The Poynter Institute's Romenesko weblog draws some strange letters, where some feel passionately that dictators like Fidel Castro and terrorist groups like Hezbollah have been maligned by media labeling. Yesterday, Harrison Chastang of the non-commercial San Francisco radio station KPOO-FM complained:
Many news outlets doing stories on Cuban leader Fidel Castro's surgery have lead stories with "Cuban dictator Fidel Castro...." The term dictator is rarely, if ever used to describe the leaders of China, Vietnam or Saudi Arabia, all nations with unelected leaders of governments that match the classic description of the term dictatorship. In regards to Castro, the term dictator is the favorite word President Bush and the Miami exile community uses to describe Castro. Do reporters and editors buy into the mindset of the Bush administration and the exile community in using the term dictator to describe Castro, but not leaders of other Communist or unelected governments.
There’s absolutely no doubting where The New Yorker magazine has come down on the War on Terror – it’s been there from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to insist the anti-terrorist side is full of human rights abusers. Former Time reporter Jon Lee Anderson is the latest New Yorker correspondent on the bandwagon, finding Israel has completely mucked up Lebanon and Hezbollah. PBS gave him a platform on the July 31 edition of "Charlie Rose."
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro transcribed the exchange. Rose asked simply where "we are in this war," and Anderson was quick to whack Israel: "It’s a scene of devastation in a lot of the places and people coming out, old people, you know about Qana yesterday, the dead children. A fundamental error of the type that often happens in these air wars where inevitably, a refuge full of women and children gets killed and sort of wrong-foots the warring party, in this case Israel, with the preponderance of the military might."
Israel Insider says the Qana incident shows all the classic signs of a staged Israeli "massacre." There is even a term for such fiction, "Pallywood," as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard reported today.
In the Qana incident, the media reports that a building collapsed and the Israeli Air Force is to blame for dozens of civilian deaths. Israel Insider, a daily Israeli newsmagazine, says they've seen this all before.
The setting was also perfect: Kana was again being used as a primary site for launching rockets against Israeli cities. The IDF reported that more than 150 rockets had been launched from Qana and its vicinity at Israeli civilians, wreaking destruction in Kiryat Shmona, Maalot, Nahariya and Haifa. It was only a matter of time before the Israeli Air Force would come for a visit, using pinpoint targeting of the sites used to launch rockets, Hezbollah logistical centers and weapon storage facilities.
On the morning of July 30, according to the IDF, the air force came in three waves. In the first, between midnight and one in the morning, there was a strike at or near the building that eventually collapsed.
In 1938, the leaders of Europe got together in Munich to, for all intents and purposes, give Czechoslovakia to Germany in exchange for peace in the region. Given the recent events in the Middle East, it quite appears that Israel – though well-intentioned – has performed the same act of appeasement with its enemies, and sadly with the same results.
Take for example the following revelation from an Associated Press article published on July 23:
Syria said it will press for a cease-fire to end the fighting but only in the framework of a broader Middle East peace initiative that would include the return of the Golan Heights.
Middle East-based reporter Neil MacFarquhar appeared on the Charlie Rose show Monday night and made anti-Bush comments regarding Israel’s war against the terrorist group Hezbollah. (All quotes courtesy of Nexis).
When Rose asks MacFarquhar if the Israel-Hezbollah war had increased hatred of the United States among Arabs, MacFarquhar became disconsolate, regretting the U.S. was expediting its supplying of weaponry to Israel and longing for the innocent milkmen of the Kennedy years:
In light of recent revelations of possible media manipulation in Qana, Lebanon, as reported by NewsBusters Monday, a 2005 video has been circulating throughout the Internet (hat tip to Ms. Underestimated with extraordinary video link to follow). In reality, this is an almost unbelievable look at how film footage from Israel that made national news after the Second Intifada began in September 2000 (including CBS’s “60 Minutes”) appears to have been staged, choreographed, and produced rather than real events that transpired in front of video cameras.
The film's producer, Dr. Richard Landes, teaches history at Boston University, and is the co-founder and Director of the Center for Millennial Studies. He also is the proprietor of The Second Draft, a website “devoted to exploring some of the problems and issues that plague modern journalism”:
Tim Russert used his Today show appearance this morning to paint a bleak tour d'horizon of Bush foreign policy, expressing the fond wish - in guise of a question - that the American people might come to their senses and throw the bums out at the mid-term elections.
Interviewed by co-host Campbell Brown, Russert first asked: "What's the end game? The concern among Republicans I've talked to is how are the American people viewing this? Is this blind allegiance to Israel or is this standing by the only ally we have in the region? They don't know how much longer there will be patience with the American people."
Russert later made the electoral connection, after casting matters in their darkest light. Rather than speaking of nascent democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current opportunity to defang Hezbollah, Russert portrayed things this way:
When the Allies faced fascist foes in WWII, they called for unconditional surrender. Confronted today by the new face of facism, the Boston Globe calls for 'unconditional, immediate cease-fire.'
By its editorial of this morning, the Globe would reward Hezbollah for its barbarous use of human shields. On the one hand, it acknowledges that the terror group 'has placed its rocket-launchers . . . unconscionably close to settled areas.' But since the result are the very civilian casualties that Hezbollah was looking to provoke, the Globe criticizes the Bush administration for its 'failure to restrain Israel.'
You’d hardly know that all of Israel is under siege. The networks would rather you stay tuned to their pictures from Lebanon. According to ABC-TV, CNN and other “Friends of Hezbollah”, never mind who started this, and forget the million and a half Israelis who’ve been made homeless.
As usual, NPR Radio is serving as propaganda minister for terror and, also as usual, Israel is at war with the press.
Or rather, the press is at war with Israel.
Any mention of the 200 bombs falling on Israel from day to night? Hardly. What about the thousands of Israelis wounded in flesh and in spirit – meaning shell-shocked today and perhaps for the rest of their lives? No, there’s no time for this. Forget Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. The pictures from Lebanon are better, much better than pictures from Meron, Israel, where seven-year-old Omer Pesachov was murdered along with his grandmother as the result of Hezbollah missiles.
NBC reporter Richard Engel sure has some severely selective sources. On the one hand, he's overflowing with information reinforcing the image of Hezbollah as a kindly humanitarian organization that was providing "supplies and relief" to the residents of Qana. On the other hand, he has "no evidence" that Hezbollah was using Qana residents as human shields for purposes of launching rockets.
Engel reported live from Tyre in southern Lebanon during this afternoon's 'The Most' on MSNBC, with host Alison Stewart. Speaking of events in Qana, Engel claimed:
"I got no indication [the people of Qana] were being held against their will. Just the opposite, it seemed Hezbollah was helping these people, providing them with food and water. These were some of the [poorest] people in the town, those with money had already left. They were staying in this section of town because there was food and water. Hezbollah were giving them supplies and relief."
On Yesterday's CNN "Late Edition," host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Syrian Cabinet Minister Bouthaina Shaaban. Greg Tinti at Outside the Beltway reports that Wolf allowed Shaaban "to get away with rhetorical murder without ever bothering to challenge her B.S."
After warning Wolf that the world needs to stop Israel now before it takes this conflict beyond the Middle East, Shaaban tells Wolf to "remember" that, "Nazi Germany was claiming that it was fighting terrorism and then the whole world had to stop that. We are fighting something very similar to what happened as a result of the actions of Nazi Germany against civilians."
Notice that there’s absolutely no follow-up from Blitzer. Nothing. He just moves on to the next question as if Shaaban had said that the sky is blue. Unbelievable. When anyone–especially someone of Shaaban’s status–equates the actions of Israel today to those of the Nazi Germany, he should be challenged and made to look like the fool that he is.
When the Washington Post tries to condemn other newspapers as tabloid journalists, there’s always today’s paper for rebuttal. Reporter Anthony Shadid’s front-page story on the deaths of women and children at Qana carried this emotionally manipulative headline, quoting Khalil Burji, a man watching recovery efforts, after the jump on page A8, all across the page:
‘The Child Who Choked to Death, What Was His Sin?’
Normally, people expect that a media outlet with an unadmitted agenda will keep its political views to its news and opinion pages. This usually isn't the case, though, as today's New York Times demonstrates.
Inside the arts section is a 1400-word article about how the cultural scene of Beirut has been damaged by Israel in the course of the war between Lebanon and the Jewish state.
There's no denying that such destruction is unfortunate, but the fact that the Times doesn't even bother to mention similar problems created by the war for Israelis doesn't even rise to the low standard of moral equivalence.
There was a feeling of surreality this morning in watching the segment on Good Morning America. There was Chris Cuomo [son of Dem ex-NYS Gov. Mario, brother of Andrew, current Dem candidate for NYS Attorney General] chatting with former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos.
Was this an ABC 'news' interview between two of its employees - or had I mistakenly tuned to a CSPAN broadcast of a DNC coffee klatsch?
Cuomo had a fine line to walk. With brother Andy running for office in New York, being too critical of Israel could be impolitic. Chris focused on what came naturally: accusing the Bush administration of 'failure.'
Cuomo's opening question for Stephanopoulos: "The Secretary [of State Condi Rice] is in the air and she's heading to the U.N. Was this situation a failure for her and what needs to change when she hits the ground?"
The more I see about the timeline in Qana, the more I doubt the story being told to us by the world's media.
Katherine Shrader and Kathy Gannon of AP make the strike and its effect seem immediate:
A three-story house on the outskirts of Qana was leveled when a missile crashed into it at 1 a.m. Red Cross officials said 56 were killed and police said 34 children and 12 adult women were among the dead. It was worst single strike since Israel's campaign in Lebanon began on July 12 when Hezbollah militants crossed the border into Israel and abducted two soldiers.
But we know that the immediacy of the collapse given in this timeline to be a false construct. Many hours before this AP story was released, the IDF had already reported that the building did not collapse until 8 A.M.
Without a doubt, Americans who have even a rudimentary understanding of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamic terrorism must be amazed by the continued ignorance being exhibited by the mainstream media as hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel exploded in the past three weeks. One of the finest examples of this occurred on “The Chris Matthews Show” Sunday when the host concluded the program by actually blaming this flare up on – drum roll please – George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
If private citizens met a few years ago with the ambassador of a hostile country, then top US officials should do the same in the current sensitive context. That was the liberal logic Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News put on display this morning during 'The Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend. The topic was the conflict in the Middle East. Ratner decreed that the time had come for bringing in the "partners" in the area, and that in addition to Lebanon, "that means Syria." Syria? Partner? What-evuh.
Complained Ellen: "We have not even spoken to the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations" adding - as if this clinched the case - "somebody Jim and I met with!" Concluded Ratner: "The United States has not spoken to him in a year-and-a-half, and he's in Washington!"
Along the way, Cooper states as fact the usual misleading clichés about Bush’s “go-it-alone approach” to diplomacy and war.
“For the past year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has worked assiduously to resurrect the importance of traditional diplomacy and building consensus among world leaders after America’s go-it-alone approach to Iraq.”
For your viewing pleasure, MSNBC decided to add to the Friday Night Fights series with a special Thursday edition. However, as "Hardball's" producers must have believed the challenger in the left corner, host Chris Matthews, was going to be outmatched by the challenger in the right corner, they decided to film the segment with an audience conveniently stocked with Ann Coulter haters. As a result, the fight turned more into a tag-team wrestling match than traditional mono-a-mono boxing.
It was quite evident from the onset that this was going to be a team effort by Matthews and his audience when he began:
Now, I want to know right off the front -- we`re going to use our audience in a very profane way. Who loves Ann Coulter? (APPLAUSE) Who vomits at the mention of her name? (APPLAUSE)
Nice way to introduce your guest, Chris. It seems impossible to imagine you introducing someone like Al Franken in such a fashion. Yet, Matthews wasn’t done. His next uppercut came only seconds later when he asked Coulter, “Do you have a soul?” This was followed a bit later with a right hook when Matthews said Ann was "All brain, no heart."
With that as pretext, this is a melee that must be watched to be fully appreciated. Here is the video. Pay particular attention to the people standing behind Coulter strategically placed to always be shaking their heads in disgust on virtually every one of her words. And, make sure that you have no drinking vessels around when Matthews asks Coulter to elaborate on the position she recently espoused concerning a former president’s sexual preference. (Transcript follows).
Not only is America in a quagmire, but Israel is, too. Via Hot Air, here's the first few grafs of a Salon reprint of a Der Spiegel article headlined "Is Israel Facing a Quagmire?:"
On the map the war looks so straightforward. An Israeli commander has marked Hezbollah strongholds in south Lebanon red for the purposes of our briefing -- lately practically all of the towns north of the Israeli border are colored red. Marked with blue crosses are the strategically important positions, mostly crossroads, now controlled by Israel. "Now we have to just go in and deal with the Hezbollah boys," the commander, who asked not to be identified, said. "There isn't much more to say." [...]
The mission, christened "Just Reward," now appears much more difficult than was first thought -- above all in terms of casualties. Since the small targeted ground operations began Israeli soldiers have been dying on a daily basis in heavy firefights. Wednesday was especially bloody. In an attempt to take the Hezbollah stronghold of Bint Jbail, as many as 14 Israelis lost their lives.
Military analysts and politicians talked confidently at the beginning of the mission of targeted, surgical assaults against Hezbollah and an estimated conflict duration of about a week. Now Israel is increasingly preparing for a long war.
“The United Nations said Wednesday that its top officials in New York and its officers on the ground in Lebanon made numerous calls on Tuesday to the Israeli mission and the Israeli military to protest repeated firing on its outpost in Lebanon where four unarmed observers ended up being killed.
“Jane Holl Lute, the assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council that over the six-hour period in which the United Nations’ warnings were being conveyed to the Israelis, the observation post at Khiam, in southern Lebanon, continued to come under fire.
“The firings persisted even after rescuers reached the hilltop site, she said, and in all it was subjected to 21 strikes, 11 of them aerial bombardments and at least 6 artillery rounds.
“She described the observation post as ‘well known and clearly marked’ and added that no Hezbollah activity was reported in the area.”
Isn't it generally assumed that when two countries are at war, that it is the right and duty of those countries actually in the conflict to decide when that war might be over and how it is prosecuted? Certainly other nations might attempt to diplomatically intervene to help resolve the crisis but, when all is said and done, isn't it still the duty of the warring parties to arrive at their own conclusions?
Not according to The New York Times. The Times has pronounced it the duty of the "World Powers" to end Israel's security measures in Lebanon as if neither Israel nor Lebanon have a thing to say about it.
Naturally, it's all the USA's fault that they couldn't agree on a policy, too.
During the ’90s, many conservatives referred to CNN as the “Clinton News Network.” In an op-ed published Thursday by FrontPage Magazine, radio talk show host Michael Reagan coined a new term for the cable news outlet that might come into vogue: the Terrorist News Network.
At issue for former President Ronald Reagan’s son was a story written by NewsBuster Rich Noyes on July 19, with a follow-up on July 24. Reagan began: “On July 18, CNN correspondent Nick Robertson aired a report from Beirut. Throughout his entire report on ‘Anderson Cooper 360,’ Robertson accepted uncritically the claims of a Hezbollah ‘guide’ about what he was seeing.” After quoting much of Noyes’s initial report, Reagan pointed out:
It is safe to assume that few Americans are going to forget the Muslim outrage a few months ago over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper. Well, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday (hat tip to NRO Media Blog) that a Norwegian newspaper published the cartoon to the right depicting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a crazed Nazi prison camp commandant:
Invoking a scene from the film Schindler's List, one of Norway's largest newspapers recently published a political cartoon comparing Prime Minster Ehud Olmert to the infamous commander of a Nazi death camp who indiscriminately murdered Jews by firing at them at random from his balcony.
The caricature by political cartoonist Finn Graff appeared on July 10 in the Oslo daily Dagbladet.
Think this created riots and death threats in Norway? Hardly:
Raeed Tayeh, who will lead today’s event, is former head of the public relations office of the Muslim American Society, a national civil rights group. He also served as a speechwriter for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia. His articles have appeared in major newspapers and magazines, and he has been a guest speaker on several radio and television programs including, "The O'Reilly Factor." Tayeh is also the author of "A Muslim's Guide to American Politics and Government."
I glad the reporter from the Rocky knew how to type, so she could transcribe this from the press release word for word. Either that, or she can cut-and-paste with great aplomb, with the same great skill I used to bring it to you. Actually being a reporter, and finding out something about her subject seems to be beyond her, at least when she's on deadline.
According to Major General Lewis MacKenzie, Canadian Army, retired, one of the Canadian soldiers killed by Israeli bombs in Lebanon had written emails home complaining that Hizbullah terrorists were using his UN post as a shield, expecting that Israel wouldn't target them if they were close to the UN post.
Canadian killed from UN force complained his position shielding Hizbullah
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 26 July 2006
"...the tragic loss of a soldier yesterday who I happen to know and I think probably is from my Regiment. We've received e-mails from him a few days ago and he described the fact that he was taking within - in one case - three meters of his position "for tactical necessity - not being targeted". Now that's veiled speech in the military and what he was telling us was Hizbullah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it."
Retired Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie interviewed on CBC Toronto radio 26 July 2006 For recording see this REALAUDIO file: http://cbc.ca/metromorning/media/20060726LMCJUL26.ram
I wonder how many UN supporting MSM outlets will pick this report up?
It would be doubtful if many do as the MSM are all agreed upon the cry of how evil the Jeeeews are for bombing a UN outpost. Of course, this shows how useless the UN outposts are in the first place if they just serve as shields for further terrorists strikes against innocent Israeli citizens.
“The consensus here is that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were all taken aback by the ferocity of Israel’s response to the capture of two soldiers; the seizure seemed to fall within the unspoken rules of limited engagements. Similar operations had prompted prisoner exchanges in the past, the current demand by Hezbollah for ending the fighting.”
“Ferocity” is an interesting word to use for Israel's response to what was not only a kidnapping (not “capture”) of two soldiers, but the killing of three other soldiers (previous news accounts said eight soldiers) in that same unlawful incursion into Israel. Israel's response was ferocious only in comparison to giving in to demands by the terrorist group Hezbollah.
On Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN’s Anderson Cooper related his visit to a Hezbollah-controlled section of Beirut where he was supposed to photograph certain damaged buildings, part of the terrorist group’s strategy of generating news stories about Lebanese civilian casualities caused by Israeli bombs.
But instead of merely transmitting Hezbollah’s unverified and unverifiable claims to the outside world, Cooper — to his credit — exposed the efforts by Hezbollah to manipulate CNN and other Western reporters. It’s quite a contrast from the much more accommodating approach taken by his colleague, Nic Robertson, in a report that aired on a variety of CNN programs (including AC360) back on July 18, a report that Robertson himself has now conceded was put together under Hezbollah's control.
Unlike Robertson, Cooper was explicit about how Hezbollah’s operatives had set all of the rules: “Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings,” he explained. He countered Hezbollah claims that Israel targets civilians by pointing out that the group based itself in civilian areas and that Israel's air force drops leaflets warning of attacks.
She describes the divide between the Shiites in the vulnerable South and the more cosmopolitan Lebanese of the North and uses the term "folk hero" in a description of the leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah:
"For the south, which suffered for more than a decade under Israeli occupation, Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is a folk hero who helped drive out the Israelis. But many middle-class Lebanese who have worked for the past decade to generate an economic revival are tired of war and resent Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12."