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Media Analyses

CBS Recently Aired Problematic News Segments Involving the Jewish People and Israel

Face the Nation

The CBS Face the Nation program broadcast of Sunday morning Feb. 11, 2018 included an interview by Major Garrett of Joseph A. Califano who is a director of the CBS Corporation and has served in various high-ranking positions in the federal government including Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Jimmy Carter.

In the interview, which focused on Califano's new book, “Our Damaged Democracy,” Califano engaged in classic anti-Semitic rhetoric.
About half-way through the interview, Califano, responding to the question, “Is Congress to blame” for the problem, stated, “Congress is crippled and cowardly. Look at the Iran resolution. Congress pretzeled itself so it didn't have to in any way, shape or form, vote on the Iran [nuclear] deal… It didn't have to vote on it because … for the Democrats, the problems of the Jewish vote and the Jewish money, they didn't want – they didn't want it to be on record. They weren't on record. But they had to enact really, you know, a way of getting around it.”

Califano's suggestion that Democrats in Congress were afraid to support the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 because of “Jewish money” meets the State Department's definition of anti-Semitism, which includes: “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

Unfortunately, Garrett failed to challenge or disavow the remark. Likewise, CBS has since failed to disavow the remark.

Califano's remark is misleading, offensive and inflammatory. It plays into the age-old stereotype about Jews and money and Jewish power and it hints at theories of Jewish conspiracies. The canard is defamatory towards Jews as an ethnic or religious group.

Califano defamed no other group in the interview. One could point out that Jewish Americans are not monolithic or even close to uniform in their attitudes and political positions.
Evening News

A CBS Evening News segment on Jan. 1, 2018, Protecting the border, apparently politically motivated, likely left an unwarranted negative impression of Israel among many viewers by wrongly conflating Israel's security barrier with the infamous Berlin Wall. “Whether it's here [Berlin] or the security barrier the Israelis have built between them and the Palestinians or going back to the Great Wall of China, they [the Spitzer family] see all walls as monuments to political failure [correspondent Mark Phillips].”

The segment seems to have been prompted in part by the fact that Nov. 9, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It had been erected in 1961, totally encircling West Berlin, by the Communist East German authorities to stem the tide of refugees attempting to flee East Berlin for the West.

CBS failed to inform viewers that the purpose of Israel's security barrier is to prevent Palestinian terrorists from murdering Israelis. It includes less than eight percent of the West Bank. The barrier was constructed in response to the “al-Aqsa intifada,” the 2000-2004 Palestinian terror war in which more than 1,000 Israelis – Jewish and Arabs, more than three-fourths of them non-combatants – and foreign visitors were murdered by Palestinian terrorists crossing unimpeded from the West Bank. The barrier's completion has contributed significantly to the roughly 95 percent decrease in lethal attacks from the area.

CBS’ priors

CBS' Protecting the border is remindful of a CBS Evening News 2016 segment, introduced by former CBS personality Charlie Rose, which presented as news, an anti-Israel propaganda farce. CAMERA documented this in CBS News Plays the Palestinian Propaganda Game in Gaza. Numerous other such CBS misinformation broadcasts have been documented by CAMERA.

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