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Israel Acts – And The Media Howl (Part I)


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Where to begin? The Monitor certainly picked the wrong two weeks to take a long-delayed respite from the rigors of media watching. It’s been an extended and extraordinary period of idiocy and advocacy masquerading as objective reporting, so rather than focus on one or two particularly egregious examples of media bias, the Monitor will hopscotch this week and next over a variety of observations in something close to stream-of-consciousness fashion.CNN anchors Fredricka Whitfield and Carol Lin are either two of the most viscerally anti-Israel media personalities on air today or, more likely, simply two of the dumbest women in an industry filled with excruciatingly dumb women and men (hello, Matt Lauer). Particularly in the early days of the Israeli military operation in the Palestinian areas, when President Bush was regularly denouncing Yasir Arafat and refusing to condemn either the IDF or Ariel Sharon, Whitfield and Lin continually tried to spin the story the Palestinians’ way in their off-the-cuff remarks, their questions to various self-styled “experts,” and their introductions to news stories.

Over at ABC, Peter Jennings was in his glory for the first two weeks of the Israeli incursion, outdoing even himself with his tendentious terminology – as well as with the arched eyebrows and pursed lips he regularly employs when quoting an Israeli official or spokesman. On April 4 Jennings opened his broadcast by declaring that “the Israelis continue their assault against the Palestinians” – not the Palestinian Authority, not Palestinian terrorists, but “the Palestinians.”

On the same night, Jennings showed videotape of a small group of protesters in Israel and supplied the voice-over: “Just to make the point, by the way, there’s no one single opinion on either side. In Tel Aviv today, police fought with demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy. Several hundred Israelis, both Jews and Palestinian Arabs, or Israeli Arabs rather, were protesting U.S. support for Israel’s military campaign…”

It happens that at the very time Jennings was making his “no one single opinion on either side” comment, polls in Israel put support for the incursion at close to 75 percent. And of course Jennings failed to supply a single example of heterodox opinion on the Palestinian side.

Speaking of journalists with a pro-Palestinian agenda, few can top White House correspondent Helen Thomas, a longtime fixture with UPI and currently a paid propagandist for Hearst Newspapers. The indescribably repulsive Thomas engaged in the following exchange with White House press secretary Ari Fleischer:

Thomas: “Ari, does the president think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal occupation and suppression?”

Fleischer: “Helen, the president believes that [the] process has got to focus on peace between Israel and the Palestinians….That remains the president’s vision. And, obviously, events in the Middle East have grown very violent. But that is the vision that the president continues to hold out for.”

Thomas: “But he does think they have a legitimate right to fight for their land?”

Fleischer: “Helen, I do not accept the description of the premise of your question, and the manner that you asked it.”

Thomas (muttering softly): “Occupation, 35 years.”

Finally this week we have the columnist Jimmy Breslin, whose public image for most of his career was that of a grossly overweight blue-collar bar hound blessed with an astonishingly sweet prose style. Well, Breslin may be older, trimmer and not nearly as unkempt, but he remains a slob – a moral slob, as evidenced by his inability to differentiate between terrorists who attack civilians and the soldiers who pursue them and their ringleaders.

Just one example of Breslin’s obtuseness, taken from his April 5 column on the siege of the Church of the Nativity: “The pope of my church should point his finger and tell the world in direct language that Sharon and Arafat should be defied and scorned by all the decent people in the world for their high sin of desecrating the site of the birth of a religion about which they could care less.”

Next Week: The New York Times, Andy Rooney, and assorted other miscreants.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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