Then What Was It? NBC’s ‘Today’ Downplays Wannabe Pogrom as ‘Pro-Palestinian Mob’

October 30th, 2023 1:58 PM

Surprisingly, all three major broadcast networks mentioned on Monday morning’s news shows that video emerged in Dagestan, Russia of a 21st century wannabe porgrom looking for Jews after a flight landed at the regional airport from Tel Aviv. Not surprising, however, was how it was minimized on at least one network with NBC’s Today brushing it off as a “pro-Palestinian” mob and even tried to suggest Israel’s response to Hamas’s October 7 terror attacks were to blame.

Meanwhile, ABC and CBS all failed to use the “pogrom” label and never explained what the Muslim barbarians were chanting or doing in taking over the Dagestan airport.

In one video, a young child at the airport told someone he “came for the Jews” and to “kill” “all of them” with both a knife and/or machine gun. And, in others, anti-Semitic thugs were seen stopping cars and asking passengers for identification in case they were Jewish.

NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel had other ideas in a piece on the war that, at one point, had the chyron “Russian Crowds Storm Airport”.

Engel pivoted to the airport scene with this subtle warning to Jews about their actions avenging Hamas’s October 7 massacre: “Each new Palestinian death carries a risk of emboldening Israel's enemies, isolating its friends and inflaming old hatred.”

He wouldn’t even call the wannabe program “anti-Semitic” but rather a “pro-Palestinian mob”: “In the Russian province of Dagestan, a pro-Palestinian mob broke into the airport and went hunting for an incoming flight from Tel Aviv searching for Jews in the land of old pogroms.”

Co-host Savannah Guthrie was also charitable toward the heathens, describing in a tease what occurred in Russia as a “disturbing riot” with “hundreds storming the tarmac surrounding a flight that just arrived from Israel looking for Jewish citizens.”

Before going to Engel, she alluded to the “scenes of an angry crowd in a largely Muslim region of Russia making global headlines this morning” with “[p]eople storm[ing] an airport”.

CBS Mornings was more vivid in its descriptions. Co-host Gayle King stated in a tease that “[a]n anti-Semitic mob storm[ed] an airport in Russia looking for Jewish passengers”.

Accompanied by the chyron “Anti-Semitic Mob Storms Airport; Hundreds Swarm Russian Airport Looking for Jews Arriving From Israel,” co-host Nate Burleson began a full segment on the attack by saying the “anti-Semitic mob” represented “a moment with troubling echoes of the past.”

Senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams also never explained what the mob chanted, but she had more than the other two (click “expand”):

WILLIAMS: Video posted on social media appears to show a frenzied mob storming the main airport in the Dagestan region of southern Russia, searching for Israeli passengers and surrounding a plane that reportedly arrived from Tel Aviv in Israel. “Where did the passengers go,” they yell at this airport staffer. “I don’t know,” he tells them. Inside this plane, the captain tells his passengers to stay calm. “Please don’t try to leave,” he says, “There’s an angry crowd.” Dagestan is a majority Muslim region, and in Moscow, Russia recently hosted a visit by leaders of Hamas, the militant group behind the deadly attacks in Israel on October 7. But Russian officials have condemned this attack, calling it a gross violation of the law and detaining 60 people. Amid a worldwide upsurge in attacks on Jewish people, the U.S. said, “there’s no excuse or justification for anti-Semitism.” For CBS Mornings, Holly Williams, London.

KING: It’s very disturbing.

It was even touched on the “Eye Opener at 8” via co-host Tony Dokoupil: “An anti-Semitic mob storms a Russia airport looking for Jewish passengers on a flight from Israel.”

ABC’s Good Morning America followed the same pattern. Co-host George Stephanopoulos announced it from the first tease: “An anti-Semitic riot in Russia as the Israeli offensive in Gaza enters a new phase. Chaos as hundreds storm an airport in Russia, swarming a plane that had just arrived from Israel, shouting anti-Semitic slogans[.]”

Co-host Robin Roberts cited it in the intro to chief foreign correspondent Ian Pannell’s lead-off segment about the war: “This after an anti-Semitic incident, sparked by the war, erupted in Russia. An angry mob stormed an airport targeting a plane that arrived from Israel.”

Pannell opened with a live shot nothing Israel’s “condemning that anti-Semitic attack in Dagestan, Russia” before the recorded portion on the “mob” spewing “anti-Semitic slogans” (which then aired in the show’s second hour). In addition, Stephanopoulos brought it up in an interview of the National Security Council’s John Kirby (click “expand”):

PANNELL: Meanwhile, as you say, Israel condemning that anti-Semitic attack in Dagestan, Russia. Overnight, a mob descending on an airport in Dagestan, Russia, after a flight landed from Israel looking for Jewish passengers. Crowds swarming the plane, seen in video circulating online. Some chanting anti-Semitic slogans. Others waving Palestinian flags. The terrified passengers, including children, trapped for hours as security forces struggled to secure the airport. No one aboard the plane was hurt, but the airport now forced to close.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to begin with that situation at the Dagestan airport. It’s not     — what do you make of it? What have you learned about it? Is Vladimir Putin handling it correctly?

KIRBY: It’s certainly worrisome footage to see all that hatred and potential violence against the Jewish passengers on an airplane. I mean, it’s absolutely unacceptable. And, you know, this coming on the heels, George, of Mr. Putin sitting down with Hamas leaders in Moscow. These are two entities, Russia and Hamas, that want to wipe neighboring countries off the map. So, that’s — it’s very concerning. I don’t know that there was any high level endorsement of — of that activity, but it’s definitely, definitely worsened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s not the only anti-Semitic incident in the world today. We’re seeing it all over the world, including here in the United States. How serious a threat is that?

KIRBY: Very serious. And we’re concerned about it. And, you’re right, George. It’s increasing all around the world. But, certainly, we’ve seen it increase here in the United States. Last year, 2022, was the highest level recorded since 1979 of anti-Semitic events in this country. So, it’s a deep concern, which is why we, as an administration, are working so closely with state and local authorities to make sure we can identify any threats and disrupt them before they happen.

Stephanopoulos circled back to this in a second-half-hour news brief about the war’s expansion “com[ing] after an anti-Semitic incident sparked by the war erupted in Russia” as “[a]n angry mob stormed an airport targeting a plane from Israel.”

To see the relevant transcripts from October 30, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).