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Media Analyses





C-SPAN May – August 2017


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The following entries include either direct or indirect consequential references to “Israel” or “Jews”
 

May 14, 2017 – 9:44 a.m.

Host: STEVE SCULLY is C-SPAN's political editor and senior executive producer [sscully@c-span.org, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org, @SteveScully, @cspanwj, facebook.com/cspan ].

Topic: Overnight North Korea missile test.

Caller: Teresa from Bolingbrook, Illinois (click here to view).

Note: “Teresa,” a repeat anti-U.S, anti-Israel caller, defends North Korea here. Host Scully (only) gently remonstrates with this caller unlike previous Scully interchanges with “Teresa” when her false charges were accepted.   

Caller: “I would just like to say, based on U.S. history – what happened on the African continent [indiscernible], if I was North Korea I wouldn't give up my nukes either because the United States does not want other countries to have nukes or self-determination. They want to control everything and I also want to …”

Host (interrupting): “Teresa, let me just step in on this point. Do you want President Kim Jong-un of North Korea … to be able to nuke the United States …?”

Caller: “Absolutely not but the United States has caused all the problems … If Israel can have nukes, then North Korea should be able to have nukes. If China, India, Pakistan, United States have nukes, then North Korea can have nukes …”

NOTE: In a previous “Teresa from Bolingbrook, Illinois” call to Washington Journal, caller's racist, anti-Israel, anti-U.S. polemical tirade was accepted without challenge by this same host Scully and monitored by CAMERA (Aug. 14, 2016 – 9:22 a.m.). At that time, Teresa's tirade included this: “The U.S. starts most of the conflicts in the world, but they blame everybody else…Israel … killed a bunch of Arabs and Muslims and took their men and put the rest of them in refugee camps.”

In another falsehood-filled Teresa tirade (Nov. 8, 2015 at 9:12 a.m.) unchallenged by Scully, she condemned Israel, charging it with racism. This charge is obscene because Israel is the very antithesis of a country practicing racism. The refutation of this accusation is the presence in Israel of thousands of dark-skinned fully assimilated Israeli Jewish citizens from Ethiopia, Yemen and India.

May 13, 2017 – 9:18 a.m.

Host: GEOFF BENNETT, political reporter for Time Warner Cable News [geoffb.tv@gmail.com, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org, @cspanwj, facebook.com/cspan].

Topic: Open phones.

Caller: Linda from Pensacola, Florida (click here to view).

Caller: “I just wanted to share some information. The American Indians are truly one of the tribes of Israel. They are called the tribe of Gad. And that is your history and your Bible. So they were the original people here. They were part of the tribes of Israel. I can't go into all the details because I don't want to take up all your time on the broadcast but that's who the American Indians are. They are one of the lost tribes of Israel. Do your research and you can find this out. They are of the tribe of Gad. And that's all I wanted to share with you. Thank you.”

[Host has no comment.]

NOTE: Instead of failing to either reply or comment on the caller's baseless claim and thus allowing viewers to be misinformed, host should have noted that there is not a scintilla of evidence that the American Indian natives are one of the lost tribes of Israel. This myth is similar, but not nearly as incendiary, to the one often heard on C-SPAN's Washington Journal which is promulgated by Rev. Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam claiming that the black people are the true Israelites thus dispossessing the Jews of the right to the land of Israel. This anti-Israel myth conveyed by callers and never refuted on Journal ignores the facts. There is a continuous Jewish diaspora history from the Roman expulsions to the rebirth of Israel as a Jewish state, and modern DNA testing that strongly indicates both Jewish genealogical continuity and Middle Eastern origins of the vast majority of Jews including the current Israeli and American Jewish populations.

May 13, 2017 – 9:25 a.m.

Topic: Open phones.

Host: GEOFF BENNETT, political reporter for Time Warner Cable News [geoffb.tv@gmail.com, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org, @cspanwj, facebook.com/cspan].

Caller: Jesse from Michigan (click here to view).

Caller: “Our problems are great but we can send $40 billion to Israel. Our cities are crumbling, and there are no jobs, not much hope, and that is one thing that really …”

[Host has no comment.]

NOTE: When Washington Journal callers complain about sending financial aid to another country because the money is needed for communities in the United States, the only country mentioned is Israel and typically viewers are not informed of the realities involved.

First, less than one percent of the nearly $4 trillion annual federal budget goes to foreign aid. Second, the aid to Israel (it is military only) amounts to less than 0.1 percent of the budget. Furthermore, only Israel, of all U.S. allies, is under continual siege and it is the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East. The implication is that a conspiracy is involved. Caller is wrong. Invariably, C-SPAN fails to inform viewers of the mutual benefits of such aid. Israel is required by U.S. law to spend 100 percent of the U.S. aid in the United States for the purchase of military materials which helps create or sustain thousands of American jobs.

Moreover, cooperative arrangements with Israel provide technology benefits to America related to unmanned aircraft, anti-missile defenses, battlefield medical techniques. For example, Israeli-developed technologies include unmanned aerial vehicles, decoys to confuse enemy radars, tank armor to repel fire and armored tiles to protect from improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—all of which save U.S. lives. A U.S. Secretary of State, Al Haig, once said, "Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier and is located in a critical region for American national security." Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen called the relationship with Israel "absolutely critical" to U.S. national security. Additionally, Israel, with less than nine million people, is America's 20th largest customer (larger than Russia or Spain). Consider votes in the United Nations over the last several years that coincided with U.S. votes – Israel is 90 percent, all other recipients of U.S. support are under 20 percent – Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines and so-on. It should be obvious, except to the most biased individuals, that Israel is an exceptionally valuable American ally.

Finally, in the context of caller's complaint, viewers could have been informed about where federal funding might be found for various community projects. For example, a 2015 report cited only a few of the numerous instances of wasteful U.S. federal spending: $500,000 for a cricket league in Afghanistan, $375,000 to study the dating habits of America's seniors, $500,000 to foster butterfly farming on an Indian reservation, $15,000 to sponsor a Miami conference on hair restoration and so on.

The skewed world view of numerous Journal callers – with silver bullet solutions, conspiratorial cause-and-effect, and frequent default to anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish innuendo or assertion – seems not to matter to C-SPAN hosts. The result is less public affairs broadcasting than public pandering to an unseemly fringe mentality.

May 10, 2017 – 9:14 a.m.

Host: JOHN MCARDLE [jmcardle@c-span.org, journal@c-span.org, viewer@c-span.org, @cspanMcArdle, @cspanwj, facebook.com/cspan ].

Guest: MISSY RYAN, Pentagon correspondent for Washington Post.

Topic: Potential increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Caller: Dennis from Hot Springs, South Dakota (click here to view).

Note: Caller voices several misconceptions about Israel while negatively portraying the Jewish state. Typically for C-SPAN's Washington Journal, the caller is neither challenged nor asked what his opinions are based on. Caller's detachment from reality is such that he believes that "we are in like a proactive war for Israel" explains U.S. missions in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. What are the caller's sources of information? Is the caller not aware of the Islamist drive to control more and more land and peoples as exemplified by ISIS (Islamic State) and Iran? The questions are not asked on the supposed "public service" program.

Caller: "I feel that the U.S. should stop intervening in other countries' civil wars. What if some other country would have intervened in our civil war? And then also, I agree with the previous caller that the cost of bringing the country down to its knees, our country, and that basically what we're doing over there in the Middle East is taking Israel – we are in like a proactive war for Israel. They do absolutely nothing as far as the Coalition is concerned and we give them money and arms and they still don't help us. But they want more help, I'm not necessarily against Israel, but I am against [Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu]. He just preys and preys and wants more and more and more."

Host: "Alright, Dennis – Got your point. Missy Ryan, the caller brings up the cost of war. This plan to expand the troops footprint in Afghanistan – is there a dollar sign we can put on it?"

Guest: "There isn't, not yet that I've seen. The United States is already spending $23 billion a year on Afghanistan and so this would represent some increase to that, obviously. And as far as we understand, the cost factor is something that is said to weigh heavily on President Trump's consideration of this proposal. He is somebody who, you know, is a businessman, wants to make sure that the United States fiscal situation is not out of control and I think that is a lens through which he sees this potential expansion in Afghanistan. So, I mean, the United States has already spent untold billions of dollars in Afghanistan, it is hard to know when that kind of investment could end. Many people make the argument, ‘look, the United States has had forces in Germany, South Korea for decades, this could be a situation that would be similar to that."

Host: "The caller also brings up Israel – can you talk about Israel's involvement in either Afghanistan or the Syrian mission?"

Guest: "Well, there is no direct Israeli role in the Afghanistan mission. Syria – obviously they are neighbors and they have their own defensive interests to think about. There have been occasional Israeli fores into Syria where the Israeli government sees a threat, but they are not an active part of the military coalition."

NOTE: Caller complains, "They [Israel] do absolutely nothing as far as the Coalition is concerned." The response that Journal should have provided here is something like this: While Israel is prepared to do what's needed, Arab regimes supporting United States Middle East policy don't want to be seen by their publics working with the Jewish state. This, even though reports of covert intelligence cooperation are not uncommon. The anti-Israel passion widespread among Arab countries both undermines their own strategic interests and reflects a deep-seated prejudice.

As to the America-Israel relationship criticized by the caller in defamatory claims, is it a mutually beneficial one? Several points are relevant. First, financial (it is military only) aid to Israel continues to constitute only a tiny portion of the federal budget (less than 0.1 percent). Further, all the aid dollars must be used to purchase military materials in the United States which helps create or sustain thousands of American jobs. Third, cooperative arrangements with Israel provide technology benefits to America related to unmanned aircraft, anti-missile defenses, battlefield medical techniques – and intelligence on anti-U.S. as well as anti-Israel Arab and Islamic radicals.

It's not surprising that former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen called the relationship with Israel "absolutely critical" to U.S. national security. Additionally, Israel, with less than nine million people, is America's 20th largest customer (larger than Russia or Spain). Consider votes in the United Nations over the last several years that coincided with U.S. votes – Israel sided with the United States 90 percent of the time, all other recipients of U.S. support stood at less than 20 percent – Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines and others.

Moreover, an extensive real-cost study published February 2017 explodes the myth that Israel is the largest beneficiary of U.S. military aid money by showing that Israel ranks below  Japan, Germany, South Korea and Italy. Furthermore, a realistic analysis would show that while America has spent trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the blood of U.S. troops – Israel does not require U.S. troops while it battles the same enemy – the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Lebanon components of the world wide Islamist militancy, the deadly enemy of the West.

Obviously, Israel is the best bargain the American taxpayer has in terms of U.S. aid to any nation.


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