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January 14, 2015

Where Was MSNBC's Interception of Intercept's Jeremy Scahill?

Press Freedom map.JPG
The Freedom House's Press Freedom map. Green is free, yellow is partly free and purple is not free

According to Freedom House, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a free press, but according to Jeremy Scahill, a journalist interviewed yesterday on MSNBC, the Jewish state is among the worst "enemies of a free press."

Of the world leaders marching at the front of the Paris rally yesterday, Scahill, a co-founder of Intercept, said on "The Ed Show":

Yeah, I mean, well, first of all on the one hand I think it`s moving to everybody to see so many people pour to the streets. And to have this discussion about freedom of the press, and to defend journalists even when they are saying something or drawing something that we find hateful or offensive or demeaning to our faith, those are all important principles. But when I watched it, I looked at all those leaders and the world leaders that were in the front row there, by the way, they weren`t on the side street, they weren`t exactly leading this march of millions of people.

Many of them are enemies of a free press. There are several dictators from Africa there who are enemies of a free press. The leader of Ireland has outlawed blasphemy. You now, Benjamin Netanyahu who`s government has killed scores of Palestinian journalists, apparently targeting some of them at times. So I think that we have to weigh the hypocrisy that`s almost always on display when world leaders are at the forefront of what`s supposed to be a sort of, you know, people`s response with the actual facts.

Ed Show.JPG

The notion that Israel has killed Palestinian journalists, even specifically targeted them, because of their offensive or even anti-Israel work, is completely unfounded. The large majority of those said to be Palestinian journalists killed by Israel were killed in the course of violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, both in the summer of 2014 and in November 2012.

Many of them were later identified as members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or other terror groups. They include Abdulla Murtaja of Hamas, Islamic Jihad leader Ramez Harb, Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussam Salama of Hamas, and Ezzat Salama Duheir of Islamic Jihad.

Neither host Ed Schultz nor Steve Clemons of The Atlantic, the segment's other guest, challenged Scahill's assertion that Israel is an enemy of free speech. (Anyone who reads Israel's Haaretz on any given day knows how off the mark he is). But Clemons did take on Scahill's similarly unfounded allegation that Islam, and Mohammed, had been uniquely lampooned by Charlie Hebdo.

Scahill said:

This takes on much greater significance in terms of the public debate, and I think a lot of Muslims that I talked to, including almost every single Muslim I know that condemns this attack, they say, this is happening to the Prophet Muhammad and people are OK with printing this, but they wonder if anti-semantic cartoon would be printed in the same manner in solidarity.

Now there`s not an exact comparison there, but there is a sense that because it`s the Prophet Muhammad, that it`s more acceptable than any other religiously offensive image, and that`s -- I think the point worth debating.

Clemons commendably responds:

I like to just simply, remind people that both, you know Jesus Christ and other Jewish leaders have all been lampooned on the front of Charlie Hebdo as well, I mean, you know, we`ve been talking a lot about the fact that it`s going after everyone, but if you go back in the history of the images in Charlie Hebdo, there`s plenty to grab in terms of equal opportunity taboos in a variety of religions that magazine has taken on.

And so, I agree with Jeremy that it will be interesting to see what comes out next, but the notion that, you know, we have one publication targeting this week, you know, Muhammad and with all that represents, I think, if you go back to this -- that`s what made the magazine so interesting...

Posted by TS at January 14, 2015 07:21 AM


Well, of course we wouldn't want anti-semantic cartoons to be published,would we? Maybe all the semanticists would riot if that happened, and bombard the cartoonists with words!
Somebody needs a dictionary.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 20, 2015 12:07 AM

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