The New York Times' coverage of the ongoing situation in Israel, which began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, continued this past week to be marked by intense anti-Israel bias in tone and labeling, and overwhelming emotionalism over the deaths of Palestinian civilians in the crossfire (Israeli deaths from terrorism rarely if ever merited such heart-felt treatment). After the tragic deaths of four young Gazan boys on a beach, the Times let its photographer hint at something sinister: "Children, maybe four feet tall, dressed in summer clothes, running from an explosion, don’t fit the description of Hamas fighters, either."
NBC pulled reporter Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza after the journalist witnessed an Israeli air strike that killed four children. Mohyeldin also made some derisive comments about Israel on his Facebook page, writing, "The #US State Department Spokesperson just said that #Hamas is ultimately responsible for #Israel shelling and killing 4 boys who were cousins aged 9-11 because Hamas didn't accept the #ceasefire. Discuss among yourselves."
Before reporting for NBC, Mohyeldin worked for Al Jazeera. On Tuesday, he parroted Hamas's denial that they use human shields, saying, "They definitely reject the labeling of using civilians as human shields....Hamas military wing people that we've been speaking to and others...they will say that this is the nature of the battlefield that they have to fight in."
At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.
Unfortunately, Philip Gordon, National Security Council coordinator for theMiddle East, North Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israelrelinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of "peace" with the Palestinians.
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday followed up a story on four children who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza by marveling, "How long can Israel withstand this kind of international pressure?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While talking to reporter Martin Fletcher, she noted that Hamas had rejected an Israeli cease fire and insisted, the militant group is "getting the emotional and political benefit, if you will, of the horror of the deaths of their population."
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.”
As my colleagues have been documenting throughout the day, both NBC and MSNBC have had their share of biased segments against Israel on their Tuesday programs.
So it was rather refreshing to see Hardball host Chris Matthews defend the United States's staunchest -- and only truly democratic -- Middle Eastern ally in his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for the July 15 program. You can read the transcript below the page break (MP3 audio here, video follows page break; emphasis mine):
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.
For an example of how MSNBC is leaning forward into biased coverage of the latest troubles Israel is having with the terrorist group Hamas, one need look no further than the July 15 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports.
After hearing from NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin about how the Egyptian cease-fire was rejected by Hamas because it “failed to address the comprehensive issues that they (Hamas) were trying to go after,” Mitchell invited the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, to discuss the crisis in Israel and offer “his take” on U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. When Dermer stated that “Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon.” Mitchell retorted that they “say they don’t.” Well, that settles it. Just like that time in 2007 when the Holocaust-denying President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisted there were no gay men in Iran. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
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.
"A Damaging Distance," Ethan Bronner's news analysis for the New York Times Sunday Review, blamed the "growing human distance between Israelis and Palestinians" not on Palestinian terrorist attacks against civilians, but Israel's security measures to stop it.
Bronner's tenure as Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Times was marked by pro-Palestinian bias, including slanted labeling, calling hard-line Israeli supporters "extreme right" without bestowing similar labels on the hard-left of Israel. He also helped spread the truly dehumanizing characterization of Jewish settlers as "rampaging" during protests. He left a consolation card for the Palestinian cause upon his departure in March 2012.
Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12 while hitchhiking home in the West Bank. They were found dead on June 30, murdered by Hamas militants. Palestinians attacked the ambulance carrying their bodies. Later Hamas launched rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, while Israel countered with air strikes on specific terrorist targets.
The paper's coverage of the ongoing situation has been marked by intense anti-Israel bias in tone and labeling, and a false moral equivalence between the behavior of "extremist" Israelis and merely "militant" Palestinian terrorists.
Of the three morning shows on Thursday, only CBS allowed that Israel's targets in the ongoing violence could be called "terrorists." ABC and NBC described "militants " The networks all highlighted the plight of Palestinian civilians hurt or killed by Israel. But their journalists failed to wonder if Hamas was using people as human shields. Instead, Good Morning America's Alex Marquardt highlighted, "So far, around 80 Palestinians killed, the vast majority civilians. This morning, eight members of a single family mistakenly killed." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Translating from a woman whose house was destroyed, Marquardt quoted, "There is no reason to attack my house...There are no militants here." On CBS This Morning, Holly Williams narrated, "The Palestinians have no protection. This home was flattened by an Israeli strike yesterday. A man and two children were rushed to the hospital." But only CBS deviated from referring to Hamas as "militants."
On NPR's Diane Rehm Show on Wednesday, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Yochi Dreazen (now with Foreign Policy magazine) discussed the growing unrest in Israel, and explained that "the level of distrust toward this White House among Gulf State Arabs in particular is staggeringly high....That includes John Kerry personally. And it includes President Obama even more personally. They don't trust him on a personal level."
Dreazen put that on top of accusations from Israel's defense minister that "John Kerry was trying to do this for a Nobel Peace Prize and because he had messianic tendencies."
ABC, NBC and CBS on July 7 offered slanted coverage of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Today co-host Natalie Morales recounted the deaths of seven Hamas members and qualified, "Israel says it carried out air strikes on at least 14 so-called terror sites." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] An NBC graphic underlined the network's skepticism, "Air strikes Carried Out On 14 'Terror' Sites."
However, the Today show at least offered context. Reporter Ayman Mohyeldin explained that the air strikes came in "the aftermath of a week of violent clashes triggered by the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager burned alive in a revenge attack for the killing of three Jewish teens by suspected Palestinian militants." The reporting on ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, Monday, ignored the original murder of the three Israeli youths.
On Monday, June 30, it was revealed that the three Israeli teens, one of whom was a dual Israeli-American citizen, that went missing two weeks were found dead, likely the victims of murder from the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
While all three network evening news shows reported on the deaths of the three teenage boys,NBC Nightly News only provided a news brief and completely ignored that one of the boys, Naftaly Frenkel, was in fact a U.S. citizen. Anchor Brian Williams did find time to highlight how “President Obama was among those who expressed outrage over the killings.” [See video below.]
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.
On Thursday, Kyle Olson of Progressives Today blog spotlighted how CNN political contributor Marc Lamont Hill wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Leila Khaled, an infamous Palestinian terrorist, as he conducted an interview for Huffington Post Live. Hill's shirt includes a quote from Khaled, who hijacked airplanes as a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: "Resistance is not terrorism."
The Huffington Post Live host wore the red short-sleeved shirt as he interviewed author Wendy Williams on May 7, 2014. Olson zeroed in on a controversy from earlier in 2014 involving college students who wore a black version of the same shirt to a conference sponsored by the liberal group J Street:
CBS This Morning reporter Anthony Mason uncritically promoted the band Pink Floyd's campaign to boycott the "racist regime" of Israel and attack the Rolling Stones for performing in Tel Aviv. After a clip of Pink Floyd's song "Another Brick in the Wall," Mason reminded that the group wanted "the Stones to join them in a boycott and build a cultural wall around Israel." The segment featured not a single quote from anyone opposing the boycott or supporting Israel. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, Mason promoted the group's cause and explained that Roger Waters, Pink Floyd's lead singer "is a vocal opponent of what he believes is Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine." Instead of providing any balance, he featured Waters at a United Nations conference denouncing, "We found that the state of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes." In a statement, members of Pink Floyd lectured the Rolling Stones for daring to defy the boycott.
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose provided viewers with a mere 30-second news brief on Secretary of State John Kerry sparking a "storm of criticism" by claiming that Israel would become an "apartheid state" if it did not accept a two-state solution with Palestine: "Secretary of State John Kerry's backtracking after controversial comments about Israel....Kerry released a statement last night saying, quote, 'If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.' Kerry says he's been a staunch supporter of Israel for years.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That quick mention of the controversy was far more than NBC or ABC provided. Both networks have continued to ignore the story that first broke on Sunday.
Demonstrating once again that Israel remains a favorite whipping boy of the liberal media, there was John Heilemann of New York magazine on today's Morning Joe defending John Kerry's grotesque claim that Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state."
According to Heilemann, Kerry's ugly accusation was "not actually an unreasonable statement." To his credit, Joe Scarborough promptly riposted, saying "I couldn't disagree with you more." View the video after the jump.
That was the sound of Candy Crowley about to be vigorously schooled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on CNN's State of the Union. As if he were a teacher attempting to straighten out an errant student with the facts, Netayahu added, " No, Candy. No, no. I'm sorry. I heard that. I hear people write that up, but, in fact, it's the very opposite." Chastened student Crowley finally corrected corrected herself. If only more guests on her show were as strenuous in correcting Crowley. [See video below.]
It appears that Aron Heller at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's press, might have been applying lessons learned from the wire service's U.S. business and economics writers in his coverage of Israel's settlement activity. Heller also seems strangely fond of this mythical thing known as the "international community."
AP business and economics writers like Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber have regaled us with the wonders of the alleged housing recovery during the past two years, but haven't been quite as good at telling us that over 4-1/2 years after the recession officially ended, new home sales and construction activity is still only about 60-65 percent of what is seen as healthy by most economists and analysts. Heller pulled an analogous trick in his report; fortunately Evelyn Gordon at Commentary (HT Powerline) was astute enough to catch his misdirection, one in which President Obama has also engaged.
Imagine, if you will, it's the midterm election year of 2006 and President George W. Bush's secretary of state making careless remarks which seem to lend moral validity to an economic boycott of the United States's staunchest ally in the Middle East. The Washington Post would surely glom onto such an embarrassing gaffe and play it up as much as possible.
Yet when John Kerry made such remarks about the State of Israel, the Post's William Booth spun the gaffe as best he could, seemingly exasperated that Israeli statesmen were even complaining about the remarks. For their part, Booth's bosses dutifully shuffled to story to page A8 of the February 3 edition, rather than give it more prominent coverage (emphasis mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts have yet to report about the bilateral squabble between the Obama administration and Israel over Secretary of State John Kerry's warning on Saturday that the U.S. ally faces "an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up....There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things."
The war of words comes days after actress Scarlett Johansson ended her eight-year affiliation with Oxfam due to their opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Johansson appeared in a Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, a company based in Israel that runs a large facility on the West Bank. On Monday, CNN anchor Michaela Pereira devoted a news brief on New Day to Kerry's remark and the Israeli government's reaction: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes ended the show with a commentary appealing to 16 Senate Democrats who are joining with Republicans to push more sanctions on Iran, as the MSNBC host blamed the pro-Israel group AIPAC for influencing these Democrats, and accused the Senators of being "intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks and pushing us towards another war."
As he listed out a number of public figures who oppose the Obama administration's deal with Iran, Hayes also framed skeptics of the deal as being "apoplectic at the thought of peace."
Billionaires who back conservative Republicans are trashed on NPR when they die as “scathing TV ad” backers. But what about a black radical who wrote a poem blaming 9-11 on Israel and implying America was evil and terrorist? On Thursday night's "All Things Considered," NPR began by calling him “one of America's most important — and controversial — literary figures,” under the headline “Amiri Baraka's Legacy Both Controversial And Achingly Beautiful.”
The man’s invented Muslim name was Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones). He was the poet laureate of New Jersey in 2002, but they abolished that honorary office after his poem. NPR cultural correspondent Neda Ulaby found his most controversial work wasn’t too negative, it was “complicated.”
Talking to NBC's David Gregory for the Meet the Press web-based feature Press Pass on Sunday, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit launched into a rant against the strong bond between conservatives in Israel and the United States: "In recent years, we've seen too much of an alliance between Tea Party Israel and Tea Party America. I want to bring back that alliance between progressive America and progressive Israel." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Shavit's hand-wringing was prompted by Gregory observing: "...my sense of many American Jews is that they are not as firmly rooted – their Jewishness is not as rooted in Israel as it was a generation ago....They feel more disaffected or separate from Israel....the foreign policy and national security concerns of Israel are all-encompassing and are no longer as resonant with younger Jews in America."
On MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes show, host Hayes tagged opponents of President Obama's deal with Iran over its nuclear program as "extreme" and "nefarious' even while acknowledging that the opposition is bipartisan. Hayes began the segment:
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reacted to GOP complaints about President Obama's Iran deal by cracking that Republicans "would have reflexively disapproved" even if Obama made a "deal to promote motherhood, baseball and apple pie."
But later, Milbank still predicted that the Iranian government "probably are not for real," as he recommended making the effort at a six-month deal anyway. Host Al Sharpton surpisingly also seemed to think it more likely than not that Iran would cheat as he asserted that "it's likely they may not live up to it."
After Sharpton introduced the segment complaining about a "deranged" response from conservatives who have attacked the deal, he went to Milbank, who began:
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, as he celebrated the "truly historic" news of President Obama's deal with Iran, Chris Hayes mocked "neocons" for having a "dark day" and played the part of liberal caricature by suggesting that "neocons' nefariously wanted war with Iran for the "muscular assertion of military dominance."
A bit later, as he admitted that even Democrats in Congress are skeptical of the plan, he fretted about the possibility of Congress imposing more sanctions on Iran as he referred to doing so as "bonkers" and "ridiculous."