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At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Peter Jennings’

Former Colleague Drops Bomb On ‘Palestine Pete’ Jennings

Wednesday, June 4th, 2003
Cybercast News Service (CNSNews.com) reported this week that Peter Jennings actively shaped news coverage in the 1980′s so that a communist dictatorship could be portrayed
in a more flattering light.

“Having kept quiet for 14 years, a former ABC News correspondent has gone public for the first time with allegations that network anchorman Peter Jennings manipulated news scripts during the 1980′s in order to praise the Marxist-backed Sandinista government in Nicaragua,” began the bombshell story by CNSNews.com’s Marc Morano.

The former correspondent, Peter Collins, is a veteran journalist who over the course of three decades toiled for the BBC, CBS News, Voice of America and CNN, in addition to ABC News.

Collins told Morano that Jennings “took a piece that I had written about the 10th anniversary of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua [in 1989] and first asked his producer to correct it for me and then he himself called me up in Managua and essentially dictated to me what I should say.”

According to Collins, “Basically what Mr. Jennings wanted was for me to make a favorable pronouncement about the 10 years of the Sandinista revolution and he called me up, massaged my script in a way that I no longer recognized it.”

Asked by Morano why Jennings was so interested in portraying the Sandinistas in a positive light, Collins responded: “Because I presume that Peter Jennings felt that the Sandinista regime, which was a communist regime – no questions about it – were mere benign agra-rian reformers…[Jennings] was a believer, was and is.”

Collins said that he and Jennings clashed often during his tenure at ABC News. At one point in the mid-1980′s, Jennings, shortly after having signed a new multi-year contract, warned Collins that changes would be made in the newsroom. Within a couple of months, ABC News executive producer Bill Lord was replaced by Paul Friedman, who had worked with Jennings when the latter was ABC’s London correspondent.

“Bill Lord had supported me in my coverage of Central America, against the wishes of Peter Jennings,” Collins told Morano. “[Jennings] was unhappy with my coverage because I tried to tell both sides of the story.”

Collins, wrote Morano, “believes CNN’s recent admission [that the network censored itself in reporting on the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq] and his own experiences in Central America are merely “scratching at the surface” of what Collins regards
as a longstanding failure of the media to report accurately about despotic governments, particularly left-of-center authoritarian regimes.

” “We can go as far back as Walter Duranty in (1930′s) Moscow for The New York Times, Herbert Matthews in (1950′s) Cuba for The New York Times - [how] those two writers tilted their coverage in ways when compared with the historical record was outrageous,” Collins said.”

Jennings and ABC News have declined to comment on Collins’s charges, but the story certainly rings true to those of us who watch Jennings with a critical eye. One can only imagine the extent to which Jennings “massages up the script” of his newscast’s Middle East coverage, given his pronounced pro-Palestinian proclivities.

The Monitor has often cited the invaluable work of the Media Research Center (MRC) in tracking, recording and documenting liberal bias in the media. MRC has put together a damning dossier on Peter Jennings featuring example after example of his tireless efforts
to put an anti-U.S., anti-Israel spin on the news.

Readers are urged to visit the MRC website (www.mrc.org) and scroll down the left side of the screento the “Studies in Bias” section. Click on “Profiles in Bias,” scroll down a drop and click “Palestine Pete: Jennings and the Palestinians.” There you’ll find a comprehensive record of Jennings’s coverage of the war in Iraq. For his shameful record on Israel, go to the bottom of the “Palestine Pete” page and click the “MRC Spotlight Archives.”

Many of you will no doubt download much of what you find for future reference. While you’re at it, drop the people at MRC a thank-you note for a job well done.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Random Thoughts

Wednesday, October 16th, 2002

A few items of interest as the Monitor catches up after a break from the regular routine:

Reporting on the defeat of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in an Aug. 20 Democratic primary, the Prince of Palestine, aka Peter Jennings, once again exhibited his bias and unreliability on all matters pertaining to Israel.

In a brief statement on the Aug. 21 edition of ABC’s World News Tonight, Jennings referred to McKinney simply as “a vocal critic of President Bush’s Middle East policy.” McKinney, he added, “was beaten by another Democrat who got large donations from out-of-state supporters of Israel.”

That was it. Not a word about the fact that much, if not most, of McKinney’s campaign money came from out-of-state Muslims and Muslim organizations, some of whom either support or fund Islamic terrorism or have connections to those who do. (One of those McKinney supporters was reported by the Washington Post to have declared, “Let us damn America, let us damn Israel. Let us damn their allies until death.”)

Nor did Jennings bother to explain that this (in his words) “vocal critic of President Bush’s Middle East policy” had strongly suggested that Bush knew in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks and didn’t act because somehow they were good for American oil interests.

Equally as biased and unreliable as Jennings is The New York Times, which on Aug. 8 ran the following propaganda disguised as “news” in a dispatch from reporters Evelyn Nieves and Elisabeth Bumiller:

“The vice president’s speech, billed as a talk on the economy and national security, sounded at times like an address a chief executive might give to shareholders….He credited the administration’s tax cuts with helping the country to ‘climb out of the recession and to weather the terrible financial effects of Sept.11,’ although the recession has not abated and the stock market today continued its decline [italics added].”

The inevitable correction was published one week later, on Aug. 15: “An article on Aug. 8 about speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney defending the administration’s stewardship of the economy referred incorrectly to the 2001 recession and to the direction of the stock market on Aug. 7. Economists agree that the recession has ended, not continued. The Dow Jones industrial average rose the day of the speeches, by 182 points; it did not decline.”

The Times could save all of us a lot of grief if it would just change its pompous and inaccurate slogan from “All the News That’s Fit to Print” to “All the News We Fit to Print.”

Must reading in this week’s New Yorker for those of you still enamored of Bill Clinton. (The Monitor receives two or three e-mails a week, and at least one letter a month scrawled in pastel-colored chalk sent from a certain post office box in Miami Beach, from readers who still pine for the days when Monica’s boyfriend was doing the country proud in the Oval Office.)

In the kind of lengthy, in-depth piece that was once the magazine’s specialty, writer Lawrence Wright delved into the roots and growth of al Qaeda, and in the process shredded whatever might have remained of Clinton’s reputation as the nation’s commander in chief.

As the always provocative Andrew Sullivan notes in the “Daily Dish” section on AndrewSullivan.com, “What Wright shows is that Clinton’s passivity and inconsistency in the face of Islamist terrorism undoubtedly made matters far worse than they otherwise would have been. By engaging in piecemeal, ineffective and disastrous retreat and half-hearted swipes, Clinton not only failed to stop al Qaeda, he gave it new strength and vigor.”

Wright, Sullivan points out, is hardly an anti-Clinton conservative, and The New Yorker has never been mistaken for a conservative magazine. Which, of course, makes the indictment all the more damning.

“No,” writes Sullivan, concluding his review of Wright’s article, “Clinton is not responsible for al Qaeda, just as Chamberlain wasn’t responsible for Hitler. But Clinton is absolutely responsible for the consequences of his inaction and his appeasement. And it’s vital, if we are to prevent a repeat of the fecklessness of the 1990′s, that we remember this lesson and take it to heart.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

More Truth Twisting From The New York Times

Wednesday, June 5th, 2002

Once again the Monitor is forced to change course and shelve some already delayed comments on media coverage of Israel’s recent anti-terror military operation. We’ll get back to Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel next week, but right now there can be no topic for discussion other than The New York Times and the travesty it has become.

Travesty? Think that’s too strong a word? Then consider this devastating appraisal of the one-time paper of record by the distinguished author (and long-ago Times film critic) Renata Adler:

“For years readers have looked in the Times for what was once its unsurpassed strength:the uninflected coverage of the news. You can look and look, now, and you will not find it there. Some politically correct series and group therapy reflections on race relations perhaps….But no-thing a reader can trust anymore….Certainly no reliable, uninflected coverage of anything, least of all the news.

“The enterprise, whatever else it is, has almost ceased altogether to be a newspaper. It is still a habit. People glance at it and, on Sundays, complain about its weight. For news they must look elsewhere.”

“Has almost ceased altogether to be a newspaper.” The Monitor couldn’t have said it better. In what can only be described as a deliberate poke in the eye of the Jewish community, the Times on Monday ran an Associated Press photo on the upper half of its front page that was at once terribly misleading and frightfully telling – misleading in terms of the dishonest message the picture conveyed; telling because of all the photos that Times editors could have selected, this was the one they chose to go with.

The subject of the photo, at least according to the caption, was the previous day’s Salute to Israel parade in Manhattan. The picture itself, though, told quite a different story, since it was shot from behind the back of a pro-Palestinian demonstrator who was holding up a sign which demanded an end to Israeli “occupation.”

The photo, reproduced below, accomplishes a number of things – all of which, far from coincidentally, happen to fit the Times’s agenda perfectly.

First, notice how, because of the photographer’s vantage point, a couple of pro-Palestinian protesters become the focus of the picture, taking up the entire foreground and well more than half the entire photo. (And why is the pro-tester’s sign facing the camera rather than the marchers? Could it be the photographer requested that she reposition it for his picture?)

In other words, the impression one gets when scanning the page is that a tremendous anti-Israel rally must have taken place.(Of course, the reality was something else entirely: Hundreds of thousands of pro-Israel marchers and spectators in contrast to a tiny crowd – a couple hundred at most – of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.)

And what of the parade itself, which, at least according to the photo’s caption, was the event we were supposed to be looking at? “As an afterthought,” reader Saul Grossman put it in an e-mail to the Monitor, “the camera shows, in the background, ho hum, what else, the marchers in the parade holding Israeli and American flags.”

The coverage inside the paper was also skewed in typical Times fashion, with at least as much space devoted to the protesters as to the parade. Accompanying the text were two photos – the smaller one portraying a lone pro-Israel marcher flanked by some American and Israeli flags, the other, larger, picture showing several angry pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Just one more example of the world according to The New York Times.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Jennings Again

Wednesday, January 9th, 2002

If you thought the Monitor was finished with ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings last week, you don’t know the Monitor or Peter Jennings. Throughout his career, starting with his years as a Beirut-based correspondent in the late 1960′s and early 70′s, Jennings has evinced a sharp pro-Palestinian bias – one that goes well beyond the ritualistic bromides mouthed by garden variety journalists who strive with all their might to attain the proper level of political correctness.

Most of those would-be Murrows are merely going through the motions. Jennings means it.

It was during his time in the Middle East that Jennings marinated himself in Arab society and culture. “He had great contacts in the Arab world,” ex-ABC News president Elmer Lower once marveled. One of Jennings’s paramours in those days – he still speaks of her with great fondness - was the shrill Palestinian mouthpiece Hanan Ashrawi. (Don’t ask; she must have aged badly.)

After his first marriage broke up, Jennings married Anouchka Malouf, a Lebanese photographer with a Syrian mother and an Egyptian father. Through Anouchka, wrote Robert and Gerald Jay Goldberg in their 1990 book Anchors, “Jennings was immersed in the local [Beirut] community in a much deeper way than most journalists.”

A couple of decades – and wives – later, Jennings is widely viewed as the American network news figure most biased against Israel. And, as the following excerpts from a recent Media Research Center report make clear, he’s not about to let up:

Hamas is a “terrorist” group to everyone but Peter Jennings. In reporting on President Bush’s decision Tuesday to freeze the assets of a Texas group, charging that it funnels money to Hamas, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC directly or indirectly described Hamas as a terrorist operation. But not ABC’s Peter Jennings.

Jennings announced on the December 4 World News Tonight: “Today the Bush administration froze the financial assets and closed the offices of a major Muslim charity. The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation is accused of financing the militant Islamic group Hamas which claimed responsibility for last week’s suicide attacks against Israelis. Federal agents raided several Holy Land offices around the country today.”

On the CBS Evening News Dan Rather at least added the word “murder” before “suicide attacks” as he cast doubt upon the Texas group’s legitimacy as a “charity.” From Kabul Rather intoned: “The group Hamas has claimed responsibility for the latest murder/suicide attack inside Israel and today President Bush cracked down on a U.S., quote, ‘charity’ that has helped finance Hamas.”

For the second straight night following the terrorist attacks which killed 26 Israelis, Jennings portrayed Israel as the violent aggressor. On Monday night he wanted to know if the Bush administration wished to “restrain the Israelis?”

On Tuesday evening Jennings saw “an explosion of violence in the Middle East” with “Palestinians dead and wounded after Israeli attacks.” He soon suggested Israel is a repeat offender as he lamented how “Israelis have been on the attack again.”

Jennings started the newscast: “Good evening everyone. We’re going to begin in the Middle East tonight where the U.S. has so much at stake. The Israelis have been on the attack again against the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The Israelis say they’re trying to force Mr. Arafat to stop Palestinian terrorists who are killing Israelis. The Palestinians say they’re making it impossible for him to do anything while his government is being attacked.”

Contrast the Jennings theme of Israel as the assailant with how Dan Rather approached the subject on the CBS Evening News. His tease at the top of the show: “Israel’s latest answer to a wave of Palestinian terror attacks: Air strikes hit just yards from Yasir Arafat’s office.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Enemies List 2001 (Part II)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2001
Last week’s listing of Israel’s worst media enemies, as determined by readers of the Monitor, generated the kind of pro-and-con response such lists usually do. This week we’re featuring some of the nominations that failed to garner enough mentions to make the list, but which are interesting (and in most cases valid) in their own right.R. Feinstein of Brooklyn nominates, along with several names that appeared on last week’s championship-tier list, the longtime leftist pro-Palestinian columnist Alexander Cockburn; the David Susskind wannabe Charlie Rose (“when he interviews Edward Said or Hosni Mubarak he’s deferential…when he interviews Israelis he’s contentious”); and Prof. Noam Chomsky, who, though not a journalist, is something of a media creation – and one who certainly belongs on any list of anti-Israel personalities.

J.P. Badarau of Fair Lawn, N.J., condemns Time magazine “for general biased reporting” and the (Hackensack) Record for its running theme of “poor Palestinians and bad Israelis.”

Sylvia Black’s e-mailed list of villains includes Don Hewitt (“as the creator and driving force of ’60 Minutes,’ he’s ultimately responsible for that program’s thirty-plus years of Israel-bashing”); and syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (“who writes of Arabs as though they were dashing figures on horseback while reserving an icy tone for anything Israeli”).

ABC News anchor Peter Jennings may have topped last week’s list, but several readers also nominated NBC’s Tom Brokaw and CBS’s Dan Rather. Frankly, the Monitor doesn’t see it. Other than a documentary he narrated many years ago that some viewers perceived as anti-Israel, nothing in Brokaw’s record suggests an anti-Israel bias, and Rather (with whom the Monitor has problems on other issues) actually comes across as sympathetic to Israel.

A few readers found fault with the columnist Richard Cohen, but here again the Monitor has to come to the defense of someone generally not worth defending. Certainly Cohen is terribly wishy-washy when it comes to Israel, but to classify him as anti-Israel – or worse, to contemplate putting him on a list with the likes of Deborah Sontag, Peter Jennings and Taki – is a stretch well beyond the Monitor’s usual dexterity.Reader Joel Arlen of Manhattan wonders whether Israeli journalists were fair game for the Enemies List. Great question, since some of the most outrageously anti-Israel reporting and commentary emanates from Israeli media outlets, most notably Ha’aretz (a newspaper one could easily mistake for Egyptian or Palestinian if one were to read its articles sans bylines).

Only a few readers took note of the British press, which, if anything, is considerably more hostile to Israel than what we have on this side of the Atlantic. Dr. L.B. Sokolic, a reader who describes himself as “an American long resident in London,” writes that “virtually every journalist operating in the UK is anti-Israel, if not worse.”

Dr. Sokolic, who informs us that in the 1980′s he “monitor[ed] the press for the Board of Deputies, and the situation is by far worse now than at that time,” says that “it is easier to say who is not anti – mainly the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday and Daily Mail.”

“Virtually everyone connected with BBC TV news is anti,” he writes, “with John Simpson (who also writes for the Sunday Telegraph) the worst.” Among newspapers, “the Guardian has always been anti-Israel. According toHugo Young, who writes for it and sits on its board, they used to take a vote as to how anti-Israel to be.”

Dr. Sokolic notes that the Guardian has a history of employing journalists steeped in anti-Israel bias, including the notoriously vicious David Hirst, whose book “The Gun and the Olive Branch” is a classic piece of distorted history. He describes the Guardian’s current Israel correspondent, Suzanne Goldberg, as “bad but mostly stupid.”

As for the Mideast writers on The Independent, Phil Reeves and Robert Fisk, they “should be on anyone’s list of enemies,” says Dr. Sokolic, who notes that one of the original moneymen behind the paper was the ardently Zionist Lord Sieff, of Marks and Spencer fame.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-4/2001/07/11/

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