrees the hearing was a disaster for those being questioned. But somehow the writers’ room at SNL decided it was Elise Stefanik, the Republican lawmaker doing the questioning, who should be the butt of the joke. The sketch was not just painful television (watch it for yourself below), it was a sorry display of what happens when comedy becomes too ideological and punches in one direction only. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

For a reminder of what comedy can achieve—even in the darkest of times—look no further than Eretz Nehederet. Israel’s answer to SNL has become appointment viewing for a country at war. Whether it’s mocking the Hamas apologetics of American campus radicals or poking fun at Bibi Netanyahu, the show has fun at the expense of a wide cast of characters. 

In the process, Eretz Nehederet (which translates to Wonderful Country), hasn’t just given Israelis some much-needed comic relief. It’s helped them make sense of an impossibly difficult time. 

In her story below, Polina Fradkin meets the people behind the show making a grieving nation laugh. 

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