Writing anonymously at the Daily Caller, an anchor for a prominent TV news channel called that channel's coverage of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla "an abomination" and "grotesquely distorted and biased."
"I’m embarrassed by our coverage," the Anchorman concluded in an unsent email to his boss. "I take this job and my reputation seriously. But that’s nearly impossible with coverage like this." He accused the network of "acting as a public relations arm of Hamas."
The Anchorman, his pseudonym at the Daily Caller, was livid about his news organization's kid-gloves treatment of controversial former US ambassador Edward Peck. In an interview with Peck, the Anchorman claims, an on-air personality omitted "anything that might cast the slightest doubt on Pecks political motivations."
***UPDATE: A previous version of this post speculated that the Anchorman worked for CNN, and based that speculation on a Nexis search of interviews with Peck. But it is also possible that he works for a local station, as local stories would not have shown up in a Nexis search. Apologies to the Anchorman and to CNN if that is in fact the case. The larger message on media bias, however, remains.
The full text of the letter:
I’m writing for some clarification about how we are supposed to cover the Gaza flotilla story. If we, as a news organization, are supposed to be acting as a public relations arm of Hamas, or Hezbollah, both internationally recognized terrorist organizations, or if we are supposed to be jumping on the bandwagon of 1930’s style anti-Semitism that’s presently sweeping much of the world, then we are doing a fine job. If we are supposed to be acting as a news organization that covers the story objectively, then our coverage is a travesty and an embarrassment.
I just finished watching XXXX’s piece on yesterday’s 5pm newscast, so I could better understand the grotesquely distorted and biased voice-over that ran on this morning’s show. XXXX interviewed former diplomat Edward Peck, who was onboard the “Gaza Flotilla,” without describing his views on the Middle East. Some perspective would have helped. Among other things, Peck spoke these words, later famously used by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright:”We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye…and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards.”
Peck is deeply controversial in other ways. But no mention was made in XXXX’s story of anything that might cast the slightest doubt on Pecks political motivations.
In addition, remarkably, her piece made no mention – absolutely none — of the Israeli perspective in this story. For example:
The widely aired (though not here) video that clearly shows an IDF soldier being tossed over a railing, and others being beaten with sticks, was omitted.
The fact that bullet proof vests and night vision goggles were found among the “humanitarian aid” on the ship was omitted.
IDF video of confiscated knives and metal bars that were apparently used as weapons was omitted.
Information that Israeli soldiers were also wounded and injured was omitted.
Moreover, her piece included no background whatsoever on why Israel’s interception (“attack” as we called it ) of the flotilla would likely have passed muster in any court outside the thug-ridden United Nations.
Nor did viewers get any background about the three-year-old blockade of Gaza, facts such as:
It’s purpose, which is to prevent the shipment of longer-range, more powerful missiles that only ships can carry. Thousands of Hamas rockets are presently pointed at various Israeli cities, towns and schoolyards; the Israeli government estimates that Hamas continues to smuggle tons of explosives per month into Gaza, mostly through tunnels. In the last few years, more than 2,700 rockets have rained down from Gaza on the civilian population of southern Israel.
In 2005, Israel ordered about 8,500 Jewish settlers to evacuate 21 settlements in Gaza, land occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967. Reluctant and emotionally-torn IDF soldiers had to literally pry people from their family homes. That same land in the year 2010, is now occupied by Hamas training camps.
Gaza is a strategically located port, control of which would complete the encirclement of Israel by it’s sworn enemies, including Hamas and Hezbollah – the latter, of course, being a client of Iran, which is close to acquiring nuclear capability and has threatened repeatedly to wipe Israel off the map.
These are among the perspectives that were left out of our story.
With all due respect XXXX, I find our coverage of this an abomination. I feel like I want to wash the slime off me when I get off work. I’m embarrassed by our coverage. I take this job and my reputation seriously. But that’s nearly impossible with coverage like this. I hope you’ll respond.