In a report that followed, correspondent Mark Phillips cited accusations of data tampering against Penn State University climatologist Michael Mann, but explained: “An academic board today cleared Mann, saying his science holds up, but the damage may have already been done.” Phillips went on to detail other data errors, including a false United Nations climate panel report on melting Himalayan glaciers and the ClimateGate scandal at Britain’s East Anglia University.
Phillips observed how the “series of gaffes by climate change scientists,” has created “a frustrating time for those who believe the basic science in global warming remains true.” A clip was then played of Imperial College London climatologist Brian Hoskins fretting: “it appears the whole edifice has been undermined by these couple of bricks that are flaking a bit.”
Phillips concluded his report by explaining the real problem facing global warming advocates: “The scientists may still believe they’re winning the scientific argument, but they’re in danger of losing the public relations war.”
It was a year ago this weekend that the Israeli military halted its three-week campaign, Operation Cast Lead, against Hamas militants in Gaza, during which Israel had responded to thousands of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza over several years. During Israel’s military campaign, on a number of major stories, many American television newscasts were more inclined to report accusations made by U.N. or Palestinian officials that the Israeli military had acted improperly than they were to update viewers after the military held investigations and released reports disputing the accusations made against it. At one point, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric went so far as to claim that the Israelis "may have used a banned weapon."
Below is a compilation of NewsBusters postings which document how the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS reported a number of major stories from the Gaza War, highlighting examples of the media either engaging in distortion or omitting relevant information that would have cast Israel in a more favorable light, including several times when the broadcast and news networks even ignored reports issued by the Israeli military after it had taken time to investigate and dispute accusations made against its troops which had previously been reported by the media.
On January 6, 2009, there was an infamous explosion near the U.N.-run Fakhura school at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, as the Israeli military did battle with Hamas fighters. The Israeli military’s official account of the incident, released in February 2009, contended that 12 people died outside the school, nine of whom were identified as Hamas members.
A year ago today, when U.N. officials accused the Israeli military of killing the driver of a vehicle delivering relief aid to Gaza during the Israeli campaign against Hamas, all the broadcast and news networks reported the accusation on January 8, 2009, noting the U.N.'s resulting cessation of relief aid deliveries. But, after the Israeli military conducted an investigation and charged that Hamas was responsible for the killing, very few of the shows that reported the initial charges by the U.N. updated viewers on this important development. An examination of the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FNC, and PBS – including American Morning and The Situation Room on CNN; as well as Fox and Friends, the Fox Report, and Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC; and PBS's NewsHour – between January 8 and January 12, 2009, found that all these shows – with the exception of ABC’s Good Morning America – reported on the truck driver’s death at least once, with nearly all shows also directly relaying the U.N.’s charge of Israeli military culpability.
But only CNN's The Situation Room, on the January 9 show, took the time to briefly inform viewers that the Israeli military had denied responsibility for the incident as correspondent Nic Robertson related: "[The U.N.] said that two of their workers were killed by Israeli tank and machine gun fire. Israeli Defense Forces say they have investigated it. Now, they say it wasn't them, which implies that it must have been Hamas."
For CBS News viewers following the first week of the Israeli military’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which news shows began reporting the morning of Saturday, December 27, 2008, one could easily have gotten the impression that Israel was starving the people of Gaza by barring food entry as part of its blockade, as the network’s newscasts – The Early Show and the CBS Evening News – not only ignored news of aid shipments being allowed to cross Israel’s border into the Gaza Strip – which did receive a little attention from evening and morning newscasts on the other broadcast and news networks –
NBC anchor Brian Williams touted “a big headline from that climate meeting going on in Copenhagen. The United Nations weather experts reported today this decade is on track to become the warmest since it started keeping records back in 1850. And 2009, they say, could rank among the top five warmest years ever.” He proceeded to set up a piece about Peru: “Anne Thompson shows us a place where they say the climate crisis is right there for all the world to see, in the form of glaciers melting and threatening the supply of fresh water.”
Those attending the conference on climate change “where an official said today the clock has ticked down to zero and it's time to act,” NBC anchor Brian Williams warned, “say it's so late in the game, so much damage has been done, they fear they can already see how this ends.” Anne Thompson then declared: “This is about life or death -- 192 countries are here in Copenhagen to cut the carbon emissions changing the climate and threatening the very existence of some nations and their people.”
Echoing that theme, CBS’s Mark Phillips stood in water up to his neck and then became completely submerged to illustrate the feared impact of rising sea levels: “The Maldives have become the canary in the global warming coal mine.”
NBC and ABC raised “ClimateGate” in passing – without actually using the term – only to dismiss the revelations. “The man who leads the U.N. panel that blames human activity for climate change said the science is broad and consistent,” Thompson reassured NBC viewers. Woodruff applied the “denier” pejorative as he asserted “climate change deniers say these e-mails are proof humans aren't causing global warming,” but “U.S. officials say the evidence proves otherwise.”
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Mark Phillips filed a report that lends credibility to the conservative or libertarian theory that too much regulation can be counterproductive and even lead to results opposite to those intended, as he highlighted a town in the Netherlands that took the seemingly radical step of removing all its traffic lights and road signs. Rather than resulting in more dangerous roads, the number of traffic accidents dropped substantially, presumably because road users – which even includes many bicyclists and pedestrians – were forced to think for themselves to navigate the intersections in the absence of rules set by the government.
Anchor Jeff Glor introduced the report: "Can you imagine having no traffic lights or signs or any other way of keeping cars and people apart? The results would be dangerous chaos, right? Well, Mark Phillips tells us what happened when one town in Holland tried."
On Thursday evening, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News presented opposite takes on whether Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is really a moderate, or whether he is actually about as extreme and dangerous as current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CBS’s Mark Phillips argued that Mousavi is merely more moderate in "tone" than Ahmadinejad while taking similar policy positions, while NBC’s Richard Engel played up Mousavi as a real alternative to Ahmadinejad. CBS News substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez introduced Phillips’s report: "Mir Hossein Mousavi insists he won the presidential election there, only to have it stolen from him. He's been cast as an outsider, anxious for reform. But as Mark Phillips reports, that's not exactly the case."
After beginning his report contending that "Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran's mullah-dominated government," Phillips further argued that Mousavi would bring little substantive policy difference to the presidency:
On the January 1 CBS Evening News, correspondent Mark Phillips took out of context an Israeli statement that "there is no humanitarian crisis" in Gaza and paired it with images of suffering Palestinian children, as if to blatantly embarrass the Israelis and make it appear that they were in denial of or indifferent to civilians who had been injured.
Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who has long been a pro-Palestinian activist and critic of Israel, and who, according to an article released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), once expressed agreement with the 9/11 attacks which he considered to be a justified attack on civilians, has been seen numerous times in the last couple of weeks on broadcast network news shows – primarily on CBS and NBC. Without mentioning his extreme views, anchors and correspondents have treated him as a trustworthy source, as if he were a neutral foreign observer, regarding civilian casualties arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza amid the Israeli campaign against Hamas. But, according to CAMERA: "When asked by Dagbladet (a Norwegian publication) if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied: 'Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned.' (Sept. 30, 2001)"
The article "Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists?" by Ricki Hollander, can be found here.
On the January 5 The Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips cited Gilbert’s charges that Israel was conducting an "all-out war against civilians" as "compelling evidence" contradicting "repeated claims by Israelis that civilians are not being targeted." Phillips: "Despite repeated claims by the Israelis that civilians are not being targeted and that they are even being warned by leaflets and phone calls to stay away from target sites, the dead and injured continue to be brought into Gaza's overrun hospitals. And the evidence provided by foreign doctors in Gaza is compelling." Then came a clip of Gilbert: "So anybody who tries to portray this as sort of a clean war against another army are lying. This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza, and we can prove that with the numbers."