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December 15, 2014

NBC's Richard Engel Reveals His Obsession With Israel

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An extraordinary exchange between Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press and Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC, occurred on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. It went as follows:

CHUCK TODD [Host]: December visit here. What's creating more terrorists, Bush interrogation program or Obama's drone program?

RICHARD ENGEL [NBC correspondent]: Creating more terrorists?

CHUCK TODD: Yeah.

RICHARD ENGEL: It's very hard to know. People are radicalized--

CHUCK TODD: But there's worry that--

RICHARD ENGEL: --for a variety of reasons.

CHUCK TODD: --both do that.

RICHARD ENGEL: Yeah, that both can radicalize people. There's a whole history of why people are being radicalized. It goes back to U.S. support for Israel, what's considered to be a war against Islam. But the drone war is certainly part of it. The torture program is certainly part of it. I don't know if you could say one is more influential and creating more of a problem than the other.

CAMERA and other media monitors have described the obsession some in the media have with Israel. Here is an example where the host specifically asks Engel to compare the effect of the drone war and the "Bush interrogation" on generating terrorists. Israel is not part of the discussion. Yet Engel answers U.S. support for Israel. Injecting blame for Israel into the conversation suggests an obsession.

And what's Engel's evidence that American support for Israel generates terrorists? None.

In fact, radicalization in the Muslim world goes back further than Israel. Modern Islamic terrorism has many roots. It is telling that Engel does not cite American military involvement in the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, a complaint more central to Al Qaeda and its offshoots and more relevant to the question Todd asked him.

This is not the first time Engel has revealed his bias against Israel. In the war between Israel and Hamas during the summer of 2014, he had this to say about ceasefire negotiations:

Israel says it wants to trade quiet for quiet. But Israel isn't stopping its Gaza mission entirely. The army said it will continue to destroy Hamas tunnels along Gaza's perimeter. It gave no time limit for how long that might take.

What is Hamas getting in return? So far, nothing. No deal, no immediate lifting of the closure of the Gaza Strip. Just a reprieve from Israel's assault that has flattened entire Gaza neighborhoods and killed more than a thousand Palestinians, many of them civilians, many of them children. The war could easily escalate again. Hamas wants an agreement to end the fighting, not for Israel to unilaterally scale back the assault on its own terms.

Engel seems to be prodding Hamas to not agree to a ceasefire.

NBC's coverage of Israel has been problematic. Richard Engel's obsession with Israel serves as a reminder of the bias that permeates some elements of the media.

Posted by SS at December 15, 2014 02:11 PM

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