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Media Analyses





C-SPAN March – April 2010


April 26, 2010 – 8:49 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY

Guest: TRUDY RUBIN, Philadelphia Inquirer foreign affairs columnist.

Topic: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Caller: Michael in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Caller: “I am a Vietnam veteran and I am not opposed to war, but the thing that I'm very concerned about is that the reason that the United States is over there is because of the heavy dominance of Jewish interest groups that have a great influence over our U.S. government. I would also like to say that the guest on today is in no position to be objective in her position because she's Jewish herself.”

Guest: “Could I say that I think it's a shame that a call like that is on C-SPAN. I think those remarks are totally anti-Semitic. My writing speaks for itself. But I wouldn't even answer that caller. Because, again, books have been written about why we went into Iraq. Plenty of information is out there. George W. Bush was not Jewish, neither was Richard Cheney, but the whole issue of a Jewish conspiracy belongs in Nazi history books. And my writing speaks for itself and I'm sorry that caller was allowed on C-SPAN.”

NOTE: The guest accurately describes the call as "totally anti-Semitic." Perhaps even more importantly, she says "it's a shame a call like that is on C-SPAN." The question to C-SPAN remains: Why are such calls aired so frequently, and why do hosts, like Washington Journal's Libby Casey in this case, so frequently fail either to terminate quickly such calls or rebuke callers peddling anti-Jewish conspiracies?

April 24, 2010 – 8:58 AM

Host: PEDRO ECHEVARRIA

Guest: CHARLES STEVENSON, Prof. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Int'l Studies.

Caller: Roy from Tampa, Florida.

Caller: “Good morning. I have a thought. I think you guys are talking about … Can you hear me? You guys were talking about things that really, really don't matter. What happens is the division of the two parties and even the independent party is that the government – all of these departments, the Senate and the House are being paid – paid with the Israeli lobby. What happens is that anything that is for that purpose – that they need – there will be 100 percent people in those two Houses will vote for it.”

Host: “How do you make that argument, caller?”

Caller: “Because, what happens is that – you know, the new loan – that letter or so that they all signed 100 percent – they all did that …”

Host: “Which letter is that, sir?”

Caller: “It was a letter recently that I think they said Schumer was one that signed it. I'm not sure. I can't remember but Schumer and all of the others – it was like 98% or so and they all signed it. I am sure you can check that out. I don't remember which one that was, but...”

Host: “Okay, go ahead and finish.”

Caller: “Whenever they need something like that health bill that Obama was trying to pass with the public option, if that was from Israel, they would have all come together, all both Houses and independents would have all given that 100 percent.”

Guest: “Many people argue that the pro-Israeli lobbies are strong. I agree they are strong. And America has a consistent policy of being supportive of Israel in all kinds of things. I guess, as I look at interest groups, whether they are for Israel or Armenia or sugar producers or whatever the interest is, not just foreign policy, most of the interest groups that I see have the power that they earned. They earn by playing by the rules, by having strong national support, by putting their money into their programs and by having a point of view that members of Congress will hear, understand and either accept or reject. It turns out that most lobbyists contributions or campaign contributions, don't go to buy votes, they go to reward votes. Is that good or bad? I think that's what the practice is. People in Congress aren't corrupt in their votes. Maybe they're corrupt because they have to spend so much time raising money and campaigning but not because their votes get bought. They usually raise money by saying, ‘see, I'm behind you – I'm for you, I'm for the cause you represent.'“

NOTE: Caller makes classic anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist charge – "the Israel lobby has bought Congress." Rather than cutting off obvious conspiracy theorist, C-SPAN host Pedro Echevarria asks the caller on what basis he makes his argument. Caller makes disjointed, unsubstantiated reply but, instead of terminating the call at this point, the host asks for specifics. The caller's next response confirms that he does not know what he's talking about  – "I'm not sure .... I can't remember" but the C-SPAN host continues to indulge the rant. The guest appropriately places pro-Israel lobbyists in the lobbying mainstream, something a knowledgeable, competent host would have done subsequent to cutting off the caller after his first allegation.

April 23, 2010 – 9:38 AM

Host: GRETA BRAWNER

Guest: JON-CHRISTOPHER BUA, Sky News (England) political analyst.

Topic: Impact of British PM debates.

Caller: Ronald from Austin, Texas (anti-Israel frequent caller trying to disguise his voice).

Caller: “Yeah, I'm calling from Austin. I was wanting to find out – of course Sky News has a political bias. Rupert Murdoch supported the neocons here in America and Tony Blair is a neocon lackey in Britain. You can go to America-hijacked dot com. Now the pro-Israel lobby is pushing us to attack Iran. What's (indistinct) going to do. There was a channel 4 documentary – called the (indistinct) – that was very good that talked about the pro-Israel lobby influence in England.”

Host: “Alright, Ronald, we will leave it there. We're talking about the prime minister debates.”

NOTE: Despite his recognizable voice and Johnny-one-note sales pitch, this frequent caller's almost completely anti-Jewish, anti-Israel message is aired regularly by C-SPAN. This violates the network's own 30-days-between-calls rule. Here, he's allowed to use a discussion about the British PM debates as an excuse to bash Israel. This caller, "Ronald from Austin, Texas," was heard on April 17 (as Danny from Seattle, Washington), April 14 (as Tim from Atlanta, Georgia), April 14 (as Jamie from Houston, Texas), April 6 (as Tim from Clarksburg, West Virginia), April 5 (as James from Fort Worth, Texas), April 4 (as Jim from Alexandria, Virginia), April 3 (as James from Los Angeles, California). Host Greta Brawner does terminate the familiar caller but far too late. Both host and guest fail to comment on obvious anti-Israel, anti-Jewish caller, one who chronically uses "neo-con" as a defamatory euphemism for Jews.

April 21, 2010 – 9:51 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY

Guest: ZALMAY KHALILZAD, former American ambassador to Afghanistan.

Topic: Future of U.S.-Afghanistan relations.

Caller: Timothy from Atlanta, Georgia (Anti-Israel frequent caller).

Caller: “You can go to neoconzionistthreat dot com. We went into Afghanistan because we were attacked for support for Israel, in Iraq fighting war for Israel. You can read the Transparent Cabal book by Stephen Sagosky. Again, neoconzionistthreat dot com ...”

Host: “There's concern there about our relationship with Israel.”

Guest: “Well, I think that our relationship with Israel – and I was in the government at the time when we decided to go into Afghanistan – did not have anything directly to do with the decision to go to Afghanistan. Now, some argue that the whole issue of extremism and therefore the terrorists that the extremism produces is in part – and how much [indistinct] it has – to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because we support Israel, because the Palestinians are not doing well, the Muslims, or the Muslim extremists at least, are hostile to us because we support Israel, in their view. I think all administrations, including the present one, recognize that in order to normalize this region, if you like, the problem in the Middle East, you need to deal with the Israel-Palestinian issue. There are tactical differences about how best you can achieve that goal, how you can be helpful. But there are other distinct issues you need to address as well. You still have a lot to do with the issue of Islamic extremism. You have to deal with Iran; you have to deal with all the other issues that shake this region.”

NOTE: C-SPAN host Libby Casey belatedly terminated the call from the anti-Israel, frequent caller who yet again violates C-SPAN's 30-days-between-calls rule, having been aired on April 17 (as Danny from Seattle, Washington), April 14 (as Tim from Atlanta, Georgia), April 14 (as Jamie from Houston, Texas), April 6 (as Tim from Clarksburg, West Virginia), April 5 (as James from Fort Worth, Texas), April 4 (as Jim from Alexandria, Virginia), April 3 (as James from Los Angeles, California). He was allowed to deliver his formulaic, rapid-fire propagandistic rant falsely blaming U.S. support for Israel for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and allowed to promote, yet again, his familiar anti-Jewish Web site and conspiracy-spinning book. The guest appropriately repudiates caller's charge blaming support of Israel for 9-11 but voicing the conventional view that in order to normalize the region, the Palestinian-Israeli issue must be solved. A comprehensive explanation of the motivation for the 9-11 attack is contained in CAMERA's C-SPAN Watch entry for March 23, 2010 (9:56 AM), which includes reference to the official 9-11 Commission report.

April 19, 2010 – 7:08 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Darrell from St. Charles, Missouri (an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel frequent caller).

Caller: “Yes, how you doin' this morning? This sounds just like the run-up to the Iraq war.”

Host: “Hey, Darrell, I'm going to ask you to respect our 30 days. You are a regular caller. We welcome you once a month but make sure you just call in once a month. We appreciate that. We will see you in 30 days.”

NOTE: This 30-day violator, Darrell from St. Charles, Missouri, called on April 17, 7:46 AM (as Bill from St. Louis, Missouri), April 12, 7:54 AM (As Bill from St. Charles, Missouri), April 5, 8 AM (as Bill from Paris, Missouri). The host's cut-off is appropriate and well-timed. However, other frequent callers, who, like Darrell/Bill, call in repeatedly giving different names and towns, have fared better than this caller on this occasion. They usually are allowed either their full rant or else are cut-off much too late.

April 19, 2010 – 7:10 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Jack from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. .

Caller: “Yes, with regards to the question. I was looking on americanthinker dot com this weekend and they had a very good article, alluding to theocracy versus democracy. It gave the background on why Iran would possibly use nuclear weapons when they have them. But I'm just worried if they do use them, they will go after Israel, and our policy toward Israel now is basically almost alienated.”

Host: “You said americanthinker.com had the article. What did the article say about why Iran would use nuclear weapons?”

Caller: “Well, It goes back to their philosophy of how they view the Koran as to accelerating arrival of 12th imam and smiting the believers of the book, whether it be by the neck or by an actual nuclear weapon. I have no doubt they would use the ability if they had it. Unfortunately, our domestic policy of trying to take control of the government versus our capitalistic socialistic situation has been far more focused on – than what our foreign policies attention has been. If something blows up foreign policy wise, we would react to it. Our administration has been more concentrated on trying to take domestic control and transitioning our model (etc.).”

NOTE: Host appropriately questioned this caller's sources – something Washington Journal hosts rarely do with anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli callers.

April 19, 2010 – 7:24 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Beth from Leeds City, Texas.

Caller: “I have to agree with the gentleman, my fellow Texan from Seguin. Those sanctions killed a million Iraqis, 500,000 of them being children, which Madeleine Albright said was the price worth paying. I do not understand that remark, either. There is only one bully in the Middle East and there's only one country with nuclear weapons. That country has been for the past 60 years by violence appropriating its neighbor-land and occupying it. Israel has never been required to account for their nuclear weapons.“

Host: “So, is it your view, if Israel is allowed to have weapons for self-defense, Iran should be able as well?”

Caller: “Israel should not have them. We should not have them. No one should have these weapons. The very idea that these weapons can and should be used is insane if you know what they do which apparently people did not anymore.”

NOTE: Host makes no comment regarding the caller's complete reversal of history. Israel has not appropriated its neighbors' land by violence, though it has defended itself successfully against aggression by its neighbors. In so doing, it gained the Sinai Peninsula, which it returned to Egypt as part of a peace treaty, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt, respectively. It has attempted negotiations with Syria several times and likewise with Palestinian leadership regarding the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The sovereign status of the latter two regions is disputed and remains to be determined by negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. In the caller's version of history, uncontradicted by the Washington Journal host, the victim, Israel, becomes the “bully.” Similarly, the host allows the caller's implicit equation of Israel with Iran despite repeated vows by Iranian leaders that Israel should be destroyed and Israeli desires for a non-belligerent relationship with Iran.

April 19, 2010 – 7:26 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Randy from Des Moines, Iowa.

Caller: “I think the people here are kind of missing the bullet here a little bit. Iran is not going to attack anybody. But look what they are doing. They are giving al Qaeda, Taliban – they're giving them weapons. They are the main supplier of weapons – missiles to Syria. Now Iran has just given Scud missiles to Hezbullah to shoot at Israel. You know that's why they're giving it to them. Israel has not attacked anybody. They are just defending themselves. The problem is that they are worried about Iran giving the nuclear-weapons or the properties of it, to the terrorists to carry out their dirty deeds. I think it's about time some of these people wake up. Iran, I know, will never attack us. Thank you very much.”

April 19, 2010 – 7:28 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Bobby from Riverside, California.

Caller: “Good morning. They keep putting attention on Israel with nukes. Israel has every right to defend themselves when from the beginning they started off with a war defending their country. And they have such a minute area over there, and Iran and the other countries seem to be so jealous of their (Israel's) small portion. You know, Solomon's Temple of old that was there, the Muslims have a mosque over that and no other religion can even go in there and it says on it, “Jesus is not the Son of God” or something like that. As far as Israel goes, they have a minute (tiny) piece of land there that God granted to them and they are not a threat – except to those who have threatened to take them off of the face of the earth.”

NOTE: Host terminates the call but has no comment on either of the above two remarks in defense of Israel.

April 19, 2010 – 7:29 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: J.W. from Georgia.

Caller: “How are you doing? Okay, I want to thank C-SPAN for allowing me to speak. I just wanted to mention two points. Number one, this is a great country but for some reason the only thing we are really great at is destroying other places. I mean, we're going to other places and (indistinct) the people. We caused a lot of disruption and, you know, World War 2, there were calls by Germany because – the Jew – the economy was controlled by the …”

Host: “Sir, I'm going to let you go there. We welcome your opinions on politics, government, issues in the news but when you start to castigate an individual or group of people simply based on their religion or their ethnicity or nationality or the color of their skin we are going to move on.”

NOTE: The host correctly terminates the call from this caller who rants against U.S. foreign policy and utters an anti-Jewish falsehood. This is notable in part because the quick cut-off of an obvious anti-Jewish bigot is rare on Washington Journal.

April 19, 2010  – 7:34 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Aifar from Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Caller: “Yes. Hello. Well, the U.S. is not really sovereign in its foreign policy because of AIPAC's influence but from Iran's perspective – they read history and see how the U.S. stood up against the Third Reich ethnic cleansing of other minorities and faiths and people and ruled the world for the next century or generations. So it's standing against Zionism, which is basically what Nazism was, ethnically cleansing Christians and the Muslim Palestinians from Palestine to maintain a Jewish majority…”

Host: “Aifar, are you from Iran originally – or are you of Iranian descent?”

Caller: “No, sir. And so – this is from globalresearch dot ca – where in 2004, South Korea was found to have 77 percent enriched uranium and Iran had 3.5 percent IAEA inspection. You can see that the only reason – it is not about nuclear weapons or developing nuclear weapons but it's only against – a stand against Zionism. The U.S should stand against Zionism if it wants to rule the world for the next 40 years.”

Host: “Aifar, thank you for your opinion.”

NOTE: Incredible. The C-SPAN host, instead of recognizing the caller's anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist mantra and either cutting off this bigot or at least challenging his propaganda – Jewish nationalism is the antithesis of Naziism, rather than being the victims of "ethnic cleansing," Arab Christians and Muslim in Israel are freer than their brethren in Arab countries or in Iran – actually facilitates the caller's rambling polemical monologue which is tantamount to hate-speech against Jews.

April 19, 2010  –  7:36 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Addison from Front Royal, Virginia.

Caller: “Yes. What people need to do is look in the Bible and it tells you what is going to happen, in Ezekiel 38 and 39, it tells you exactly what is going to happen.”

NOTE: Host Bill Scanlan, who allowed the prior caller to rant at length defaming Jews and Israel and at the screed's completion, thanked him for his “opinion,” without comment, here executes an early cut off. The caller had referred to particular Bible passages, written more than 25 centuries ago and believed by many Jews and Christians to prophesize a Middle East event occurring in the current era involving the crushing defeat of a coalition of nations which attacks Israel with the aim of destroying the Jewish nation. The first nation Ezekiel mentions in the coalition is “Persia,” the name of the nation for thousands of years until 1935, which is now known as Iran. A knowledgeable host might well have pointed out this interesting coincidence for viewers. Mr. Scanlon's performance is unbalanced and perhaps uninformed.
 
April 19, 2010  –  7:37 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Caller: Peter from Southboro, Massachusetts.

Caller: “Good morning. Thank you for C-SPAN. I don't understand all of the attention that is given to Iran, given that Iran has never attacked anyone. We have overthrown their freely elected government in 1953. We supported Iraq in the war against Iran and hence we ended up with Saddam Hussein. Yet someone like Israel who has nuclear weapons, has attacked Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, even the United States. They bombed one of our ships. And yet they have nuclear weapons and they are not a member of the nonproliferation treaty. And never any attention is given to the fact that they have their nuclear weapons…”

Host: “Peter, do you think Israel should have the right to have nuclear weapons for defense?”

Caller: “I don't feel that anyone should have a right to have nuclear weapons. The destruction power of nuclear weapons is 1000 times what it was at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

NOTE: Host Scanlan remains silent as caller minimizes the threat from Iran, the world's largest state supplier of terrorist groups (Hezbollah and Hamas). Not only the United States and Israel but also the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has accused Iran of misleading] the world about its nuclear development and intentions. Iran's leadership maintains an Islamist apocryphal world-view may make it less susceptible to conventional deterrence. Yet the host, Mr. Scanlan, either is unable or unwilling to enlighten C-SPAN's viewers. He remains silent as to the caller's mention of the Israeli bombing of an American Navy ship off the Egyptian coast, the U.S.S. Liberty, during the 1967 Six-Day War. The host fails to note that the attack was judged by an official U.S. investigating panel to be accidental. Mr. Scanlon does not point out that not even Israel's enemies complain of any risk of its proliferation of nuclear weapon technology, while much of the world fears that Iran will proliferate nuclear weapons technology to rogue nations or terrorist groups.

April 19, 2010  –  7:38 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN

Topic: Obama administration policy on Iran.

Host: David from Chantilly, Virginia.

Caller: “How are you doing? I would like to actually second the comments of the previous gentleman. We go around preaching non-proliferation of nuclear weapons -- and yet like he said, we have Israel and others who are not members. If Iran is an issue, fine – let's deal with it -- but there are other -- I don't know why countries like Saudi Arabia and other countries just sit around not wanting to deal with this issue. Essentially, we are at a stalemate.”

Host: “David, do you think that it was a mistake for Mr. Netanyahu not to be at the conference last week – the nuclear proliferation conference that was held here in Washington?”

Caller: “Well, here's the thing. I mean, I'm pretty sure they were invited. But I really don't think he gives a hoot, if you want my honest opinion. Bibi (Netanyahu) has always been very antagonistic. I think the way his administration has treated other members of the diplomatic corps, particularly the ambassador of Turkey it shows a complete disdain for other members.”

NOTE: Host Scanlan, silent in follow-up, characteristically failed to enlighten viewers about the proliferation issue but readily prompted caller to denigrate Israel's prime minister.

April 17, 2010  –  7:46AM

Host: ROBB HARLESTON.

Topic: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges Goldman Sachs with fraud.

Caller: Bill from St. Louis, Missouri.

Caller: “Good morning. It's funny how all of these brokerage firms are – hello?”

Host: “Yeah, go ahead.”

Caller: “Oh -- They're all – whether Wall Street or these brokerage offices – are all led by Jews. Can you explain that to me?”

Host: “I don't think that's correct and we're going to leave that call right there. We're going to take a short break.”

NOTE: The host mildly disagrees with the caller's false allegation that the brokerage firms “are all led by Jews” after allowing him to defame the Jewish people with the familiar type of anti-Semitic canard i.e. “blame it on the Jews.” This problem could be alleviated by timely use of a standard 10-second delay mechanism.

April 17, 2010  –  8:08 AM

Host: ROBB HARLESTON

Guest: DAVID WEIGEL, Washington Post “Right Now” blogger.

Topic: Future of the Republican Party.

Caller: Joanne from Los Angeles (anti-Israel frequent caller Sherry/Susan/Margaret/Carol/Janet/Sally/Peggy/etc.).

Caller: “Yes. Hello. It's not enough that the Republican Party has been high jacked by the neocons – I left the party once and (indistinct) I re-registered as a Republican when Ron Paul was running and I kind of cringed to do that. But now the Tea Party movement, which is a total Ron Paul movement for libertarians and libertarian Republicans has been hijacked again by the neocons and that's what they're trying to do. The only viable candidate is people like Ron Paul and other ones that are running now which I'm really, really backing and here in California there's a few good ones. And if not, I'm voting libertarian. Ron Paul has it right, he doesn't cow down to lobbyists and he is not bought off by AIPAC. And I say he's right on foreign policy and that's what's hi jacking our country.”

NOTE: Neither Host nor guest commented on the caller's familiar type of anti-Israel charge regarding being “bought off by AIPAC (America–Israel Public Affairs Committee).” Guest agreed with caller regarding Ron Paul's importance to the Tea Party movement and the fact that now the “foreign policy neoconservatives have the upper hand.” Despite caller's familiar voice – violating C-SPAN's 30-days-between-calls policy - it's apparently not recognized by screener or host. Recent calls: April 11 (as Sherry from California), April 5 (as Susan from Santa Clarita, California), April 5 (as Aida from Sparks, Nevada), March 23 (as Ida from Compton, California).

April 17, 2010  –  9:08 AM

Host: ROBB HARLESTON.

Guest: CRAIG HOLMAN, Public Citizen legislative representative.

Topic: Revolving door and financial services.

Caller: Danny from Seattle, Washington (anti-Israel frequent caller James/Jamie/Jim/Tim/Tyrone/etc. trying to disguise his voice).

Caller: “Hi. I'm calling from Seattle, Washington, and I'd just like to say the prior caller who talked about Iraq, he's right. We squandered all these billions of dollars over there, but it was for the Zionist neocons.“

Host: “Thanks for the call. We're going to move on to Mary on our line for Democrats.”

NOTE: The caller was again allowed to violate C-SPAN's 30-days-between-calls rule.

Timely use of a standard 10-second delay mechanism could have prevented the airing of the familiar propagandistic, anti-Israel terminology. Recent previous calls: April 14 (as Tim from Atlanta, Georgia), April 14 (as Jamie from Houston, Texas), April 6 (as Tim from Clarksburg, West Virginia), April 5 (as James from Fort Worth, Texas), April 4 (as Jim from Alexandria, Virginia), April 3 (as James from Los Angeles, California).
 
April 15, 2010 – 8:45 AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN

Guest: ELLEN TAUSCHER, Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security.

Topic: U.S. nuclear policy.

Caller: Larry from Sims, North Carolina.

Caller: “Good morning. Thanks for taking my call. I want to ask her why we didn't demand that Israel be there. I think Obama is starting to get a little bit tougher with Israel and I think that's going to be the key. Without them being there, I do not see where this is going to go. Because they are the only one in the Middle East with nuclear weapons. And I think, personally, I think in the future, most of these countries are going to get nuclear weapons anyway. If they got money, they are going to get them. We were the first ones to get them, the Soviets got them – all these other countries got them. It's a proven fact. If you got the money, sooner or later, they gonna get them. It's just like the Indians got guns, you know, when they had bows and arrows.”

NOTE: The guest, but not the host, effectively rebutted the caller's false claim that Israel did not participate in the recent nuclear meeting, pointing out that the Israelis were represented at the meeting at a high level by the deputy prime minister who participated in the work group, signed the communiqué and did everything representatives of the other countries had done.

April 15, 2010 – 8:53 AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN

Guest: ELLEN TAUSCHER, Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security.

Topic: U.S. nuclear policy.

Caller: Ronald from Hudson, Florida.

Caller: “Let's review a little bit: I was born in '48, the same year as Israel, in the early ‘50's, we deposed a democratically elected government in Iran and reinstalled the Shah, a brutal dictator, who kept his people deep down for many years. We supplied Iraq with gas – poisonous gas – to use against the Iranians in the Iran/Iraq war. We supplied Israel with nuclear weapons in the 50's and 60's. Israel has ICBM's; they have nuclear submarines and missiles that are intercontinental. They have thousands of weapons. They are an ethnic-cleansing, expansionist, near genocidal state. And we crucify the Iranians for trying to protect themselves. We have troops on both sides of them while we invaded Iraq with no cause whatsoever. Why wouldn't they think they're next?”

NOTE: Incredibly, the host fails to challenge any of the caller's obvious falsehoods, including: a) the United States supplied Iraq with poisonous gas to use against Iran; b) the United States supplied Israel with nuclear weapons; c) Israel has "thousand of weapons" -- a common news media estimate of Israel's presumed nuclear weapons arsenal is 200; d) Israel's non-Jewish, largely Arab and Muslim minority, rather than having been "ethnically cleansed," has multiplied several times since Israeli independence in 1948, and the Palestinian Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rather than experiencing "genocide," has done likewise since Israel gained control in 1967 and began improving public health measures; e) Iran, rather than "trying to protect itself," through its own agents, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, has helped murder tens of thousands of non-combatants, including scores of Americans, around the world since the Islamic revolution of 1979, and f) the United States and its coalition partners invaded Iraq in 2003 because they believed, based on information from many Western intelligence agencies and Saddam Hussein's own behavior regarding international inspections, that Baghdad was developing weapons of mass destruction in violation of existing U.N. sanctions.

April 15, 2010 – 8:56 AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN

Guest: ELLEN TAUSCHER, Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security.

Topic: U.S. nuclear policy.

Caller: Emily from Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Caller: “Hello and thank you so much for C-SPAN. I just want to tell you that you are disagreeing with facts regarding Israel and our involvement with arming the world. I also want to say that Israel has not signed the nonproliferation treaty, and that should be a huge concern. Why are we still giving billions of dollars to Israel, who does not respect us or international law, and is guilty of genocide?”

NOTE: The guest appropriately disagrees with the caller's biased characterization of Israel but fails to rebut directly the genocide libel, an obvious indication of deep-seated bias. In this case, to uphold factual integrity of the program, it falls to the host to make such a rebuttal. But Ms. Swain sat mutely. Likewise, an explanation should have been offered as to why Israel might not want to inhibit its deterrent posture against much larger, often threatening neighbors, by signing the non-proliferation treaty.

April 14, 2010 – 7:55 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Rep. TRENT FRANKS (R-Arizona), member of House Armed Services Committee.

Topic: Nuclear issues.

Caller: Tim from Atlanta, Georgia (anti-Israel frequent caller James/Jamie/Jim/Tim/Tyrone/etc. trying to disguise his voice).

Caller: “Yeah, thank you for taking my call. It sounds like (indistinct) there, is throwing out the AIPAC--neocon talking points against Iran. Why don't we talk about Obama dodging the question about Israel's nukes. You can go to America-hijacked dot com, it's right at the top there. Congressman, how many trips has AIPAC paid for you to take to Israel, sir? And …” [cut-off].

NOTE: Rebutting the caller's familiar anti-Israel rant, Congressman Franks notes that he is “astonished that it is so hard for people to understand” the concern that Israelis have for the near future existential threat posed to them by Iranian nuclear weapons. Congressman Franks interestingly observes that in his conversation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the latter acknowledged that he was not fearful of an Israeli nuclear attack – but in fact fearful about the danger from the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical Sunni movement from which al Qaeda took much of its ideology. C-SPAN allowed this repeat caller to violate the 30-day rule yet again as he has for years. Recent calls: April 6 (as Tim from Clarksburg, West Virginia), April 5 (as James from Fort Worth, Texas), April 4 (as Jim from Alexandria, Virginia), April 3 (as James from Los Angeles, California).

April 14, 2010 – 7:57 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Rep. TRENT FRANKS (R-Arizona), member of House Armed Services Committee.

Topic: Nuclear issues.

Caller: Claire from Phoenix, Arizona.

Caller: “Good morning. (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad (Iran's president) never threatened Israel or anybody. See what he said in context. What he said was, Israel is going to self-destruct, the way it's going and that's true, that's what the Bible says.”

Guest: “Well, that's just a complete distortion of the threats that come out almost weekly from Iran in some regard. Israel has definitely been threatened by Iran. My great concern is that if this administration continues to be asleep at the wheel, that Israel at some point will have no option but to try to preemptively defend itself. Of course, if that happens, the Obama administration will owe an apology to the whole world and especially to Israel for having to go to do the Western world's job of preventing a jihadist nation – Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism on the planet and they are almost – they are this close (using his fingers to describe) to gaining the capability of producing nuclear weapons on a broad scale of having an industrial base to create nuclear weapons. If that doesn't cause concern, then I guess I'm just wondering when the furniture is going to start levitating in the room.”

NOTE: Congressman Franks appropriately and effectively rebuts the caller's biased, anti-Israel propaganda. His direct rejection and even satirizing of the caller's unfounded claims highlights the generally tepid-to-non-existent responses to similar caller fantasies by Washington Journal hosts.

April 14, 2010 – 8:04 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Rep. TRENT FRANKS (R-Arizona), member of House Armed Services Committee.

Topic: Nuclear issues.

Caller: Eric from Ashburn, Virginia.

Caller: “Good morning. Thanks so much for taking my call. Quick point and then a question. Number one, as far as I understand, there is little to (indistinct) that Iran is actually seeking nuclear powers or weapons. As a free nation, they have every right to secure nuclear power for energy for their people. Their people should not be stuck in the dark ages because we're scared of them getting nuclear power. They are …”

Host (interrupting): “Let me stop you there, we'll get to the questions, just want to get a response to the first point from our guest.”

Guest: “Well, yeah, in all due deference to the caller, I just don't know where he's been for the last fifteen, twenty years. Iran keeps changing their stories. Iran has gone from no centrifuges to 8000 that we know of; they've had hidden nuclear enrichment facilities. If they were for peaceful purposes, I don't know why they would hide them. They've experimented with polonium in recent years. Polonium has one purpose – and that is to trigger a nuclear explosion. Iran has openly said to the world that they are enriching to 20% and the IAEA has confirmed that – and that's four times the enrichment necessary for peaceful purposes and of course that's 85% of the way toward being able to have weapons grade material. Anyone that doesn't realize that Iran is adamantly, relentlessly pursuing nuclear weapons is certainly not paying attention.”

Host: “Eric, go ahead.”

Caller: “Okay, fair enough, then why won't we send U.N. weapons inspectors instead of threatening sanctions. Sanctions really only hurt the innocent civilians, not the people in power? And – second, my point before I go, I'll take the comments off line, but Israel does have nuclear weapons but refuses to sign on to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Why would they refuse to sign on and why wouldn't the U.S. put more pressure on them to sign on?”

Guest: “The question related to the nuclear proliferation treaty, I guess that's one of the greatest ironies of all here. While we are focusing on trying to see all nations sign that treaty, Iran is going forward with building a nuclear weapons creation mechanism that will essentially cause that to evaporate. The nuclear non-proliferation process will be dead the moment Iran gains nuclear capability. Iran has already said that they are ready to pass on nuclear technology to others according to their need. “According to their need” – that's a quote from Ahmadinejad. So, if we are going to try to hold back nuclear proliferation, that would be impossible after Iran gains nuclear capability. What were the other two questions the caller mentioned?”

Host: “The other thing he asked, why not just send inspectors in there?”

Guest: “We had IAEA inspectors there for decades. And they report to us and they are ignored – and we have U.N. sanctions – not U.N. sanctions – U.N. resolutions -- that they ignore. It's not that we haven't had people in there on a peaceful basis trying to inspect them. Ironically, they've given us their word that we have all the information available to those IAEA inspectors. Here is something some of us have known about for some time, but couldn't speak about it because it was classified prior to this – but the facility at Qom Delete is more ideally situated to create nuclear material for bomb-making material than even the one in Natanz. So, the debate as far as what the intent of Iran is as far as gaining nuclear capability -- their relentless effort to do that – that debate, whether anybody realizes it or not, is fundamentally over. If we are not aware of that, at this point, I just can't believe that an American nation that has seen the kind of history that we've had – would be able to ignore the overwhelming evidence.”

NOTE: Congressman Franks effectively addressed the irrationality of many C-SPAN callers' assertions regarding nuclear proliferation issues, obsessing on matters of relative unimportance compared to the overriding issue of Iran's relentless effort to obtain nuclear weapons. The obsessive focus on Israel's non-signatory status on the treaty, when Israel has not threatened other countries with nuclear destruction and its presumed nuclear status has not spurred countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia to develop their own nuclear programs in recent decades, appears to be driven by anti-Israel bias. C-SPAN hosts occasionally should challenge callers on this point.

April 14, 2010 – 8:10 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Rep. TRENT FRANKS (R-Arizona), member of House Armed Services Committee.

Topic: Nuclear issues.

Caller: Dick from Dayton, Tennessee.

Caller: “Yes sir, I just have two comments. The first is about the Israeli nuclear capacity. Let me just say really quickly that – David Ben-Gurion promised Kennedy in the 1960's that he wouldn't build a nuclear bomb or develop one at the Dimona plant in the Negev desert. He went on to do it. They lied to the United States then, and Israel is lying to the United States now about a lot of things. The second thing is – the United States spends more money on the military than the rest of the world combined. When you say that Obama is going to weaken the United States – that's just a lie. We are making submarines we don't even need, we're building bombers that we don't even need. We've got a nuclear deterrent in our submarines that you didn't even mention. These submarines cannot even be tracked down. That's the third part of the triad. You could annihilate the whole world from about four U.S. submarines and you know it so why are you trying to spread this disinformation…?”

Guest: “The gentleman makes some good points. I'm on the Strategic Forces Committee, which deals with all of our nuclear profile so I am very aware of our nuclear triad and submarine capabilities and he's right – we do have some tremendous capabilities. I am not suggesting that we do not have enough nuclear capability to devastate our enemies. What I'm suggesting is that the idea is not to reduce American capabilities so that we can only have so much destruction. The idea is to prevent us from proceeding to see any attack on any country. The caller does not seem to understand that Iran is not really concerned about our submarines – they're really not concerned about anything. They want to gain this nuclear capability, and if they do – it will create an asymmetric capability for terrorists that our submarines will not be able to help us to defend ourselves.”

Host: “Let me add a couple of other stories to the table here. In the Wall Street Journal, ‘Syria gave Scuds to Hezbollah' … and an article points out that Republicans blocked the appointment of a new ambassador to Damascus. Tell us about this.”

Guest: “I would combine that with the last question related to Israel. Israel is the best friend that the U.S. has in this world and they are surrounded by enemies that are dedicated to wiping them off the map. That's a fundamental premise. Golda Meir once said that Israel in its long war with the Arabs, Israel has always has always had a secret weapon – that is no alternative, there's no room for error. Consequently, they've done the things to make sure that they can defend themselves. I don't see Israel willing to walk silently into the gas chambers again. I think this is a critically important point when we consider the whole discussion that we've had today. They have Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran – they face all kinds of challenges. They had six or seven thousand rockets fall on their nation before they decided to move into Gaza and to prevent that capability. Now they are surrounded by rocket capability, of maybe 16 to 18 thousand. Some of these rockets – the Scuds we've been talking about -- are being provided to terrorists and can reach the entire nation of Israel. I can put three Israel's into my Congressional district almost. So, people do not realize that this tiny nation has a mortal threat facing it almost all the time.”

NOTE: Congressman Franks effectively characterized the dangers faced by Israel. But since Congressman Franks did not note the caller's misinformation pertaining to Israel's promise to the United States regarding nuclear capability, the host should have done so.

April 14, 2010 – 8:19 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Rep. TRENT FRANKS (R-Arizona), member of House Armed Services Committee.

Topic: Nuclear issues.

Caller: Ty from Brooklyn, New York.

Caller: “Yeah, good morning. When I saw 9/11, I think [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is really a threat to our security and so is the silent Congress. Obama was asked about Israel's nukes and he just danced around it to cover up for Israel which you can see in an article at the top of America-hijacked dot com.”

Guest: “Well, the fact is this administration attacked Israel openly – essentially criticized Israel more for building homes in Jerusalem than they did Iran for building nuclear facilities to create nuclear weapons to threaten the world with. So, I do not know how you can attack -- it seems like Israel is always held up to a double standard. It's always amazing to me that when they fight terrorists, the terrorists do everything they can do maximize civilian casualties – Israel does everything they can to minimize them and we think there's a moral equivalence there somehow. If anything, I would criticize this administration for attacking our friends and strengthening the hand of our enemies, rather the hand of freedom.”

NOTE: The caller's promotion of an anti-Jewish Web site could have been prevented by timely use of a standard 10-second delay mechanism.

April 14, 2010 – 8:38 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Senator MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska).

Topic: Democratic legislative agenda.

Caller: Rick from Middletown, New York.

Caller: “Yes Sir. Good morning. I was just curious -- I have a couple of comments. You know, Iran is party to the non-proliferation treaty and like Ron Paul said – they are not a suicide nation. But now Israel has over 400 nuclear weapons and they are not part of the non-proliferation treaty and nobody even talks about Israel.”

NOTE: The guest does mention that Israel is “always under attack in a lot of ways.” But host and guest fail to note that many analysts doubt that Iran's Islamic revolutionary regime can be deterred in the manner that the West deterred the nuclear-armed Soviet bloc. They also do not mention rebut the claim that "nobody even talks about Israel," when Israel's presumed nuclear program has been widely reported on and C-SPAN callers, like this one, bring it up obsessively.

April 14, 2010 – 8:44 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Senator MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska).

Topic: Democratic legislative agenda.

Caller: Ivan from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Caller: “When you get back and you start talking about Israel and Start treaty and nuclear proliferation -- we have to understand a single principle. Because of how Israel went in and was established by the international community, Israel inherited a burden of peace. The burden of peace lies with Israel. You can't go about and be secretive about national issues and policies that are going to effect minorities. The Palestinian community is a minority community because of the political power and alliance with America that Israel has.”

NOTE: The guest's response dealt at length with the need to determine those issues “that both sides (Palestinians and Israelis) can agree on” (in order to work towards peace between the two parties) while failing to address the caller's anti-Israel polemics.

April 14, 2010 – 8:46 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Senator MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska).

Topic: Democratic legislative agenda.

Caller: Jill from Grapevine, Texas.

Caller: “I cannot believe the ignorance of people calling in about Israel. We are going to be glad one day that we have them. Isn't oil going to be sold on the open market? Here in Texas, new drilling methods have been proven to cause earthquakes. Also, isn't more tax money going to each person in Alaska than any other state in the union. Thank you?”

NOTE: Neither host nor guest addressed the caller's relevant initial point concerning “the ignorance of people calling in about Israel.” "Ignorance" is a polite explanation for the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish bias frequently aired by C-SPAN callers – and the caller could have, as well, added, “the epidemic of anti-Israel bias among C-SPAN callers.”

April 14, 2010 – 8:50 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: Senator MARK BEGICH (D-Alaska).

Topic: Democratic legislative agenda.

Caller: Jamie from Houston, Texas (anti-Israel frequent caller James/Jamie/Jim/Tim/Tyrone/Etc. trying to disguise his voice).

Caller: “Thank ya for takin' my call there. I am a Ron Paul supporter from here in Houston. The only one that who is (indistinct ) in foreign policy is Ron Paul. He wants us to get out of the Middle East now and stop fighting these wars for Israel. You are talking about Iran, but what about what the Turkish prime minister said yesterday. He said that the only threat to the region is Israel. Israel has attacked Syria, Israel has attacked Gaza, Israel has attacked Iraq – and now they're trying to push us into another war for Israel with Iran. It's unacceptable.”

Guest: “I'd like to just say like what the earlier caller (Jill) said that talked about Israel. They are our ally -- strongest ally in the region. Is important that we continue our strong relationship. In the budget that the president provided, there's 3 billion dollars in aid, which I support, for Israel. We should not forget their role in that they are supportive of us and we are supportive of them. We are tied together and it's part of the equation. I think there are other issues that are causing risk in the Middle East. People who just put it on Israel are wrong. There are issues with the terrorists and issues of terrorism with Iran. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, you have al Qaeda issues. So many elements in the region that we have to be focused on. Ron Paul did very well in Alaska, did better than John Mccain in the primaries, but we are also a very pro-military state. We have a certain role in this world. We have to be cautious when we exercise it, and we need to recognize that Israel is our ally.”

NOTE: The guest's remarks were appropriate, But this frequent anti-Israel caller's formulaic rant should have been recognized and could have been cut-off early using a standard 10-second delay mechanism. The caller was allowed to violate the ostensible 30-days-between-calls policy having called earlier this same day, April 14 at 7:55 AM (as Tim from Atlanta, Georgia) – as well as April 6 (as Tim from Clarksburg, West Virginia), April 5 (as James from Fort Worth, Texas), April 4 (as Jim from Alexandria, Virginia), April 3 (as James from Los Angeles, California).

Continue reading C-SPAN March–April 2010


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