The news that Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America for millions of dollars owed him from the purchase of his Current TV network rocked the media world last week. After all, who knew Al Jazeera America still existed?
But AJA is still there (probably), snug in the old Current TV channel slot on your cable guide. It’s just that you’re not watching. Neither is anyone else.
Over at Hot Air on Tuesday night, Mary Katharine Ham pointed to a headline at the New York Times, present at its web home page as well as at the story itself, which equally blames Hamas and Israel for the end of their cease-fire: "Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire." Someone needs to tell Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren that it's the "rockets from Gaza" which broke the cease-fire.
There's a bigger problem with the story, and with establishment press coverage of the conflict in general during the past 36 hours, namely that virtually everyone is ignoring a Monday blockbuster report at the Jerusalem Post presenting compelling evidence that Hamas intended to overthrow the Palestinian government and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, in conjunction with its attacks on Israel (Shin Bet is Israel's internal security service; bolds are mine):
As a 72-hour ceasefire takes hold in Israel, New York Times Gaza-based reporters remain locked in a peculiar moral equivalency between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas bent on the nation's destruction, with reporters taking pains on social media and television to stick up for Hamas, dismissing the idea of Hamas harassment of journalists as "nonsense," and even criticizing Hillary Clinton for taking on the group..
Reporter Anne Barnard appeared on Sunday's edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, hosted by former Times colleague Brian Stelter. When Stelter asked Barnard about the "biggest misconceptions" in the coverage offered by naysayers "thousands of miles" away from Gaza, she herself raised the subject of unfair accusations against Hamas.
During Friday morning’s coverage of the 72-hour cease-fire ending in Gaza, ABC and CBS refused to explicitly acknowledge Hamas as the party responsible for ending the cease-fire with Israel. Instead, those two networks referred to those responsible only as “militants” or “Palestinian militants” firing rockets at Israel.
NBC’s Today did cite Hamas as the side responsible for terminating the truce, but it came during a news brief in the 8:00 a.m. hour after a one-minute-and-17 second report aired during the 7:00 a.m. hour. News reader Natalie Morales stated during the news brief that: “The three-day truce between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza expired overnight. Israel says it responded to Hamas rocket fire with air strikes of its own. The new fighting has cast a shadow over negotiations being held in Egypt aimed at reaching a longer truce.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
In an English language report at NDTV.com on Tuesday, Sreenivasan Jain, reporting from Gaza, witnessed a Hamas "rocket silo being created under a tent right next to the hotel where our team was staying."
His news team then "saw the rocket being fired, just before the 72-hour ceasefire came into effect." It would seem that Western news organizations who have seen their onsite reporters intimidated and threatened by Hamas in Gaza would jump at the opportunity to report some of the reality they've refrained from showing. But there's very little evidence that these organizations have used NDTV's work. Video and a portion of the report's accompanying text follow the jump.
As a ceasefire takes hold in Israel, a review of the most recent New York Times coverage of the conflict shows old anti-Israel patterns die hard, with the paper's Jerusalem bureau chief bizarrely suggesting that "in Israel, open discourse and dissent appear to be among the casualties of the monthlong war in Gaza." No mention was made of the violent threats made by the Hamas dictatorship against both journalists and critical Palestinians.
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel declared that "Gazans tried to put their lives back together" during a cease-fire with Israel and said of the Palestinian terrorist group that spurred the conflict: "Hamas, after a month of punishment, realized it was nearly without friends in the region. Especially Egypt, its Arab neighbor and former ally." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel explained: "This is Gaza's crossing into Egypt. Throughout this war, Hamas's main demand has been to open it, but it's still closed. Hamas has enemies in Israel and in the military-led government in Egypt." Strange that NBC never reported on the isolation of Hamas until after the violence subsided.
It’s a horrible time to be a civilian in Gaza, as ABC, NBC and CBS never tire of telling audiences. But it’s not a good time to be Jewish in Europe, either – maybe not even in America. In the month since the fighting in Gaza began, anti-Semitism has been surging across Europe, as protests against the IDF offensive drop any pretense of being about Israel and turn into orgies of anti-Semitic hate. The response from the U.S. broadcast networks: silence.
In Athens, Greece, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized, as was one in Sevastopol, Crimea. There have been at least nine attacks on French synagogues since the fighting began, and a Jewish-owned shop was burned in Paris. The cars of Jewish families have been vandalized in Amsterdam. Scores of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in Italy, Britain and Germany. A synagogue was vandalized in Miami, and #HitlerWasRight trended worldwide on Twitter. Oh, and just the other day a Hamas official trotted out the old blood libel that Jews used to kill Christians and use their blood to bake matzos.
A popular blood libel Palestinian leaders and parents tell their people and children goes as follows: "Jews used to slaughter Christians in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos."
In the video (HT Twitchy) which follows the jump, Blitzer asks Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan to confirm that the quoted words just cited are what he recently said and meant. Over nearly seven agonizing minutes, Hamdan never admitted to anything, but certainly conducted himself as if he had uttered those words. To his credit, Blitzer noted that the end of the segment that his question had not been answered, leaving reasonable viewers to believe Hamdan did say previously say them, and that the bare outlines of his attempted excuse, which was essentially a claim that "I was just repeating something someone else said," doesn't fly.
All three network morning shows on Monday eagerly touted the Obama administration denouncing Israel after an attack on Hamas targets in Gaza led to civilian deaths. On NBC's Today, correspondent Richard Engel proclaimed: "After another attack on Palestinians taking shelter at a U.N.-run school on Sunday, Washington issued its strongest condemnation yet of its ally. The U.S. State Department said it was 'appalled by the disgraceful shelling.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "U.N. officials were shocked Israel chose to attack where it knew so many civilians would be in danger....The U.N. secretary general called the Israeli strike 'a moral outrage and a criminal act.'"
On Thursday, as Connor Williams at NewsBusters reported, Joe Scarborough at MSNBC "ripped Israel for their 'indiscriminate' attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future." Specifically, Scarborough said that "this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine," and "we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen."
On Friday, as Laura Flint at NewsBusters noted, Scarborough attempted to walk back some of what he said, insulting his objectors by saying he would use "simple talk that simple minded people can understand." He was apparently so proud of what he said that he had it printed virtually verbatim at the Politico late Friday afternoon, complete with an emphatic, condescending title. Let's revisit the screed to make a few important points (produced in full because it has already been broadcast; bolds and numbered tags, used so Joe can better follow "simple-minded" points, are mine):
On Friday night, the major broadcast networks all covered the latest developments in the conflict between the Israelis and Hamas as a three-day cease-fire collapsed after an Israeli solider was captured during an ambush while the two sides fought in an underground tunnel. In their coverage, the networks used some harsh language in describing the Israeli offensive to seek out those responsible and two networks touted Palestinians praising the capture.
Anchor Diane Sawyer said on ABC World News described Israel’s actions after “one of their soldiers was apparently captured by Hamas” as “[a] pounding response.” In a report from ABC News chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran, he noted how, at the start of the cease fire, there “was quiet in Gaza” as “[y]ou could hear the birds chirp” before noting that, not long after, “it was on again.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick's front-page story on Thursday, "Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent," appeared under a sympathy-inducing photo of a shattered United Nations school allegedly hit by an Israeli shell, while Kirkpatrick's story tried to induce sympathy toward Hamas, abandoned by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, its erstwhile allies in the fight for the destruction of Israel.
An online teaser actually suggested Egypt's opposition to the terror group Hamas was a regrettable obstacle to peace: "Led by Egypt, a coalition of Arab states has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, posing new obstacles to efforts to end the Gaza conflict." Acording to Kirkpatrick, Hamas's terrorist status is up for debate, as it is merely "deemed a terrorist group by the United States and Israel."
In an interview with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted how "anti-Israel protests around the world" "have taken a disturbing turn and become anti-Semitic in nature," but proceeded to blame Israel for the prejudice: "Do you ask yourselves, 'Okay, we may be winning militarily but are we losing the larger battle, the PR war?' And perhaps, as one headline put it yesterday, minting the next generation of terrorists?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline Guthrie cited was from the liberal Daily Beast website, which on Wednesday published an article by Jesse Rosenfeld, who ranted: "It is not Hamas propaganda, the school curriculum or even their parents that make these children see a future where continued resistance is the only option for survival. That was an education taught by the Israeli bombs that flattened their homes and by the bread lines across the street from the school."
In a report for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel – who on Monday fretted that Hamas would get "nothing" out of a cease-fire deal with Israel – highlighted a Palestinian teenager celebrating the terror group's attacks: "In Gaza, many see these attacks as justified. 16-year-old Farah Bakkar has developed a following online after live tweeting as [Israeli] bombs fell....Farah never supported Hamas before, but does now." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite ran of Bakkar proclaiming: "When I see the [Hamas] rockets getting to Israel, I start loving them more and more and I pray for them."
On Monday night’s edition of his PBS show, Charlie Rose aired an interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal that he conducted in Doha, Qatar over the weekend and Meshaal took the insane and ridiculous step of comparing himself and the Palestinian people to what Nelson Mandela and South Africa went through under apartheid. This statement is just the latest since excerpts began airing on CBS’s Face the Nation, CBS This Morning, and CBS Evening News on Sunday and Monday.
When asked by Rose for a prediction on how does he believe that the fighting in Gaza will end, Meshaal railed against Israel as carrying out the “occupation” by declaring that: “Every single occupation ought to fail and every single occupation ought to stop and every single settlement ought to perish. Yes, it is difficult, we'll pay a price, Mandela played – paid plenty but he was victorious at the end of the day. Ultimately, the Palestinian people will be independent." [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Tuesday, only NBC's Today covered Israel's heavy criticism of the Obama administration's effort to pushed a Hamas-backed cease-fire plan in Gaza. At the top of the broadcast, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "...the Obama administration goes on the defensive after Israeli media rip John Kerry's efforts to make peace." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kate Snow observed: "The public and the press seem to have turned on Kerry. Take a look at the headline in this morning's paper. 'Obama and Kerry,' it says, 'are playing with fire.'"
As yours truly noted a week ago, journalists who have ventured into Gaza operate under coverage restrictions imposed by Hamas, the terrorist group which controls it. Based on the tenor of their coverage, the New York Times and other organizations are complying with Hamas's constraints, usually without telling their readers, listeners, and viewers. This of course begs the question of why those reporters and photographers stay there — unless they'd like to leave and are being prevented from doing so.
A little onsite reality leaked out of Gaza today, in the form of two tweets from Wall Street Journal reporters based there, before they were quickly withdrawn. Twitter user Yair_Rosenberg caught them before they disappeared. They provide evidence that a rocket strike at a Gaza hospital which killed many Palestinians was the result of an errant Hamas rocket, not an Israeli strike:
CBS This Morning aired multiple excerpts on Monday morning of co-host Charlie Rose’s interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, that will air on Rose’s PBS show on Monday night. In the excerpts that were aired, Rose allowed him to compare the Palestinian people in their fighting with Israel to Americans waging war with the British in the America Revolution. Further, Meshaal denied any possibility that, in his mind, a state of Israel could co-exist with any Palestinian state.
In the first excerpt, which aired in the 7:00 a.m. hour, Rose began by citing former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who said that “Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen” if they shot rockets toward Israel and that “they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so the rest of the world will condemn them”. Rose cited Clinton as someone who isn’t Israeli, but was “a man who worked hard to create peace between Palestinians and Israelis.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Of all the Associated Press reporters out there, Matt Lee, whose beat is the State Department, appears to have the least patience with the pablum (and worse) he is expected to swallow from the Obama administration.
In September of last year, as the situation in Syria escalated, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria. After hearing State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defend that proposal as "courageous," Lee, after getting a non-response to a question as why it was courageous, famously asked: "Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal op procedure at the White House over the weekend?" Though he may not have exercised the best judgment this morning in posting the tweet which follows the jump, at least we can say that Lee hasn't taken up permanent residence in the wire service's otherwise very crowded water-carrier wing:
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.
No-no-no. Team Obama is "fuming" (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state's positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.
On Monday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel worried that Hamas was not getting enough out of a temporary cease-fire agreement with Israel: "What is Hamas getting in return? So far, nothing. No deal, no immediate lifting of the closure of the Gaza Strip. Just a reprieve from Israel's assault that has flattened entire Gaza neighborhoods and killed more than a thousand Palestinians, many of them civilians, many of them children." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued to outline the demands from the Palestinian terrorist organization: "The war could easily escalate again. Hamas wants an agreement to end the fighting, not for Israel to unilaterally scale back the assault on its own terms."
Dear Guardian, thanks for making this easy! Rarely are a media outlet’s prejudices and blinkered sense of moral equivalence more in evidence than in two stories on the left-wing British newspaper’s site.
Exhibit A:A 461-word July 19 story picked up from the AP. Boko Haram killed more than 100 people when the Islamist group entered a town in North Eastern Nigeria on July 20. They “attacked the town of Damboa before dawn on Friday, firing rocket-propelled grenades, throwing homemade bombs into homes and gunning down people as they tried to escape the ensuing fires.” The accompanying photo captioned as “A screengrab taken on 13 July from a video released by Boko Haram shows the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.”
Sunday evening, Noah Pollak at the Weekly Standard noted that "Something important is missing from the New York Times's coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields."
That's because Hamas has demanded that such photographs not be circulated. The Times is clearly complying, and without telling its readers that is coverage has been restricted. Pollak believes that the Times really doesn't mind the overt censorship (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
As many as 90,000 of France’s 350,000 Jews – more than one fourth – were murdered in the Holocaust, within living memory. So when Jewish synagogues and businesses are attacked in Paris by mobs chanting “Death to the Jews,” (on Bastille Day, no less) it ought to be news.
Not to the U.S. broadcast networks – at least not when the mob is Muslim. In Paris on Sunday, three Jews were hospitalized after a violent attack on a synagogue by pro-Palestinian demonstrators. According to the Jerusalem Post, “‘The attackers splintered off an anti-Israel demonstration and advanced toward the synagogue when it was full,’ said Alain Azria, a French Jewish journalist who covered the event.”
Ronan Farrow, who used to report to Hillary Clinton at the State Department, was taken to school on the Tuesday edition of his eponymous program by Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Farrow seemed to want Regev to apologize on air for Israel’s “level of retaliation.” Regev argued that Israel is not retaliating but rather is being forced to protect its citizens from a terrorist group that has rejected a cease-fire.
The ‘blame Israel’ rhetoric from the mainstream media has shown no signs of slowing down. This time, on the July 15 edition of CNN’s New Day, host Chris Cuomo and CNN contributor Peter Beinart decried the unevenness of the war, citing high casualties on the Palestinian side while pointing to virtually nonexistent casualties on the Israeli side of the conflict.
Cuomo naturally led off his interview of Beinart with this statement: “Proportionality is a big part of this story always when there's conflict. Israel obviously has the advantage militarily...Now, on the other side from the Ministry of Health there, close to 200 deaths, 1,400 injured, many women, children, civilians, schools supposedly damaged. It takes us to the issue of proportionality. How does that play here?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
Reporting from the Gaza Strip during MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on July 14, NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, formerly of Al Jazerra and CNN, parroted Hamas denials that it deliberately placed missile batteries in civilian buildings in Gaza [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]:
They definitely reject the labeling of using civilians as human shields....Hamas military wing people that we've been speaking to and others – not just on these past few days, but in the past several years, because this is an issue that always comes up against Hamas – they will say that this is the nature of the battlefield that they have to fight in. That this is not an issue by design, but as a reality of what Gaza is like because it's so densely populated.
An American teenager, along with two Israeli teens, has been kidnapped in Israel. “[T]wo jihadist groups had posted claims of responsibility for kidnapping the teens,” according to The Washington Post. Israel is in an uproar as the government tries to find them.
But in America, the broadcast networks are breathlessly covering the new movie “22 Jump Street.” In fact, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted more than 10 and a half minutes to the sophomoric slapstick movie comedy. That’s more than twice what they’ve given to the kidnapping.