Peter Johnson Jr.
The focus of fiery discussion during Fox News Channel programs on Wednesday morning was the controversy over a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia who wore a mask that resembled President Barack Obama and was banned from the event for life as a result.
The hosts of Fox & Friends stated that “presidents have been fodder for jokes before, and nothing happened to those people,” while a conservative guest on that morning's edition of America's Newsroom charged that liberals “believe you get to talk, and everyone else shuts up.”
While the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC have all failed to remind viewers that Israel allows regular aid shipments into Gaza over land from its side of the border, on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Richard Roth highlighted complaints about the effect of the blockade on Gaza residents, used a soundbite of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to argue that "even [Israel’s] friends question the effect," and even noted that Egypt was opening its border with Gaza for humanitarian aid – all while still not informing viewers that the Israelis regularly screen aid shipments and allow them into Gaza.
RICHARD ROTH: The U.N. says 70 percent of its million and a half people live on less than a dollar a day. Smuggling through tunnels to Egypt provides much of what Gazans need but at prices not many can afford. Israel says the aim of the blockade is to control terrorism, but even its friends question the effect.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable.
ROTH: Wary of sharing blame, Egypt's now opened its own border with Gaza – for humanitarian reasons, said Cairo – but probably not for long.
On the same day’s The Early Show, CBS anchor Betty Nguyen also noted Egypt’s actions: "This morning, Egypt has temporarily opened its border with Gaza to let in aid shipments after Israel's raid that killed nine people on a humanitarian flotilla."
Similarly, during the war in Gaza from late December 2008 to January 2009, CBS was the network most likely to air complaints about the blockade’s effect on the people of Gaza, and the least likely to report that humanitarian aid was being transported into the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Dana Lewis filed a report in which he noted some of those on board the Gaza-bound ships that were boarded by Israel were from a Yemeni group that has "murky links to al-Qaeda," and others from an extreme group in Turkey believed by Israelis to have terrorist links: "But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations." The report also recounted that anti-Semitic attacks were chanted by those who attacked Israeli commandos: "In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, ‘Death to Jews.’"
On the same day’s Fox and Friends, FNC’s Peter Johnson, Jr., recounted that the Israelis allow much humanitarian aid into Gaza on a regular basis, and that they had also offered to screen and deliver aid from the flotilla of ships before the confrontation: "We know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that's sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that's being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, ‘Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel, we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza.’ If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"
The broadcast networks ABC and NBC have only given brief attention to the flotilla’s links to terrorist groups, while CBS has ignored such connections.
In the past several days, FNC has given attention to the plight of three Navy SEALs who helped capture one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq – a man named Ahmed Hashim Abed who is believed to have planned the savage murder of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Due to accusations of prisoner abuse by Abed, these American troops are now facing the possibility of court-martial. On Wednesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Steve Centanni began his report:
It was March of 2004. Fallujah was a hotbed of insurgent activity. Four Blackwater contractors were ambushed and killed. Their bodies were mutilated and burned, then dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River. The man believed to have planned that attack, Ahmed Hashim Abed ... had long evaded capture. But when a team of Navy SEALs finally did catch up with him in September of this year, they weren't hailed as heroes. Instead, three of them were brought up on charges.
Fox and Friends also raised the story Wednesday morning, and Thursday’s show delved further into the matter as former JAG officer and defense attorney Tom Kenniff appeared as a guest and argued that the accusations of abuse are consistent with al-Qaeda’s practice of advising its members to level false accusations of abuse against American troops if captured. Kenniff:
"Fox & Friends" on Friday replayed the videotape of Griff Jenkins chasing down Rashid Khalidi, which was originally aired on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes." Unsurprisingly, Khalidi was not willing to talk with the Fox News reporter.