CBS Finds ‘Even [Israel’s] Friends Question’ Blockade of Gaza, Ignores Regular Aid Shipments Through Israel
While the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC have all failed to remind viewers that Israel allows regular aid shipments into Gaza over land from its side of the border, on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Richard Roth highlighted complaints about the effect of the blockade on Gaza residents, used a soundbite of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to argue that "even [Israel’s] friends question the effect," and even noted that Egypt was opening its border with Gaza for humanitarian aid – all while still not informing viewers that the Israelis regularly screen aid shipments and allow them into Gaza.
RICHARD ROTH: The U.N. says 70 percent of its million and a half people live on less than a dollar a day. Smuggling through tunnels to Egypt provides much of what Gazans need but at prices not many can afford. Israel says the aim of the blockade is to control terrorism, but even its friends question the effect.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable.
ROTH: Wary of sharing blame, Egypt's now opened its own border with Gaza – for humanitarian reasons, said Cairo – but probably not for long.
On the same day’s The Early Show, CBS anchor Betty Nguyen also noted Egypt’s actions: "This morning, Egypt has temporarily opened its border with Gaza to let in aid shipments after Israel's raid that killed nine people on a humanitarian flotilla."
Similarly, during the war in Gaza from late December 2008 to January 2009, CBS was the network most likely to air complaints about the blockade’s effect on the people of Gaza, and the least likely to report that humanitarian aid was being transported into the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Dana Lewis filed a report in which he noted some of those on board the Gaza-bound ships that were boarded by Israel were from a Yemeni group that has "murky links to al-Qaeda," and others from an extreme group in Turkey believed by Israelis to have terrorist links: "But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations." The report also recounted that anti-Semitic attacks were chanted by those who attacked Israeli commandos: "In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, ‘Death to Jews.’"
On the same day’s Fox and Friends, FNC’s Peter Johnson, Jr., recounted that the Israelis allow much humanitarian aid into Gaza on a regular basis, and that they had also offered to screen and deliver aid from the flotilla of ships before the confrontation: "We know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that's sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that's being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, ‘Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel, we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza.’ If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"
The broadcast networks ABC and NBC have only given brief attention to the flotilla’s links to terrorist groups, while CBS has ignored such connections.
Helen Thomas was her typical, Israel-hating self Tuesday when during the White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a "deliberate massacre, an international crime."
When she got her chance to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question at the proceeding, Thomas was relentless in her accusations.
"If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," she said.
"What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit):
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, during the show’s regular "Fox All Stars" segment, columnist and FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer argued that the group of ships that were raided by Israeli troops were intentionally trying to provoke an incident and weaken Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as he related that Israel not only already allows plenty of aid shipments into Gaza, but had even offered to deliver the aid on the ships so long as the military was allowed to screen the contents to make sure no weapons were being smuggled.
After complaining about the word "humanitarian" being applied to the ships, Krauthammer argued that there is no "humanitarian crisis" that was being addressed by the flotilla: "There's no one starving in Gaza. The Gazans have been supplied with food and social services, education, by the U.N., by UNRWA, for 60 years, in part with American tax money. Second, when there are humanitarian needs, the Israelis allow every day food and medicine overland into Gaza. The reason that it did not want to allow this flotilla is because, as the spokesman for the flotilla said herself, this was not about humanitarian relief, it was about breaking the blockade." He went on to recount that the blockade exists to prevent weapon shipments to the terrorist group Hamas which controls the government in Gaza.
Weekly Standard editor and FNC contributor Bill Kristol argued that the Israelis would have been willing to deliver legitimate aid from the ships: "As Charles said, they can get humanitarian aid into Gaza. If they want more humanitarian aid to Gaza, airlift in five million tons of nice goods, and the Israelis will just take a look and make sure they're not arms and let them go through the checkpoint. This checkpoint is open. Stuff goes through every day."
CRITICAL UPDATES at end of article.
It's now all over the headlines: "Israeli Soldiers Kill at Least 10 Protesters on Boat Carrying Supplies to Gaza."
But with all stories, there are indeed two sides.
As international outrage mounts, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancels Tuesday's scheduled meeting with President Obama, it is crucial that news outlets here offer an accurate, fair and balanced assessment of exactly what transpired in the Mediterranean Sea early Monday morning.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly held a discussion with FNC Strategic Analyst and retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters about the New York Times leaking information on U.S. military activity, as Peters charged that the Times was endangering covert agents: "They tipped our secret operations, our black operations approach to the Iranians, to the Syrians, to the terrorists. It made it much harder and much more dangerous for our agents, for our special operators to collect intelligence, to take direct action, to protect our country, to advance our interests." He and O’Reilly soon added:
RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL RALPH PETERS: And it's also hurt us with countries that are pseudo-friends, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because, and Yemen, because it's said that we're going to run operations against them.
BILL O'REILLY: Yeah, they don't want their people to know they're cooperating with the United States in any kind of a mission or operation, Yemen in particular.
The FNC analyst also recounted some of the Times’s past transgressions against American national security:
"Death to Facebook!" shouted protesters in Karachi, demonstrating against a group called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," designed to further the cause of "free expression." The movement was a backlash against recent threats of violence against, among others, the creators of the popular animated show South Park, which showed Mohammed in a bear mascot suit.
The "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page has been taken down -- though Facebook categorically denies any attempt at censorship or involvement in its removal -- and Facebook has been "indefinitely" blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. All in all, it's been a rough couple days for the social network.
The AP writer's article, titled "Times Square bombing suspect's life had unraveled," first detailed the suspect's past "enviable life:" how he had become a U.S. citizen, his wealthy Pakistani family, his MBA, his "well-educated wife and two kids" and the house he owned "in a middle-class Connecticut suburb." Christoffersen then continued with the recent difficulties he faced : "In the past couple of years, though, his life seemed to unravel: He left a job at a global marketing firm he'd held for three years, lost his home to foreclosure and moved into an apartment in an impoverished neighborhood in Bridgeport. And last weekend, authorities say, he drove an SUV loaded with explosives into Times Square intent on blowing it up."
On Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, substitute anchor Juan Williams devoted a segment to the recent inclusion of Iran on the United Nations Commission on the Status for Women, despite the draconian treatment of women by government authorities in the nation. The FNC host was reminded of Libya's leadership of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2003. Williams:
Another outrage courtesy of our friends at the U.N. Iran has just been selected to sit on the United Nations commission on human, on women's rights. Iran, which requires that women who don't dress modestly enough get stoned or lashed. Iran, which threatens to arrest women with suntans. I guess we shouldn't be shocked. In 2003, Libya was selected to head up the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Williams brought aboard author Brigitte Gabriel for further discussion of the issue. Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Friday, April 30, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
"On '24,' torture saves lives," the New York Times's Brian Stelter writes, disapprovingly. James Poniewozik, writing on a Time Magazine blog, attributes the show's supposed approval of harsh interrogations to the "conservative politics of co-creator Joel Surnow."
Any American who has serious doubts that our military and intelligence officials would allow interrogators to, say, directly threaten the lives of a terrorist's family (let alone inflict tremendous physical pain) to elicit information has a better grasp of interrogation techniques -- and the integrity of our men and women in uniform -- than most of the liberal media.
"Let's just get it out of the way right off that bat that Al Qaeda madmen don't actually want to blast through bridges, skyscrapers, and subways in righteous protest of the First Amendment," an exasperated Katie Paul began her March 23 tirade about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"It's mind-boggling that politicians still consider this nonsense an effective enough talking point as to employ it in their keynote speeches to national audiences--until, that is, you realize they usually only bring it up when they're after something else," the Newsweek reporter added in her The Gaggle blog post, going on to argue Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was just red meat tossed out to a pro-Israel audience to bolster his closed-door meeting with President Obama over the Middle East peace process.
To be fair, it is true that politicians can and do simplify complex matters into sound bites that don't do justice to the issues at hand, but in this case, Paul is far too dismissive of the argument that al Qaeda's real complaint is not just with particular foreign policies of the United States and/or Israel but with the whole Western concept of secular, pluralistic liberal democracy.
Indeed, Paul doesn't have to take any politician's word for it, she need only look at al Qaeda's own pronouncements. From a February 4, 2005 Congressional Research Service document entitlted "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology" (emphases mine):
I wrote too soon apparently.
Hours after I noted how Joe Klein suggested that Americans who support Israel might be unpatriotic for disagreeing with the Obama administration, the Time writer made his claim more explicitly in a Swampland blog post entitled "Israel First?" (emphasis mine):
The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has done a very unwise thing: It has issued a statement criticizing the Obama Administration, rather than Israel, for its reaction to the Netanyahu government's recent announcement of more illegal settlement blocks in East Jerusalem--an announcement that was made during Vice President Joe Biden's visit last week, an act of extreme rudeness on top of its unquestioned illegality.
This is quite remarkable. I may be wrong--and commenters are welcome to correct me--but I can't remember another ethnic or religious lobbying group publicly siding with a foreign country against the President of the United States...especially when the country in question is engaging in behavior that the international community believes is illegal.
Time's Klein Blasts Israel for Perceived Snub, Hints U.S. Supporters of Israel Might be Unpatriotic Americans
Last week the Obama administration worked itself up into high dudgeon over a decision by the Israeli government to green light a housing project in an east Jerusalem neighberhood. While its true the decision came down at an indelicate time -- right in the middle of Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- the actual substance of the decision was perfectly legal and in contravention of no prior agreement with the United States related to the peace process.
Last night on the magazine's Swampland blog, Klein counseled the Obama administration that an apology issued by Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding the timing of the decision was "unacceptable."
Klein -- who last March insisted that President Obama should take to the bully pulpit to lecture Israel on its 'moral standing' -- concluded his post by subtly questioning the patriotism of American members of the pro-Israel group AIPAC:
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The National Security Council, Keller recalled, "thought it had been a clean snatch and they were afraid once the word got out, other Taliban officials would go deeper underground or take measures to cover their tracks. So they asked us to hold off for a while."
The Slate national security columnist, who is also a former correspondent for the Boston Globe, appeared as a guest during the last ten minutes of Sanchez’s program, just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Kaplan, the CNN anchor set up the discussion by referencing the political debate over the granting of Miranda rights to attempted airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his Christmastime arrest. Sanchez first asked the Slate writer, “Who’s doing the politicizing here?”
Helen Thomas Asks Why U.S. Fighting ‘So-Called Terrorism,’ Hints Moral Equivalence w/ U.S. Airstrikes
On Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly used the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment to highlight comments made by Hearst columnist Helen Thomas in which she questioned whether terrorists really should be called "terrorists," and seemed to express a view of moral equivalence between the United States and the terrorists with which America is at war.
When asked in an interview with Mediaite what her point was in repeatedly asking Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan at a January 7 press conference why al-Qaeda terrorists are trying to kill Americans, as if to suggest that such behavior was provoked by wrongdoing by the U.S., Thomas responded:
I was trying to find out why, why, what’s, look, we’ve been in this war, eight, nine years, against this so-called terrorism. And I do say "so-called" because in the newspapers, if you read, you read about the militants, you don’t read about us bombing everybody, and never really explaining why, and going into three, four different countries, Middle East, Africa, and so forth. Who are we? And why are we doing this?
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, the FNC host had previously highlighted Thomas’s bizarre exchange with Brennan from January 7:
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
Host Larry King first turned to the leftist talk show host during a panel discussion which began 12 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour: “Stephanie, the President said the buck stops with him. Was that a good move today?” Miller immediately made her full Bush Derangement Syndrome apparent in her response:
MILLER: Well, it’s certainly a different move than we ever heard in the Bush administration. I never heard anybody taking responsibility for 9/11, for Katrina. I thought he stepped to the plate. And I couldn’t disagree with Paul Bremer [who appeared in the previous segment] more, Larry. I think he [Obama] is prosecuting the exact same way President Bush prosecuted the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, as a criminal. You don’t want to make them holy warriors. You want to prosecute them as what they are and that’s criminals, and that’s what Clinton did when he put the previous- you know, Cole bombers in jail, instead of letting them get away, like Osama bin Laden.
Chris Cuomo says there's no proof Mutallab will talk less as a lawyered-up criminal defendant than as an enemy combatant. Suggestions to the contrary are just politics. George Stephanopolous manifests the same problem his old boss did: he doesn't know what the meaning of "is," is. Steph claims Mutallab "is" singing. But reports are that the would-be mass-murderer was singing—but isn't any more.
It was all part of Good Morning America's defense today of Pres. Obama's decision to give the NWA 253 bomber the full ACLU treatment, rather than dealing with him as the enemy combatant he is.
Fortunately, Rudy Giuliani was there to set things straight . . .
On the December 30, 2008, The Early Show, anchor Jeff Glor reported on former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s presence on a ship attempting to violate the Israeli blockade by delivering supplies to Gaza as the ship was "rammed" by the Israeli military. Glor notably misidentified McKinney as if she were a current member of Congress – which could make her appear to have more credibility – and did not inform viewers of Israel’s account of the incident or of McKinney’s controversial history, which includes links to anti-Semitic figures. Glor: "A relief ship carrying a Georgia Congressman, Cynthia McKinney, clashed with the Israeli navy this morning. The aid boat carrying activists and medical supplies destined for Gaza was reportedly rammed by an Israeli gunship. There were no casualties."
On the same day’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, anchor Jim Angle reported on the boat collision during the show’s regular "Political Grapevine" segment, and passed on the Israeli response: "But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman says the naval vessel made physical contact only after the supply ship failed to respond to repeated radio transmissions."
Rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' . . .
Trying to blame someone—anyone—other than his man Barack Obama for the security meltdown surrounding NWA 253, Ed Schultz ran head-first into history without a helmet tonight. Seeking to shift some of the onus onto England for not having alerted us about having denied young Umar entry into its country, Ed entertainingly claimed that the UK has probably been "our best ally since the country started."
Um, Ed: "since the country started"? You mean, like, when we started the country in 1776? When we declared our independence from, and fought a war against, uh, you know? That same "best ally" that—more than a third of a century later—we fought the War of 1812 against, in the course of which its forces occupied Washington, DC and burned down the White House?
Now it's true that for many years we have enjoyed a special relationship with the UK, one personified by the warm and respectful dealings between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. One that was strained, however, when shortly after his inauguration PBO removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the Brits.
Before his run-in with American history, Schultz also played the blame-Bush card.
Quite the culture war on Morning Joe today . . .
The combatants were Pat Buchanan and Spencer Ackerman of the lefty Washington Independent. The topic was the treatment of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Buchanan wanted the budding terrorist classified as an enemy combatant in order to extract the maximum amount of information from him. Ackerman, in ACLU mode, favored having young Umar tried in federal court and given all rights extended to US criminal defendants.
My antennae went up when at the end of their debate, Buchanan saw Ackerman off by wishing him "Merry Christmas." A bit of Googling reveals that Ackerman, who describes himself as a "very short Jew," has recently written of his "deep-seated contempt for white gentile culture."
Pres. Obama should find time in his busy vacation schedule to drop a palm-trees-and-sandy-beaches thank you postcard to NBC. On this morning's Today, successive network staffers defended the administration's [mis]handling of the Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab matter.
First, terrorism expert Roger Cressey [who usually plays it straight], claimed there wasn't enough information to "connect the dots" and move young Umar from the "watch list" to the "no-fly" list. Really? The guy's father, a respected international banker, was so concerned about his son's extremist Islamist views that he took the unusual measure of personally contacting the US embassy with a warning. Dots? How about a huge, flashing, neon exclamation point!?
Next, John Harwood backhands GOP criticism of the Obama admin's national security policy as "partisan."
"My attorneys intend to act immediately against those of you receiving this who have sent and forwarded these emails accusing me of falsifying coverage," Jaco wrote in a memo to a local blogger who circulated the video via email. He also announced his intention to demand that LiveLink and YouTube remove the video from their respective sites.
With the demise of the Editor and Publisher this week, many media commentators are nostalgic for the hard-nosed trade journalism the newspaper industry publication often engaged in. E&P's strength was always in its core mission of reporting news industry trends. In its latter years, like a number of other outlets, it began to stray off-course into garden-variety, hypocritical leftist media criticism.
Greg Mitchell, E&P's editor since 2002, consistently called for newspapers to print more opinion in their coverage of major world events. Most notably during the Israel-Hamas conflict early this year, Mitchell lamented that media outlets were not taking sides.
"[A]fter more than eight days of Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket launching in Gaza, The New York Times had produced exactly one editorial, not a single commentary by any of its columnists, and two op-eds," he complained at the Huffington Post.
"Obama should remember his own battle cry and tell the hawks: 'Yes, we can,' " Thomas wrote today in her syndicated column for Hearst Newspapers. Maybe he should also remember his insistence that Afghanistan "is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity."
And he has remembered those wise words. But his supporters, who flocked to the "good war" cause as way to contrast Democratic national security efforts with the supposedly ill-intentioned Iraq war--and rip on George Bush in the process--have exhausted the political usefulness of Afghanistan, and are now calling for withdrawal.