President-elect Barack Obama has been curiously silent about the recent flare up in the Gaza Strip. This apparently is causing some anger internationally from folks that bought into his campaign promises of change and hope.
Will Obama-loving media care, or continue to focus on his chiseled pecs?
Such was indirectly asked in a marvelous column published Sunday in Britain's Guardian (emphasis added throughout):
Someone really needs to inform Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel editor Earl Maucker that newspapers nowadays are in the business of delivering information, not just print. We just saw an excellent example of why print needs to be supplemented by video, especially if the latter is necessary to convey the feeling of the event covered. This was illustrated by the incredibly lame coverage the Sun-Sentinel gave to a very intense pro-Hamas demonstration on Tuesday in downtown Fort Lauderdale. As a resident of this area, such demonstrations seem to be rather disconcerting since this seems to be something that usually happens in other parts of the world, not in this normally peaceable burg. Check out this video made by Tom Trento and judge for yourself if this demonstration warranted this rather laid back Sun-Sentinel coverage as written by Scott Wyman:
The Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage (photo is from that coverage) of a local press conference and demonstration relating to the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Israel and Gaza has been atrocious. I suspect that the Enquirer is not unique in its egregious journalistic failures.
The two stories involved, both by Rebecca Goodman, are (original Cincinnati reference HT to Atlas Shrugs):
-- Dec. 31 -- "Area groups call for an end to Gaza conflict" -- Jan. 1 -- "Ecumenical group calls for end to fighting in Gaza Strip"
Any more, you can almost work up a checklist on stories such as these, and expect to be able to check off the majority of, if not all, of the items on the list. The checklist follows the jump:
As pro-Palestinian media members blame Israel for the recent hostilities in that part of the world, there's an incontrovertible truth being shamefully ignored: rocket and mortar attacks coming from Gaza into Israel have dramatically increased since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006.
OK, so Barack Obama isn't really the political Messiah of critics' caricature, despite the fervor of his supplicants. But according to liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz, Obama qualifies for the less lofty but still impressive description of Hub of the World.
Schultz offers an unlikely theory for the renewed fighting in Gaza, one more revealing of the person suggesting it than the subject at hand --
Comedienne Roseanne Barr called Israel a "NAZI state" Tuesday, while declaring "The destruction of the jews [sic] in Israel has been assured with this inhuman attack on civilians in gaza [sic]."
She also liked Hamas to a bunch of street gangs while depicting Israel's military action "equivilent to los angeles [sic] attacking and launching war on the people of watts [sic] to attempt to kill the bloods [sic] the crips [sic]."
Such was actually posted at her blog Roseanne World Tuesday.
The entire disgraceful rant is below the fold for those that can stand it (h/t Mere Rhetoric):
For at least ten seconds there, it appeared Margaret Warner thought PBS stood for the Palestinian Broadcast Service.
On last night's NewsHour Ms. Warner, whilst interviewing Israel's Ambassador to the United States Sallai Meridor, posed one of the dumbest questions in the long, dumb history of broadcast journalism.
So banal was her query that there was for nearly five seconds the most pregnant of pauses, broken finally by Ambassador Meridor's bemused and chagrined response. Which Ms. Warner followed with another question of nearly equal asinine force.
Ms. Warner was fairly addled throughout (transcript below the fold), but nothing else she said rose quite to the heights of foolishness as did this. We have edited in after the exchange an earlier statement from Ambassador Meridor that we think pretty much sums it all up.
Listening to Rachel Maddow's criticism of Israel for the conflict in Gaza, I was reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago when World War II was still vividly within memory for many Americans.
The cartoon showed a German having built what he expected to be a toy, with the empty box and its assembled contents beside him and a friend standing nearby. The man turned to his friend in exasperation and said -- No matter what they send out, it always ends up a machine gun.
Maddow is like the postwar German industry of the cartoonist's premise -- not much versatility in the product line. Regardless of circumstances leading to renewed conflict in the Middle East, her deconstruction of reality places only Israel on the trigger end of a smoking gun, and guilty for whatever actions led to its use.
Here's what Maddow imparted to her Air America Radio listeners on Monday --
CNN, as is their typical style, has ignored facts and reality when reporting an incident involving an encounter with a Gaza relief boat, and an Israeli patrol boat.
Karl Penhaul, a CNN correspondent aboard the pleasure yacht known as Dignity, and frequently on the wrong side of an issue, was pretty much allowed carte blanche in recalling the incident -- an incident which was as much publicity stunt for the so-called Free Gaza Group and former Congressnut Cynthia McKinney, as it was peacekeeping mission -- while the report simultaneously shrugged off the Israeli point of view.
The presentation clearly wants you to believe that the Israeli boat was hostile and went well out of their way to attack the ‘peaceful' minded vessel. In reality though, it was nothing more than a typical group of protestors who use the word ‘peaceful' as a security blanket in their malicious efforts to defy authority, whether it be the authority of the United States government, or in this case, the Israeli navy.
A report via the Atlanta Journal Constitution (H/T Michelle Malkin) indicates the pre-determined goal of the mission (emphasis mine throughout):
Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is a high-profile member of a boatload of activists that set sail Monday from Cyprus to deliver medicine to war-torn Gaza...
In an obvious attempt to counter the typically anti-Israeli sentiment prevalent throughout the international media whenever Israel defends itself, the Israel Defense Forces launched its own YouTube channel Monday.
As most impartial Americans are aware, old and new media were used against Israel in 2006 to foment international criticism of its attacks on Lebanon not the least of which was a Reuters photographer caught doctoring pictures.
With this in mind, as reported by the Jerusalem Post Tuesday, the IDF plans on being much more proactive this time in making the international community completely aware of what's really going on with Israel's recent military response in the Gaza Strip (video example embedded right):
Could this be the most unvarnished insult to someone's intelligence in the recent annals of major network television? Here was Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking to Joe Scarborough on today's "Morning Joe." [H/t reader Melody.]
You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.
It was Scarborough's exposition of the widely accepted view—shared by Bill Clinton himself—that Yasser Arafat was to blame for the failure of the 2000 Camp David summit, that prompted Brzezinski's remarkable display of disdain.
Failing to Grace the WaPo Front PageThe Washington Post has certainly taken a timeworn media tack in it's coverage of the latest instance of Israel stubbornly insisting on continuing to exist. That being: keep nearly all mentions of the prolonged and incessant attacks of Israel by the Palestinians off the front page and to an absolute minimum, then deliver maximum coverage of the Israelis' response.
A response that Israel on Christmas Day openly announced was to come were the rocket bombardments from the Gaza Strip not halted. This called shot gave the Post two (additional) days to provide a description of the nearly daily asaults Israel has faced from Gaza since they ceded the territory to the Palestinians in September 2005 (and that have been stepped up even further in the last month plus). To provide some sort of context for why the Israelis were planning what they have now begun.
But rarely if ever does the Post find these Palestinian attacks worthy of any coverage at all, let alone the stuff of front page placement. It didn't this time either. No mention -- of Israel's warning or why they had issued it -- made the Post's front page at all on either day.
But the story in question focuses on a few thousands protesting in a handful of countries with no consideration of who is behind organizing the protests and what their political agenda exactly is.
Consider, for example, that International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) promises to remain a major organizer of pro-Hamas demonstrations, in the United States. ANSWER was formed just three days after the September 11 attacks to rally opposition to a retributive war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Here's ANSWER's call for a "National Day of Action" to "Stop the Massacre of Palestinians." Take note of the listing of ally organizations for the protest (emphases mine):
The Palestinians raise their kids to hate Jews. The Israelis have endured decades of acts of terror against their own children and have generally acted with forbearance in reply. The UN has been vehemently and irrationally anti-Israeli since day one. The questions of "right of return" and the "two state solution" have dogged international politics for a long time. And what is the Timesonline worried about? Are they worried about the safety of Jewish children. Are they concerned of the improvement in quality of life for Palestinian children? No, none of that. The Times is worried that all this will hurt poor Barack Obama and his wonderful plans for a foreign policy that will at last bring us peace in our times.
I'm not kidding. In all this mess, the Times is most concerned that Obama's foreign policy promises will be harmed because of what Hamas has forced upon itself. While Obama skips church and runs off to the gym on a daily basis, the Times is all concerned for Barack's foreign policy.
ALL TERRITORY PRE 1967 AND JERUSALEM TOO, TO A THREE WAY SPLIT UNDER INTERNATIONAL AND VATICAN CONTROL IN ORDER TO AVOID WW3!!!
But wait a minute. The Vatican is administered by the Roman Catholic Church, of which Barr is decidedly not a fan. Indeed, she considers the Roman church, along with black voters and Mormons to be an enemy of the Constitution and every gay and lesbian person in California:
News services in Israel are on fire with talk that Barack Obama has just sent a supporter of the terror group Hamas as his envoy to Syria and Egypt to relay news of his policies to come. Last September Israel's suspicions were heated up about "former" Obama advisor Robert Malley being sent to Syria with a George Soros funded group. It was then claimed by Egyptian sources that Malley was still working as an advance man for Obama which angered Israelis because six months earlier Malley announced that he had held "regular meetings" with Hamas. At that time, Malley's comment caused the Obama camp to hurriedly distance the candidate from any connection with Malley. But, with the election over, it seems that Obama's claims that Malley didn't really work for him are not quite true. It also seems that we already have the very first example of Obama sticking his finger in the eye of our allies in Israel. Naturally, the U.S. press is not reporting this news.
In September of this year, Robert Malley caused consternation among people that stand against the terror group Hamas when he went to Syria to work for a group called the International Crisis Group -- a George Soros funded NGO also chaired by other doyens the far left. Some thought that he was secretly there as an Obama advance man, but there is no real proof that he was there in that capacity at that time so the story died down.
Who would you think is more concerned with the best interest of the United States? Americans? Or those in other countries?
If you chose the latter, then you are likely a liberal. You are also, apparently, like many other countries in the world. Countries that will go from respecting the authority of this nation, to snickering behind our backs at the possibility of electing a President who thinks the world is his constituency, and not his native country.
The media is unconsciously making this obvious, by revealing what may be a major reason we should be concerned about the possibility of the phrase ‘President Barack Obama.’
The world is salivating at the prospect of appeasement, and that will be Obama’s number one foreign policy platform.
"Fox & Friends" on Friday replayed the videotape of Griff Jenkins chasing down Rashid Khalidi, which was originally aired on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes." Unsurprisingly, Khalidi was not willing to talk with the Fox News reporter.
Before showing the video, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson explained that Fox News had previously called Khalidi but had been hung up on, which is why Jenkins was deployed to ambush the Columbia professor.
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
During a phone interview with FNC anchor Megyn Kelly, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who already voiced disapproval of Barack Obama's attempt to suggest that Kissinger would agree with his intention to meet personally with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, on Saturday elaborated on his disagreement with Obama, and clarified his views on how America should negotiate with Iran. The segment began with a soundbite of Obama from the debate trying to lecture McCain about Kissinger’s views. Obama: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisors, who, along with five recent Secretaries of State, just said that we should meet with Iran, guess what, ‘without precondition.’ This is one of your own advisors."
Asked by Kelly if he supported having a President "meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions," Kissinger responded: "No, I don’t. I have argued that, at some point, negotiations with Iran are important. But it is my view that they should be on the working level, and that the President should not be involved until we know that we are close to an agreement, or that we know what the nature of the agreement is." Kelly soon sought clarification: "So, in other words, you favor negotiations at the lower level, perhaps all the way up to the Secretary of State, but you do not believe an American President should sit down without preconditions, as Barack Obama says he would like to do." Kissinger: "That is correct."
During a special edition of MSNBC’s Countdown show after Friday’s presidential debate, Keith Olbermann seemed to insert a joke about the weight of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into a conversation about the performance of John McCain and Barack Obama. As previously documented by the MRC’s Matthew Balan, the Countdown host brought up McCain’s difficulty in pronouncing the name of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and liberal Air America and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow contended that Obama’s most memorable line was when he accused McCain of being "wrong" about Iraq. Referring to Obama’s line in which the Illinois Democrat incorrectly suggested that Kissinger agreed with him about meeting with dictators like Ahmadinejad, Olbermann, who has a history of making fat jokes about conservatives on his Countdown show, made a quip at Kissinger’s expense in which the MSNBC host seemed to pick on his weight: "Or, perhaps, throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain’s face, which is physically a tough act to do certainly."
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
On the September 12 edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews so twisted what Governor Sarah Palin said in reply to Charlie Gibson's question about Israel's defense decisions that her reply is hardly recognizable in Matthews' hands. By slyly adding his own additions to Gibson's question and Palin's reply, Matthews attempted to make Palin look naive on the foreign policy question. In essence, Matthews lied about what Palin said.
Matthews made a knot out of Palin's words, like taking a straw and tying it in a knot. It's still a straw, but it is no longer useful for what it was intended. With his underhanded additions to Palin's answer, Matthews made her words no longer fit the situation.
Charles Gibson's interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the first since her selection, not surprisingly focused mostly on pressing her to prove she's qualified for the job and quizzing her about foreign policy issues. While Gibson certainly treated her with more respect than would have many other national media figures, he did suggest her willingness to unhesitatingly accept John McCain's offer demonstrated “hubris” and he delved into what he described as her “provocative comments” on the Iraq war being part of “God's plan.” When he seemingly caught her unaware of the definition of the “Bush Doctrine,” he outlined its tenets without embarrassing her, yet he also veered close to condescension in asking if she had “ever travel[ed] outside the country” and: “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”
Gibson began the World News excerpt, of the session recorded in Fairbanks, with what he termed “the central question,” namely: “Can you look the country in the eye and say 'I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just Vice President, but perhaps President of the United States of America?'” When she denied any hesitation about her abilities, Gibson asserted: “Doesn't that take some hubris?”After she cited her energy expertise, he countered: “National security is a whole lot more than energy.” He moved on to quizzing her about how, if the U.S. followed her advice to admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, “wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?”, whether she'd let Israel attack Iran and if she would approve of cross-border raids into Pakistan.
That segment consumed the first ten minutes or so of World News which ended with another interview excerpt in which Gibson paraphrased her as saying in June that “our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” After supporting You Tube video of Palin, Gibson demanded: “Are we fighting a holy war?” Unconvinced by her answer about how she only meant, as Lincoln urged, “let us pray that we are on God's side,” Gibson pounced: “But you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan.'” He soon followed up again: “Are you sending your son on a task that is from God?”
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales heaped loads of praise on Helen Thomas even as he lamented that documentarian Rory Kennedy will present HBO viewers tonight with"A Story With a Few Holes." Shales found it disappointing that Thomas's affinity for Israel's enemies was left untouched in Kennedy's "Thank You, Mr. President."
Shales started by insisting that "[o]ne can't help wondering if the film was shortened in the final edit to obscure a blemish or two on Thomas's celebrated career-- the documentary equivalent of cosmetic surgery." [Keep it civil, comments thread!]
Even so, Shales himself gussied up "Hell No" Helen in his review, insisting she's a reporter who "can't be accused of party partisanship" and who was "brave enough to chastise fellow journalists -- for supporting the Iraq war in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and abetting what she considers the right-wing persecution of Bill Clinton." Nah, the Hearst columnist sure doesn't sound like a left-wing partisan hack to me.
On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the show's "From the Political Grapevine" segment, FNC host Hume gave viewers another glimpse at the admiration offered terrorists in the Middle East as he reported that the Al-Jazeera network threw a birthday party for Samir Kuntar, a notorious terrorist recently released by Israel, who had previously been greeted by thousands of adoring fans when he returned to Beirut. Hume: "The Arab news network Al-Jazeera celebrated the birthday of released Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar with a cake and fireworks. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Kuntar, who shot an Israeli child's father in front of her, and then beat her to death with his rifle back in 1979, was given a hero's welcome on the network. One interviewer said, quote, 'You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners, if they can see this program now, are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday.'" (Transcript follows)
When the Israeli government and the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out a prisoner release agreement in which Israel released five Lebanese prisoners while Hezbollah released the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who had been killed, there was a substantial contrast in the way the broadcast network evening newscasts reported the story. While ABC’s Charles Gibson and Simon McGregor-Wood reported on World News that one of the prisoners, Samir Kuntar, had been convicted of the "vicious murder" of an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter, and that upon release he was "greeted in Beirut as a returning hero," NBC and CBS both skipped over any details of Kuntar’s crime, and CBS’s Katie Couric even listed the prisoner exchange as one of several "glimmers of hope" in the conflict between Israelis and Arabs. Couric: "For the first time in years, there are some glimmers of hope in the Arab-Israeli stalemate -- a virtual cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, and the beginning of low-level talks between Israel and Syria."
CNN and FNC further detailed the brutality of Kuntar’s crime, and FNC noted his popularity among many in Lebanon. FNC’s Morton Kondracke: "What’s most disgusting is that the Lebanese performance, tens of thousands of people turning out to welcome home a terrorist who had killed a policeman, a civilian, and then bashed in the head of the civilian's four-year-old daughter. And he's being welcomed home as though he’s a national hero, with the president there, the prime minister there, the speaker of the parliament. This is supposed to be an ally of the United States, Lebanon. What it indicates is that Lebanon, that Lebanese politics is now owned by Hezbollah ... they have veto power over whatever the Lebanese government does, you know. Lebanon is close to being lost." (Transcripts follow)
It seems Barack Obama had a "senior moment" on Wednesday during his trip to Israel regarding which Senate committees he is a member of. On the same day's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Fox All Stars" segment, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes called out Obama for his claim, which the Illinois Senator made while trying to impress Israeli reporters, that he is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, as he took credit for the passage of legislation regarding Iran. Barnes: "[Obama] was trying to brag about how tough he was on the Iranians, and he said his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, had passed a resolution ... that would have caused American firms to divest of Iranian interests. And the trouble is, he's not on that committee. ... And he didn't vote for it. That would be a senior moment if McCain did it."
Indeed, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs membership roster does not list Obama's name. But during a news conference, which aired live Wednesday morning during CNN Newsroom, Obama seemed to embellish his resume: "Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." (Transcripts follow)
The Wednesday CBS Evening News story on Barack Obama's day in Israel presumed Jewish concerns about his commitment to Israel are unreasonable as reporter Sheila MacVicar empathized with Obama's plight while she fretted about how an Israeli newspaper columnist “referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.” After noting that Obama “did spend an hour with the Palestinian President, something John McCain did not do on his trip here,” MacVicar stressed the “the focus of the day was to try to reassure Jewish voters who are suspicious of him.” From Jerusalem, she then held up a copy of the newspaper as she rued:
It's an uphill battle. An example? A commentator writing in this morning's Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama, talked about his Muslim stepfather, his childhood in Indonesia, his openness to dialogue with Iran as real sources of anxiety for both the Israeli establishment and American Jewish voters.
MacVicar concluded by bemoaning: “However unfair it may be, it will take more than this trip to alter the very deeply held perception of some that on Israel the Senator is not to be trusted.”