CAMERA Media Analysis..
22 October '15..
Television news has undergone dramatic changes since the days when the three major American networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, dominated the airwaves. As the recent coverage of the Palestinian knifing attacks makes evident, change has not been good for NBC and its more overtly political stepsister, MSNBC.
In recent weeks, viewers have been treated to erroneous reporting, program hosts using visual props to promote historical revisionism and an article published on the NBC web site that is sheer propaganda.
Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes
Palestinian journalist, Ayman Mohyeldin, in a live report on October 15, repeatedly casts doubt about an Israeli account that a terrorist was shot as he threatened them with a knife. Mohyeldin reports,
They didn't find any explosive devices on him. I was trying to keep an eye to see if they were taking anything off of his body, perhaps if they took a gun, if there was a gun that was visible. There was no gun that was visible. And at one point, we could clearly see from where we were lying, from where we were standing where his body was lying, both of his hands were open and both of his hands did not have a knife.
Mohyeldin suggests that all that happened was a Palestinian man failed to heed warnings to
Even as he spoke, a split screen showed still film frames of the knife-wielding terrorist. The MSNBC anchor, Jose Diaz-Balart, at loss as to how to finesse this obvious misreporting, interrupts Mohyeldin, injecting
But in the video that we have, that you have, that is, as you say -- I don't think anybody else has this video -- we can clearly see the man in camouflage T-shirt and pants with what appears to be, at least in his right hand, a knife. And take a look at this video right here…like at least a five-inch or longer black blade.
Mohyeldin has tried to explain his erroneous reporting. His explanation is not very convincing.
Let's Show Some Phony Maps
Two veteran NBC correspondents, Martin Fletcher and Kate Snow, appearing on MSNBC on Monday, October 19, discussed a series of maps depicting Jewish usurpation of the pre-existing state of Palestine. The two presented the maps as a revelation, exposing the truth about what underlies the current explosion of Palestinian violence and perpetuating the popular historical construct that the Palestinians are the indigenous people and the Israelis are European-style foreign colonizers.
The left-most map shows the land almost entirely colored green and labeled as “Palestine” as it supposedly existed in 1946. Moving from the left to the right, the maps depict the shrinking land allegedly belonging to Palestine, along with the creeping expansion of the orange/yellow areas under Jewish control.
Responding to Snow's cue Fletcher stated,
Well absolutely, of course, this is what it's all about [the current violence]. It's all about the land and what this map shows you. I must say it's pretty shocking when you present it in this way. What it clearly show is that if there's no peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, more of the Green areas, more of that Palestinian land will be eaten up by Jewish settlements. Although right now there is a freeze on settlements by Israel because there's so much international pressure, the Palestinians say if we don't have peace soon we won't have a Palestine left.
The problem with these maps and with Fletcher's explanation is that no state of “Palestine” existed in 1946 - or ever. The green area is simply a rendering of the territory not possessed by Jews in 1946 or by Israel in the later maps. It does NOT demarcate land possessed by Arabs or by the mythical state of Palestine. In fact, the vast majority of the land (over 90 percent) had no legally recognized owner after the dissolution of the Ottoman empire in the wake of World War I. The disposition of the green areas remains to this day undetermined because the Arabs rejected the United Nations partition resolution in 1947 and because the Palestinians continue to reject any final agreement with Israel.
Fletcher, for years NBC's Middle East correspondent, boasts of having covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 40 years. He wrote a book on Israel. Yet, somehow he did not instantly recognize the flawed maps.
This particular hoax is widespread. Harvard University's Center for Middle East Studies utilized and widely disseminated these maps in seminars it ran for secondary school teachers.
After the falsity of the maps was exposed, the network was forced to publicly admit the error. Fletcher backpedaled furiously. Co-host Snow also did her best to cover for the glaring error. In a follow up discussion with Fletcher, she intoned,
And it points to a larger issue of how complex it is. You were saying to me off camera it's very complex to accurately cover the Middle East.
Yeah. The passions are so high. It's such a tiny area. You know, you've got this one tiny piece of land which is basically the Jews and the Palestinians – the Jews and the Muslims both believe that God gave them the land.
Propaganda Without Pretense
Not to be outdone by on-air programming, the NBC web site published a piece of unabashed Palestinian propaganda on October 12. Laura Dean, senior correspondent for the Global Post, managed to depict the Palestinian violence in such a distorted manner that the Israelis come off as the guilty party needlessly killing poor innocent Palestinian children, while leaving the Palestinian parents - not the Israeli parents - anxiety-ridden. Dean laments the deaths of several Palestinian youths at the hands of Israeli police, neglecting to inform readers that these youths were killed as they assaulted Israelis with knives or hurled boulders.
She joins in the officially sanctioned propaganda campaign that came undone when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas falsely accused Israel of murdering an innocent thirteen year old Palestinian child. As CAMERA already has extensively documented, MSNBC echoed Abbas's false story, while maligning Israeli police accounts that have since been validated. It turned out that this alleged innocent child had just stabbed a thirteen year old Israeli boy critically injuring him as he rode by on a bike (the incident was caught on video). Subsequently, the Palestinian child was hit by a car and treated at an Israeli hospital, where he is doing fine, better than the Israeli child he tried to murder.
Ripping a page right out of the Palestinian incitement playbook, Dean explained that the Palestinians were stirred to violence over fears that Israel was changing the status of access to the Al Aqsa Mosque, which she described as the “third holiest site” in Islam that is “also revered by Jews.” In fact, the site is the holiest in Judaism.
Dean concealed from her readers that fulminating rhetoric from Palestinian officials incited Palestinian youths to set out on their murderous spree. Just days before the violence exploded, the Palestinian president gave a televised speech invoking Allah as blessing those who “spill blood for Jerusalem.” Abbas urged Palestinians to rise up to stop Jews from defiling the Al Aqsa mosque with “their filthy feet.”
Any honest reporter would not have left out this central precipitating factor of the conflict. But then Dean is not an honest reporter and NBC is not the news organization it once was.
Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, published a piece in Politico, Ten Deadly Lies About Israel, that lays out some of the worst distortions perpetuated in the media. Some of the lies Dermer lists and the correct information are included below:
Lie: Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
Correct Information: Although the Temple Mount is the Jewish people's holiest site, in order to maintain a precarious peace, Israel does not allow Jews to pray there.
Lie: A recent wave of construction settlement has spurred the current wave of violence.
Correct Information: Construction has decreased under Prime Minister Netanyahu from prior years.
Lie: The reason the conflict persists is because the Palestinians don't have a state.
Correct Information: As far back as 1937, in 1947, in 1967, in 2000 at Camp David and in 2008, Palestinian leaders have consistently rejected proposals that would have created a Palestinian state. To this day, contrary to what is often reported, the "moderate" leadership of the Palestinians - Fatah - refuses to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
Lie: Palestinian terrorism is the consequence of Palestinian frustration.
Correct Information: Palestinian terrorism is the result of successive generations of incitement which inculcates a culture of hatred and an unwillingness to show flexibility on extreme demands. Contrary to the popular perception, many terrorists derive from educated and relatively affluent elements of the society.
If there remain journalists at NBC and MSNBC committed to providing viewers with an accurate and informed account, they should review Dermer's points, seek out information from other reliable and credible sources and discard their current trove of propaganda.
CAMERA -Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA fosters rigorous reporting, while educating news consumers about Middle East issues and the role of the media.