On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Dana Lewis filed a report in which he noted some of those on board the Gaza-bound ships that were boarded by Israel were from a Yemeni group that has "murky links to al-Qaeda," and others from an extreme group in Turkey believed by Israelis to have terrorist links: "But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations." The report also recounted that anti-Semitic attacks were chanted by those who attacked Israeli commandos: "In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, ‘Death to Jews.’"
On the same day’s Fox and Friends, FNC’s Peter Johnson, Jr., recounted that the Israelis allow much humanitarian aid into Gaza on a regular basis, and that they had also offered to screen and deliver aid from the flotilla of ships before the confrontation: "We know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that's sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that's being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, ‘Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel, we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza.’ If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"
The broadcast networks ABC and NBC have only given brief attention to the flotilla’s links to terrorist groups, while CBS has ignored such connections.
It isn't just the pro-Palestinian press that is attempting to distort the reality behind the recent flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.
Former Democratic Congresswoman, and 2008 Green Party candidate for President of the United States, Cynthia McKinney, has voiced her own version of reality through an anti-Israeli rant in Arab News. McKinney is of course, a reliable source on the topic, having been involved in her own little attempts at defying and breaking an Israeli blockade of Gaza (translation - aiding and abetting a terrorist regime).
In her column for Arab News, McKinney expresses outrage over ‘Israel's needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.' Having been involved in previous attempts to defy the authority of the Israeli Navy, McKinney knows full well that the Free Gaza Movement, organizers of this flotilla, consists of anything but unarmed humanitarian activists. In case memory has failed her, here is a handy reminder:
A report from the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center highlights the link between flotilla organizers and radical human rights violators.
The Jerusalem Post points out that ‘soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes.' The article then goes on to say that the already armed protestors upgraded their arsenal by ‘stealing two handguns from soldiers', opening fire, and ultimately escalating the violence that they themselves had already started.
Helen Thomas was her typical, Israel-hating self Tuesday when during the White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a "deliberate massacre, an international crime."
When she got her chance to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question at the proceeding, Thomas was relentless in her accusations.
"If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," she said.
"What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit):
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
Here's what Tapper wrote hours ago at ABC's Political Punch blog (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey):
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, during the show’s regular "Fox All Stars" segment, columnist and FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer argued that the group of ships that were raided by Israeli troops were intentionally trying to provoke an incident and weaken Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as he related that Israel not only already allows plenty of aid shipments into Gaza, but had even offered to deliver the aid on the ships so long as the military was allowed to screen the contents to make sure no weapons were being smuggled.
After complaining about the word "humanitarian" being applied to the ships, Krauthammer argued that there is no "humanitarian crisis" that was being addressed by the flotilla: "There's no one starving in Gaza. The Gazans have been supplied with food and social services, education, by the U.N., by UNRWA, for 60 years, in part with American tax money. Second, when there are humanitarian needs, the Israelis allow every day food and medicine overland into Gaza. The reason that it did not want to allow this flotilla is because, as the spokesman for the flotilla said herself, this was not about humanitarian relief, it was about breaking the blockade." He went on to recount that the blockade exists to prevent weapon shipments to the terrorist group Hamas which controls the government in Gaza.
Weekly Standard editor and FNC contributor Bill Kristol argued that the Israelis would have been willing to deliver legitimate aid from the ships: "As Charles said, they can get humanitarian aid into Gaza. If they want more humanitarian aid to Gaza, airlift in five million tons of nice goods, and the Israelis will just take a look and make sure they're not arms and let them go through the checkpoint. This checkpoint is open. Stuff goes through every day."
As international outrage mounts, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancels Tuesday's scheduled meeting with President Obama, it is crucial that news outlets here offer an accurate, fair and balanced assessment of exactly what transpired in the Mediterranean Sea early Monday morning.
After all, according to Israel's Haaretz, this isn't the unprovoked massacre some in the media are depicting (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, photo courtesy AP):
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
"Let's just get it out of the way right off that bat that Al Qaeda madmen don't actually want to blast through bridges, skyscrapers, and subways in righteous protest of the First Amendment," an exasperated Katie Paul began her March 23 tirade about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"It's mind-boggling that politicians still consider this nonsense an effective enough talking point as to employ it in their keynote speeches to national audiences--until, that is, you realize they usually only bring it up when they're after something else," the Newsweek reporter added in her The Gaggle blog post, going on to argue Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was just red meat tossed out to a pro-Israel audience to bolster his closed-door meeting with President Obama over the Middle East peace process.
To be fair, it is true that politicians can and do simplify complex matters into sound bites that don't do justice to the issues at hand, but in this case, Paul is far too dismissive of the argument that al Qaeda's real complaint is not just with particular foreign policies of the United States and/or Israel but with the whole Western concept of secular, pluralistic liberal democracy.
Indeed, Paul doesn't have to take any politician's word for it, she need only look at al Qaeda's own pronouncements. From a February 4, 2005 Congressional Research Service document entitlted "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology" (emphases mine):
Rick Sanchez Tuesday invited on a former adviser to deceased Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat in order to tell viewers how Israel has become a threat to American troops.
The CNNer devoted a good amount of his two-hour "Rick's List" to teeing up a number of guests and fellow so-called journalists to voice their anti-Israel sentiments.
"Mark Perry is saying that some of the top Pentagon generals now believe the United States troops in the battlefields in Afghanistan and in Iraq are being endangered by the lack of progress toward Middle East peace, and, in particular, by actions undertaken by the Netanyahu government," said Sanchez.
What followed took place moments before CNN broadcast anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Twitter comments (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary, h/t Story Balloon):
Hours after I noted how Joe Klein suggested that Americans who support Israel might be unpatriotic for disagreeing with the Obama administration, the Time writer made his claim more explicitly in a Swampland blog post entitled "Israel First?" (emphasis mine):
The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has done a very unwise thing: It has issued a statement criticizing the Obama Administration, rather than Israel, for its reaction to the Netanyahu government's recent announcement of more illegal settlement blocks in East Jerusalem--an announcement that was made during Vice President Joe Biden's visit last week, an act of extreme rudeness on top of its unquestioned illegality.
This is quite remarkable. I may be wrong--and commenters are welcome to correct me--but I can't remember another ethnic or religious lobbying group publicly siding with a foreign country against the President of the United States...especially when the country in question is engaging in behavior that the international community believes is illegal.
Last week the Obama administration worked itself up into high dudgeon over a decision by the Israeli government to green light a housing project in an east Jerusalem neighberhood. While its true the decision came down at an indelicate time -- right in the middle of Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- the actual substance of the decision was perfectly legal and in contravention of no prior agreement with the United States related to the peace process.
Klein -- who last March insisted that President Obama should take to the bully pulpit to lecture Israel on its 'moral standing' -- concluded his post by subtly questioning the patriotism of American members of the pro-Israel group AIPAC:
Helen Thomas on Friday asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why the United States keeps giving iron-clad commitments to Israel when it violates international law?
Gibbs responded during the press briefing, "Well, again, we enjoy a strong relationship with the country and the people. We are committed to their security."
Giving what the late Tony Snow marvelously referred to as "The Hezbollah View," Thomas challenged the man at the podium, "How about the Palestinian security?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
It was a year ago this weekend that the Israeli military halted its three-week campaign, Operation Cast Lead, against Hamas militants in Gaza, during which Israel had responded to thousands of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza over several years. During Israel’s military campaign, on a number of major stories, many American television newscasts were more inclined to report accusations made by U.N. or Palestinian officials that the Israeli military had acted improperly than they were to update viewers after the military held investigations and released reports disputing the accusations made against it. At one point, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric went so far as to claim that the Israelis "may have used a banned weapon."
Below is a compilation of NewsBusters postings which document how the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS reported a number of major stories from the Gaza War, highlighting examples of the media either engaging in distortion or omitting relevant information that would have cast Israel in a more favorable light, including several times when the broadcast and news networks even ignored reports issued by the Israeli military after it had taken time to investigate and dispute accusations made against its troops which had previously been reported by the media.
On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show's regular "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, host Bill O'Reilly highlighted an example of left-wing hatred from a man who appears to be part of the anti-war left, as O'Reilly showed video of the unidentified "deranged" man who started shouting at former President George H.W. Bush in a Houston restaurant. The heckler used obscenities and called the former President "murderous" and a "Zionist," and blamed him for millions of deaths.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, January 12, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
On January 6, 2009, there was an infamous explosion near the U.N.-run Fakhura school at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, as the Israeli military did battle with Hamas fighters. The Israeli military’s official account of the incident, released in February 2009, contended that 12 people died outside the school, nine of whom were identified as Hamas members. But, as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS reported the incident early on, all cited a substantially higher account of the death toll which was claimed by Palestinian officials and the U.N. as being "more than forty" or "dozens,"claiming that many civilians – who were sheltering inside the school to escape the danger of Israeli airstrikes – were among the dead. While most news shows did relay the Israeli account that the explosion occurred because their troops were battling Hamas members, these news shows never reported to viewers the official Israeli account that nearly all who died were Hamas members. In fact, some earlier reports had cited the number of Hamas members in the group as being as low as two.
A year ago today, when U.N. officials accused the Israeli military of killing the driver of a vehicle delivering relief aid to Gaza during the Israeli campaign against Hamas, all the broadcast and news networks reported the accusation on January 8, 2009, noting the U.N.'s resulting cessation of relief aid deliveries. But, after the Israeli military conducted an investigation and charged that Hamas was responsible for the killing, very few of the shows that reported the initial charges by the U.N. updated viewers on this important development. An examination of the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS – including American Morning and The Situation Room on CNN; as well as Fox and Friends, the Fox Report, and Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC; and PBS's NewsHour – between January 8 and January 12, 2009, found that all these shows – with the exception of ABC’s Good Morning America – reported on the truck driver’s death at least once, with nearly all shows also directly relaying the U.N.’s charge of Israeli military culpability.
But only CNN's The Situation Room, on the January 9 show, took the time to briefly inform viewers that the Israeli military had denied responsibility for the incident as correspondent Nic Robertson related: "[The U.N.] said that two of their workers were killed by Israeli tank and machine gun fire. Israeli Defense Forces say they have investigated it. Now, they say it wasn't them, which implies that it must have been Hamas."
For CBS News viewers following the first week of the Israeli military’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which news shows began reporting the morning of Saturday, December 27, 2008, one could easily have gotten the impression that Israel was starving the people of Gaza by barring food entry as part of its blockade, as the network’s newscasts – The Early Show and the CBS Evening News – not only ignored news of aid shipments being allowed to cross Israel’s border into the Gaza Strip – which did receive a little attention from evening and morning newscasts on the other broadcast and news networks – but CBS also ran reports about the Israeli military blocking food and other aid into the territory. On the December 29 Evening News, correspondent Sheila MacVicar claimed: "But the violence was not one-sided. Israel carried out targeted killings, and more importantly, for the people of Gaza, imposed and tightened an economic blockade that cut off supplies of food, medicine and even electricity." During the second week of the war, on the January 7 The Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth even gave the impression that aid had not been allowed into Gaza in weeks as he reported on the humanitarian ceasefire: "Trucks full of food, water, medical supplies and fuel started moving after waiting for weeks on Israel's side of the Gaza border."
On the December 30, 2008, The Early Show, anchor Jeff Glor reported on former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s presence on a ship attempting to violate the Israeli blockade by delivering supplies to Gaza as the ship was "rammed" by the Israeli military. Glor notably misidentified McKinney as if she were a current member of Congress – which could make her appear to have more credibility – and did not inform viewers of Israel’s account of the incident or of McKinney’s controversial history, which includes links to anti-Semitic figures. Glor: "A relief ship carrying a Georgia Congressman, Cynthia McKinney, clashed with the Israeli navy this morning. The aid boat carrying activists and medical supplies destined for Gaza was reportedly rammed by an Israeli gunship. There were no casualties."
On the same day’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, anchor Jim Angle reported on the boat collision during the show’s regular "Political Grapevine" segment, and passed on the Israeli response: "But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman says the naval vessel made physical contact only after the supply ship failed to respond to repeated radio transmissions."
With the demise of the Editor and Publisher this week, many media commentators are nostalgic for the hard-nosed trade journalism the newspaper industry publication often engaged in. E&P's strength was always in its core mission of reporting news industry trends. In its latter years, like a number of other outlets, it began to stray off-course into garden-variety, hypocritical leftist media criticism.
Greg Mitchell, E&P's editor since 2002, consistently called for newspapers to print more opinion in their coverage of major world events. Most notably during the Israel-Hamas conflict early this year, Mitchell lamented that media outlets were not taking sides.
"[A]fter more than eight days of Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket launching in Gaza, The New York Times had produced exactly one editorial, not a single commentary by any of its columnists, and two op-eds," he complained at the Huffington Post.
Uniquely among Wednesday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson informed viewers that the Israeli navy earlier in the day intercepted a record quantity of weapons supplied by Iran and destined for Hezbollah, in violation of a United Nations resolution forbidding the arming of the Lebanon-based terrorist group. Host Gibson set up the report: "Israeli navy commandos today seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus. Israel's defense ministry says it was loaded with tons of weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. It is the largest cache of weapons ever interdicted by the Israelis, who say the arms came from one source: Iran."
Correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood opened his report by relaying that the quantity of weapons seized was enough to "keep the Islamic radicals of Hezbollah fighting for a month." And as he concluded the report, he also gave credibility to the conservative view that Iran should not be trusted in negotiations over its nuclear program: "Today's interception won't substantially reduce Hezbollah's military power, but it strengthens Israel's warning to those trying to negotiate with Iran – including the U.S. – it can't be trusted."
After President George W. Bush employed the words, "You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists," addressing a joint session of Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – as the President prepared for the impending war in Afghanistan – liberals eventually treated those words with consternation as if the blunt declaration reflected poorly on America. But pro-democracy activists in Iran seem to like a similar message, as a group of protesters in Iran called on President Barack Obama to support their cause, chanting, "Obama, Obama, either you’re with them or you’re with us!"
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News correspondent Ali Arouzi – stationed in Tehran – showed a clip of anti-government demonstrators chanting their message to President Obama, as he translated their words into English. During a report that focused mainly on the government-orchestrated anti-America protest organized to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Arouzi also passed on the activities of anti-government activists: "On a day when anti-American sentiment runs high, the opposition was looking for support from President Obama, chanting, "Obama, Obama, either you're with them or you’re with us."
After months of investigation, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released a report addressing accusations from some humanitarian groups that its use of white phosphorus (WP) munitions in the Gaza War was a violation of international law, as the report distinguishes between the use of WP as a weapon and the more common non-weapon purposes such as providing smoke screens to conceal troop movements. The pro-Israel group CAMERA recently quoted from the report in the article, "Did Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus Constitute a War Crime?" by Steven Stotsky, on its Web site. The report not only argued that the military's decision to explode the munition in the air was safer for civilians than it would have been to explode it on the ground, but it also suggested that the use of WP to facilitate troops movements also meant civilian casualties were lower than they otherwise would have been by making attacks on Hamas more accurate.
Last January, evening newscasts and some morning newscasts on the broadcast networks and on CNN and FNC reported on accusations from humanitarian groups – with varying degrees of accuracy – with CBS even referring to WP as a "banned weapon," and a "horrific new weapon, " and contending that the IDF may have committed "war crimes." At one point, CNN similarly incorrectly identified WP as a "banned substance." ABC showed a clip of a wounded Palestinian boy charging that Israelis have "no mercy" even for children. (MSNBC does not have a morning or evening newscast equivalent to NBC’s Today show or the NBC Nightly News, so MSNBC coverage was not examined.) But, according to a Nexis search, none of these news programs showed any interest in updating viewers once the Israeli military had made public its say on the matter.
As previously documented by NewsBusters, the January 22 CBS Evening News ran a report (video here), introduced by anchor Katie Couric, which left the impression that the Israeli military had used a "banned weapon," without informing viewers that there are non-weapon uses for WP, and passed on accusations of "war crimes." Couric: "Hamas just ended a bloody war with Israel in Gaza, and tonight there is growing evidence the Israelis may have used a banned weapon. Some even accuse them of war crimes."
On the January 25 World News Sunday on ABC, as he introduced a report by correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood, anchor Dan Harris played up complaints against "both sides" in the war, and even suggested that the Israeli side may have been worse in its conduct of the war as he highlighted that there was "especially tough criticism" leveled at Israel. Harris: "Both sides are being dogged now by complaints that they violated the rules of war. Israel has come under especially tough criticism for its use of a chemical agent."
The Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy and Tom Sullivan examined the politics behind the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, and while looking back at past winners, the two equally blamed the 1994 Prize winners- Yithak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat- for the ultimate failure of their peace efforts: “All three men could be said to have blood on their hands from that conflict.”
Murphy and Sullivan began by acknowledging how “the surprise decision to award President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had much of the world scratching its head on Friday, even among the president’s most ardent fans.” After expounding on the President’s “loft promises...to diplomacy... and that a less belligerent America is in the offing,” the two reporters continued that “the peace prize has often been awarded more in hope than hindsight — and with an eye to nudging world events.”
CNN’s Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer endorsed Thomas Friedman’s “scary and sobering column” in the New York Times on Wednesday’s Situation Room, where the liberal writer compared the current American political climate to that of Israel in 1995 prior to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. After Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right,” Blitzer labeled the column “powerful.”
The CNN commentator began his 5 pm Eastern “Cafferty File” segment with his “scary and sobering” label of the New York Times column. After summarizing it and reading a quote where Friedman warned that “something very dangerous is happening” in the American political dialogue, Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right. You don’t have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi, or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed. Tom Friedman says even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama, you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics.”
In a somewhat schizophrenic report on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed President Obama is: "still the darling of the international community. Warmly welcomed by a world that grew weary of President Bush’s brash go-it-alone style." But also admitted: "But with scant progress on a long his of issues, the question now is what does he have to show for it?"
Anchor Katie Couric opened the segment by asking Reid: "Can the President be anything other than the center of attention? Can he do more with that?" Reid replied: "He sure would like to be, Katie. You know, at every international summit he has attended he has been the most popular person in the room. But now many people are asking what good is popularity if it doesn’t lead to concrete results?" After denouncing President Bush’s "brash style," Reid praised Obama for his "sharp departure" which " has recommitted the United States to working with the U.N. and engaging the world."