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March 02, 2012

The C-SPAN Way: Allow Propagandist Repeat Callers to Drone on and on Unchallenged

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Inept call-handling by C-SPAN’s Washington Journal hosts, especially anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, anti-U.S. foreign policy callers, was on display yet again in the Feb. 24, 2012 broadcast in which two repeat callers were allowed monologues of several minutes each.

Host Susan Swain (C-SPAN President and Co-CEO) and guest Russ Feingold (former U.S. Senator, D-Wisc.) fielded calls from repeat phoners “Tyrone from Baton Rouge, Louisiana” and “Mary from Bellbrook, Ohio."

Caller “Tyrone” (click here to listen) unrealistically dismissed the Iranian nuclear threat as mainly pertaining only to Israel (a point challenged by guest Feingold) and falsely asserted that Israel is a drain on the American economy (a point not challenged by either host or guest).

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect either the president of C-SPAN or a former U.S. senator to point out that total American foreign aid is a small percentage of the federal budget and a tiny proportion of the gross domestic product. Likewise, the comparatively small amount of the foreign aid budget going to Israel is hardly a drain on the American economy. Most of the approximately $3 billion per year in U.S. aid to Israel is used to acquire military materials, most of which are purchased in the United States.

Also unmentioned, though relevant given the caller's critical focus on aid to Israel, are reciprocal advantages to the United States; benefits return to the United States in the form of technology, including for improved unmanned aircraft, anti-missile defenses, battlefield medical techniques and intelligence on anti-U.S. as well as anti-Israeli Arab and Islamic radicals. And neither guest nor host mentioned the oft-reported facts that U.S. federal deficits and overall debt problems stem primarily from growing, unfunded domestic obligations, beginning with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The figures involved are infinitely greater than annual U.S. foreign aid spending.

Caller “Mary” (click here to listen), unchallenged by either guest Feingold or host Swain, falsely claimed that “our military bases [are there] on their [Middle East] land to access the oil in that region” and cites as authoritative, without challenge, distortions and falsehoods of Michael Scheuer whose tenure as head of the CIA bin Laden unit did not result in the location, capture or death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Likewise, both host Swain and guest Feingold seemed either unaware of or were uninterested in pointing out the falsity of Mary’s assertion, “Iran has never threatened the U.S. and comments from Ahmadinejad have been misrepresented [about Israel]...” The annihilationist intention of Iran's leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, toward Israel have been documented repeatedly.

Ahmadinejad, a religious fanatic who apparently believes world conflict will hasten the return of Shi'ite Islam's messianic “Twelfth Imam,” has frequently advocated the destruction of Israel. For example, on Oct. 26, 2005, in a speech to a "World Without Zionism" conference in Tehran, he vowed that "Israel must be wiped off the map." The Iranian president called for Israel to be "uprooted" in a press conference with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Feb. 25, 2010, one of a number of more recent such statements.

Iran's hostile attitude toward the United States – since the country's violent takeover by the Muslim fundamentalist regime in 1979 – has been demonstrated by its occupation of the American embassy in Tehran that same year and seizure of American diplomats, and its strong continuing support of terrorist entities hostile to American interests such as Hamas and especially Hezbollah, whose 1983 truck bombing killed 241 American Marines at the multinational force barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Iran was linked to the bombing of U.S. military housing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1996, in which several dozen Americans were murdered and many more wounded and more recently to arming anti-American insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran reportedly was behind the recent plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C. C-SPAN hosts repeatedly allow, as in this case, anti-Israel callers to paint a revisionist portrait of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Republic without interruption or factual contradiction.

Typically indulged by C-SPAN, deceptive repeat caller “Mary,” also calling herself “Rebecca,” “Kathleen,” “Patricia,” “Jackie,” “Ann,” “Kay,” “Kate,” usually condemns Israel and rails against American foreign policy in each of her numerous calls.

Note to C-SPAN hosts: Given that Washington Journal ostensibly has a "one-call-per-30-days" rule, become familiar with the distinctive voice you permit to repeatedly violate the non-repeat rule. This deceptive caller has phoned in recently as Rebecca, Jan. 15, 2012 (click here to listen); Kathleen, Jan. 13, 2012 (click here to listen); and Jackie, Jan. 9, 2012 (click here to listen).

According to C-SPAN’s Web site, an estimated 28,500,000 viewers tune in each week – making it an information source of potential significance. Among its most popular programs is Washington Journal. Contact C-SPAN at (202) 737-3220, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org.

Posted by MK at March 2, 2012 06:50 PM

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