Are we supposed to believe standards of professional journalism are so different in France that when you hear something clearly newsworthy, you don't say or write about it when the government tells you not to because of "tradition"?
That's what Angela Charlton at the Associated Press, which admits to having had a reporter on hand when French President Nicolas Sarkozy told U.S. President Barack Obama that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is a liar," would have us believe. Though she did note Obama's lack of objection to Sarkozy's assertion, Charlton downplayed Obama's actual and equally broad response -- "You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" -- by holding it until the eighth paragraph of her report and keeping it out of the story's headline. The first six paragraphs of the report (9:45 a.m. version also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), which includes the excuse, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
When microphones were accidentally left on following a G20 meeting, they picked up a private conversation between President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during which Sarkozy muttered he "can't stand" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to which Obama replied, "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!"
Could Obama's disparaging remark hurt U.S. relations with Israel? Read more about their conversation after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Drudge is currently linking to a "trash talk" story at Ynetnews.com about how, with a microphone still on, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is a liar." U.S. President Barack Obama's response, also audible, was: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" That's not necessarily the most disgraceful aspect of the story. What follows after the jump, which explains why the story is just coming out now, is at least as reprehensible:
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
President Obama no longer has an Israel problem, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner reported on Thursday, bolstering Obama’s pro-Israel credentials by assuring Times readers that the president’s recent speech at the United Nations on Israel was pro-Israel. Bronner also broadcasted pro-Obama results from an online poll conducted by the Jerusalem Post – although online polls are an unreliable format the paper rarely consider newsworthy, in “Israelis Happy at Home But Glum About Peace.”
Moreover, the sense over the past two years that President Obama was growing angry with Israel and steering American policy away from its interests subsided last week. The parts of Mr. Obama’s United Nations speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have been written by any official here. It said nothing about Israeli settlements, the 1967 lines, occupation or Palestinian suffering, focusing instead on Israel’s defense needs.
New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner took some friendly fire from the paper’s Public Editor Arthur Brisbane in his Sunday column, “Tangled Relationships in Jerusalem.” Brisbane forwarded complaints from a left-wing anti-Israeli blogger about Bronner's business relationship with a conservative Israeli, Charley Levine. But Bronner's history of slanted reporting, especially his hostile coverage of "angry rampag[ing]" Jewish settlers in the West Bank, proves he can hardly be credibly accused of sympathizing with Israeli conservatives.
Conflict of interest, or the appearance of it, is poisonous in journalism. This is particularly so when it relates to reporting on Israel and the Palestinians, a subject that draws a steady stream of skepticism about New York Times coverage from readers and partisans on all sides.
Friday at the UN (text here), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of engaging in "ethnic cleansing."
Earlier, in a speech to 200 supposed "senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the U.S." (would that include Gaza flotilla organizers and Barack Obama pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn? Just askin'), Abbas declared, as relayed by Ynetnews.com, that "They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state."
Given that there would hardly be a point to covering Abbas's speech if readers knew of the just-cited statements, it's hardly surprising that the press is also in a non-recognition mode:
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday did his darnedest to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say Israel has had no better friend in the White House than President Obama.
As the "Meet the Press" host continued to force the issue, Netanyahu finally said, "David, you're trying to throw me under the bus of American politics. And guess what, I'm not going to be thrown there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting on President Obama speaking at the United Nations for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically declared: "Preparing for today's speech, the President was all smiles for the class photo, but while hoping to run a victory lap as the new Libyan government officially joined the United Nations....Everywhere else, trouble loomed."
Referring to the Palestinian push for statehood recognition from the UN, Mitchell described how Obama was "grappling with the same problem that has trapped American presidents for more than half a century, the Middle East." Later in the report, Mitchell cautioned: "The President could end up paying a heavy political price for supporting Palestinian rights in the past, even as he is losing support around the world for standing by Israel this week at the UN."
The Palestinians see the membership application as a last-ditch attempt to preserve the two-state solution in the face of ever-encroaching Israeli settlements, as well as a desperate move to shake up the negotiations that they feel have achieved little after 20 years of American oversight. The question is whether trying to bring the intractable problem back to its international roots will somehow provide the needed jolt to get negotiations moving again.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer fretted over Rick Perry blasting Obama's foreign policy soon before the President was to deliver his address to the United Nations. CNN analyst David Gergen agreed with him, painting Perry as a grenade-thrower.
In a meeting with New York City Jewish leaders GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry slammed what he termed President Obama's policy of "appeasement" in the Middle East, and labeled it "naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous." Perry made his remarks on the eve of President Obama's address to the UN, in the same city.
Someone at MSNBC should tell Martin Bashir that he might not agree with Pat Buchanan's politics, but he's not one to challenge about a matter of fact.
On the show bearing his name Thursday, Bashir mistakenly tried to refute the conservative's claim that former Mayor Ed Koch accused President Obama of throwing Israel under the bus (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Fareed Zakaria got more than he bargained for in his Sunday interview with guest Donald Rumsfeld.
As he pushed the former Secretary of Defense on America's need to cut military spending, the "GPS" host blushed when Rumsfeld smartly said, "There are people who think we're living in the post-American world, to coin a phrase. There are people who believe that we should step back and lead from behind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The folks involved in the storming of Israel's embassy in Cairo are probably wondering what they have to do to become the press's pet word for rampaging Muslims (the country is 90% Muslim, and it would be a very safe bet that heavily persecuted Coptic Christians aren't involved): "militants."
I guess breaking through the Israeli embassy's security wall, ransacking offices, and dumping documents doesn't get you there, at least not with Aya Batrawy of the Associated Press. The ransacking, as well as the vehicle burning which is also taking place (see this photo), don't even get into AP's headline (bolds are mine):
By all accounts, President Obama has been far more hawkish than anyone anywhere in the world could have possibly imagined.
Despite this, "New Yorker" magazine editor David Remnick told the crew at MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday that the current Administration is responsible for the lack of anti-American displays in Arab Spring uprisings (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tina Brown seems to be very conflicted about her opinion of Dick Cheney.
After telling the "Morning Joe" panel the former Vice President is a "wrecking ball" who "seems to be totally in denial still about Iraq," the Daily Beast-Newsweek editor said moments later, "He's been validated by Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday's Last Word on MSNBC, substitute host Chris Hayes of the left-wing Nation magazine used conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck's rally in Israel as an occasion to blame conservative Israelis like Prime Minister Netanyahu for the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and asserted that it was "dangerous" for such Israelis to ally with America's Christian Zionist movement.
Reporter Ethan Bronner brought a typical liberal issue to the forefront on Friday’s front page: “Protests Force Israel to Confront Wealth Gap.” Tent-city protesters have “shaken” Israel with their call for fairly distributed wealth. Bronner never identified the protesters as left-leaning in any way. They were merely championing a cause with “strong populist resonance.”
These large protests are a story, but no one in this article really questioned the protesters or suggested this was a very political campaign against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Eugene Kandel, Netanyahu’s chief economic adviser, was interviewed, and he stressed agreement with the notion that “large and leveraged business groups can slow growth, cause instability, and hinder competition.”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Alayon recently released a video in which he defends Israel’s presence in the West Bank, and argues not only that Israeli settlements within the territory are legal, but that the West Bank technically should not be labeled as "occupied’, but rather, "disputed," because the West Bank was not recognized previously as being legally part of a sovereign state.
Staff writer Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic (formerly The Atlantic Monthly) was so incensed by the pro-Israel video that he was driven to use profanity on his blog as he mocked the Israeli government as trying to send the message that the world should "f— off." He further charged that the "cheesy and disturbing video" was an attempt by the Israeli government to hold onto the West Bank, even though Ayalon’s video clearly speaks of negotiating the boundaries for a Palestinian state. Goldberg began his blog posting:
The article includes a quote from one member of the group who ridiculously compares herself to a resident of Germany living during the Nazi era, while a second activist invokes legendary civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Bronner is apparently so impressed with the quote about Rosa Parks that he uses larger text to preview the reference for readers near the end of the article.
And, according to the pro-Israel group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America), the article relays the inaccurate claim that Israelis, unlike Palestinians, enjoy the privilege of unrestricted travel at all points between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, when in reality Israelis do face restrictions on travel into the West Bank.
In the Digest section of the Saturday, July 16, Washington Post, in the article, "Israelis and Arabs March in Jerusalem for Palestinian Statehood," writer Joel Greenberg bolstered the pro-Palestinian statehood movement by playing up the presence of both Jews and Arabs in a rally that was held in Jerusalem on the previous day as a "rare Jewish-Arab demonstration in this contested city."
After several examples of portraying the pro-Palestinian demonstration positively, Greenberg ended the article by taking a shot at "nationalist Israelis" who held a rally last month by noting that "anti-Arab chants" were present.
In last Saturday's article, one Palestinian participant was quoted as declaring that "We will live in tranquility and peace," while an Israeli was paraphrased as claiming that "Palestinian statehood would free Israel from the burden of occupation." He was further quoted as asserting that "The struggle for Palestinian independence is also a struggle for freedom for Israelis."
On Friday’s NBC Nightly News, as correspondent Richard Engel informed viewers that many thousands of Egyptians are again protesting against the government in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, he noted that organizers of the original protests fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will have too much influence in the new government, and recounted the Islamist group’s increased power in Egypt since January.
He went on to highlight the "staunchly anti-Israel" views of the Brotherhood and showed a clip of one of the group’s leaders making an anti-Semitic statement accusing Jews of wanting to "live in war," claiming that it is their "history":
CNN foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria – who has recently had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign issues – noted the president's "restraint" in his dealing with the "Arab Spring" and the conflict in Libya Wednesday. Zakaria previously gave a thumbs-up for Obama's Mideast speech in May and later defended the president's plan for removing American troops from Afghanistan.
The point-of-note is that this is the same analyst whom, according to the New York Times, President Obama "sounded out" while shaping his foreign policy. The two simply had "off-the-record" conversations on foreign issues, according to Zakaria, and the CNN host claimed he was not an advisor to the President.
After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:
Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.
A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.
Obama’s pro-Israel critics are talking “pure crap,” said New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on PBS host Charlie Rose's show Tuesday night. Rose was hosting a roundtable of Times columnists. Along with Friedman there was David Brooks, neo-liberal economics columnist David Leonhardt, and Roger Cohen, foreign policy columnist and once a stout defender of the authoritarian regime in Iran.
As the “conservative," Brooks mostly agreed with the three liberals, calling himself “an admirer of Barack Obama” while offering mild criticism of the president’s “passivity.”
Meanwhile, fellow columnist Thomas Friedman got physically agitated during a sarcastic, self-righteous rant on global warming skeptics like Rush Limbaugh. Friedman also confessed to having voted for Obama (a bit of a no-no under Times' guidelines) and later employed a blunt word to describe Obama’s pro-Israel critics. Here’s his impassioned, physical soliloquy on climate change, about eight minutes into the program:
In the June 5 Washington Post article, "Palestinian Protesters Attempt to Cross at Golan Heights, Israeli Troops Open Fire," co-writers Samuel Sockol and Joel Greenberg managed not to fill in viewers on significant background from the Six-Day War from 1967, namely that Egypt, Syria and Jordan provoked an attack from Israel by amassing troops next to the tiny Jewish state along the 1949 armistice lines, as if they were about to strike. Referring to the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, Sockol and Greenberg vaguely noted that Israel "captured those territories" during the 1967 war: "The protest near the Golan Heights and other demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israel captured those territories."
Similar to Greenberg's May 15 piece in which he neglected to inform readers that several Arab countries had driven most Palestinian refugees from Israel by simultaneously attacking the Jewish state in 1948, the June 5 article also avoided such details as it referred to the "establishment of Israel in 1948 and the Palestinians' displacement in the war that followed": "Despite the reported casualty toll, the scope of Sunday’s protests was more modest than the coordinated marches May 15, when thousands of Palestinians converged on Israel’s borders from Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the Palestinians’ displacement in the war that followed."
While Israel’s armed response to the attempted invasion on its border with Syria was at least somewhat justified, Syrian authorities themselves in the last weeks have slaughtered over 1,000 of its rebelling citizens, actual human rights atrocities that have only sporadically made the Times's front page. In this way the Times is playing into the hands of Syria, which is using the all-purpose enemy Israel as a distraction from its own internal oppression.
Bush Derangement Syndrome never really went away. Nowadays it's directed at Sarah Palin instead.
A good example of Palin's uncanny ability to unhinge liberals could be heard on a recent Randi Rhodes' radio show.
Rhodes, who infamously derided Hillary Clinton as a "big f***ing whore" during the 2008 campaign, was angered by Palin wearing a Star of David pendant during a stopover in New York City on her bus tour. (audio clip after page break).
NewsBusters previously reported that CNN's Fareed Zakaria had met with President Obama face-to-face to discuss foreign policy. Obama's other reported "source" of information on foreign policy, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, mocked Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday on CNN, and added that he should have dutifully obeyed the demands Obama outlined in his recent Mideast speech.
According to a May 11 New York Times article, Friedman was one of two foreign policy journalists "sounded out" by President Obama for information on foreign affairs. The other, CNN's Fareed Zakaria, has previously criticized Israel's prime minister for not agreeing to the Israeli-Palestinian borders laid out by Obama in his Mideast speech.