Israel’s latest onslaught on Gaza is producing some memorable moments of censorship and self-censorship.
The latest example is CNN reporter Diana Magnay who filmed Israelis on a hilltop cheering missiles hitting Gaza and was harassed by some of the audience for doing so and then took to social media:
Magnay then deleted the “scum” tweet and apologized, but the damage was done. Huffpo got a statement from CNN saying that Diana Magnay is now out of Israel, assigned to Moscow.
“After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
“She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew,” the spokeswoman continued. “She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken.”
Magnay is not the first to be yanked. Yesterday, NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin removed a tweet and Facebook post that mocked the State Department for suggesting that Israel’s killings of four boys on the beach in Gaza was Hamas’s responsibility.
He has also been pulled from Gaza by NBC, for “security” reasons, as Glenn Greenwald reported. Mohyeldin has such a following that some are demanding an explanation, and Jewish Voice for Peace is urging its community to call on NBC to reinstate Mohyeldin:
There’s no way to stop a war we can’t even see.
Tell NBC News President Deborah Turness to re-instate Ayman Mohyeldin – a mainstream reporter who believes Israeli and Palestinian lives have equal value.
The US Campaign to End the Occupation has issued its own call to reinstate the reporter.
Mohyeldin’s removal — and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’s ardent support of Israel and Chuck Schumer, and Rachel Maddow’s complete silence about Gaza (as reported here by Michael Arria) — raise the issue of Zionist bias at the network. Comcast is NBC’s parent company; its chairman Brian Roberts and executive vp, David Cohen, have both been supportive of Israel. Roberts participated in Israeli athletic competitions when he was young.
Cohen is a leader of Philadelphia Jewish organizations who cares deeply about Israel. As we reported three years ago, Cohen was said by a Philadelphia Jewish publication to be “genetically hard-wired” to head the pro-Israel Federation group in the city:
He believes that there is historic precedent for Jews “rallying to Federation” during times of crisis. “Whenever Israel’s physical security is threatened, people turn to Federation to provide support,” he says, adding “we must ignite this same Jewish passion to meet local needs addressed by Federation and its partner agencies.”
This spring, the New York Times reported that Cohen is a micro-manager who is good friends of Republican Eric Cantor, the leading Jewish Republican, and they exchange hawkish views about Israel:
“We spend 50 percent of our time talking about Israel, 40 percent talking about our wives and families, and maybe 10 percent talking about cable industry issues,” Mr. Cohen says of Mr. Cantor.
So if Cohen is such a micro-manager, did he get involved in the decision to pull Mohyeldin? Glenn Greenwald said on Democracy Now today:
“It really is remarkable, and not hyperbole that there is nothing that makes major media figures and news executives more petrified than reporting on Israel.”
“This has happened over and over where media figures have been stigmatized or lost their jobs or had their careers destroyed for the slightest amount of deviation from Pro-Israel orthodoxies.”
Those orthodoxies are sitting in the highest chairs at the largest media company in the world. When do critics of our policy in the Middle East examine this network?
Cohen was also a big fundraiser for Barack Obama. And Obama discovered Rachel Maddow’s silence-is-golden policy back in 2009 when he was president-elect: he kept his mouth shut for 20 days as Israel turned Gaza into rubble, and killed nearly 400 children.
Dwight Howard, the Rockets forward, is a bit slow to the lesson. He lately tweeted #FreePalestine and then removed the tweet and apologized for it.
Here’s one guy who’s not self-censoring. Bill Maher expresses his usual contempt for Palestinians, and some misogyny too. His ugly comments are getting a lot of attention, but don’t worry, his job is safe.
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) July 18, 2014