On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS ran to the aid of dissident Catholic sisters in the U.S. and recycled many of its talking points from their sympathetic coverage of the sisters' "Nuns on the Bus" tour in 2012. Bob Simon trumpeted the supposed "rock star" status of the leader of the sisters' coalition and tossed mostly softball questions at her. He also repeatedly used the loaded term "Inquisition" to ballyhoo the apparent "crackdown" against the heterodox nuns.
Simon made his slant toward the dissenters clear when another prominent dissident sister compared the battle between the bishops and her allies to a schoolyard battle of the sexes: "The boys played the girls. And for once, the girls won, and the boys are upset." The journalist replied, "Isn't that what it's all about?"
Each morning, NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on September 27. (Click here for ticket information)
We’ve already published the worst quotes of 1988 and 1989; today, the worst of 1990. Highlights include: Time magazine saluting Mikhail Gorbachev as “the communist Pope and the Soviet Martin Luther;” CBS finding “nostalgia” for the Berlin Wall; and Knight Ridder’s economics reporter giving this slanted take on the 1980s: “Reaganomics delivered a feast to the greedheads and starvation to the poor.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
On Sunday's 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Bob Simon noted the eighth anniversary of the war in Iraq by describing how "questions still remain as to why the United States launched the war in the first place. The Bush administration said it was because of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But there were no such weapons."
In the segment that followed, Simon interviewed Rafid Alwan – also know by his code-name 'Curve Ball' – a former Iraqi chemical engineer who claimed the Hussein regime was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Before the interview Simon implored viewers to "ponder how anyone could ever have believed one word he [Alwan] said." After the interview, Simon concluded that the Bush administration had fallen for "one of the deadliest con jobs in history" by listening to Alwan and going to war in Iraq.
"As President, George W. Bush did something momentous that few of you may know about, something so momentous that it is saving millions of lives and generating goodwill for America around the world."
So astonishingly began a "60 Minutes" segment last Sunday actually praising the former President that likely got worse press than anyone ever to reside in the White House.
"Millions of Africans who`d been dying of AIDS are now living with AIDS, thanks to the Bush program," said CBS's Bob Simon.
"There has never been a rescue mission, a mission of mercy of this magnitude that has produced such magnanimous results," praised an AIDS doctor in Uganda (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Sunday’s ‘60 Minutes’ on CBS, anchor Bob Simon reported on the spread of Jewish settlements and at one point described the situation this way: "Demographers predict that, within ten years, Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Without a separate Palestinian state, the Israelis would have three options...They could try ethnic cleansing...they could give the Palestinians the vote...or they could inflict apartheid -- have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians. But apartheid regimes don't have a very long life."In April 2008, Simon interviewed an Israeli Air Force pilot and remarked: "You don’t look like a killer."
Simon spoke to a Palestinian doctor and former presidential candidate, Mustafa Barghouti, who declared: "Unfortunately, and I have to say to you that apartheid is already in place." Simon asked: "Apartheid is already in place?" Barghouti replied: "Absolutely." Simon then made Barghouti’s argument: "Apartheid? Israel is building what it calls a security wall between the West Bank and Israel. The Palestinians are furious because it appropriates 8% of the West Bank. Not only that, it weaves its way through Palestinian farms, separating farmers from their land. They have to wait at gates for soldiers to let them in. Settlers get a lot more water than Palestinians, which is why settlements are green and Arab areas are not."
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Bob Simon talked to members of the Israeli Air Force and asked one pilot, Captain Omri, about air strikes in the Gaza strip in which civilians occasionally are killed:
It's a classic guerilla war. Fifty dollar rockets made in the back alleys of Gaza against Israel's $50,000 missiles. The Israelis will tell you that kind of expense buys precise weapons which limit collateral damage. But it also gives the air force the capability of assassinating their enemy's leadership. The Israelis call this "targeted killings"; the Palestinians call it murder. Have you hit any targets?
Simon then went on to say to Omri: "But I must tell you, your face, your manners, your demeanor, you don't look like a killer. And yet what you do a lot of the time when you're over Gaza, you're killing." The pilot responded: "I agree. I don't think I'm a killer. When I look at my face in the mirror, I don't see a killer."