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Media Analyses

C-SPAN October – December 2014

Send your comments about C-SPAN's platform for the defamation of Israel and Jews to CAMERA:

December 31, 2014 – 7:09 a.m.


Topic: Your top story of 2014?

Caller: Kathleen from Dayton, Ohio (click here to view).

"Kathleen" (of many aliases), is an Iran apologist, fringe-politics, obsessively anti-Israel repeat caller – whose lengthy, rambling, uninterrupted messages passing herself off as being media-savvy -- are always indulged rather than challenged or terminated in a timely manner by C-SPAN's hosts.

Caller: “Yeah, you know, you're pointing out what I really believe, that different outlets of course focus on different things, and a lot of really U.S. mainstream outlets do easy reporting, where they recycle the same story over and over and make it go for weeks. But, I think, that the U.S. torture report, out of the Senate was huge because it is more information to Americans, to let them know what their government is actually doing and, of course, that only lasted one news-cycle like on MSNBC. I think that good reporting in the mainstream of what's taking place in the Gaza is, of which things have that taken place for decades and, I think mainstream has opened up to reporting accurately. So, I think, And I just watched the greatest piece on BBC, and I, this is huge, I think, this is called the Saudi secret uprising, and I hope you have the guests, the actual camera person, reporter, producer (indistinct) that issued the report, about what's going on, in Saudi Arabia, with protests that definitely doesn't make our media and this is huge in, regards to us understanding dictators that the U.S. support, and why there are repercussions from those actions. So, I turn to BBC and Al-Jazeera [mouthpiece of Qatari government] a lot recently because places like MSNBC and Fox will kind of reroll, say for existence, the Sony issue and cyber attacks but then they don't report about how the U.S. and Israel have done cyber attacks against the Iranian peaceful nuclear program, because there is no proof that there is a nuclear weapons program. So, I'm fascinated with who focuses on what, and how seriously and for how long they focus on the issue. But I hope you have that guest (indistinct) who was on BBC about the Saudi secret uprising.”

Host does not terminate. Caller stops after 2.5 minute rant. Host has no comment.

NOTE: Repeat caller “Kathleen” (one of her many aliases) is one of several serial Washington Journal serial callers who seem to exist in their own information bubble, paying little attention to the news media but lots of attention to fringe conspiracy (usually anti-Israel) sources. Whatever the topic, this caller always manages to assign blame to Israel and, as well, to America's foreign policy. This caller most recently phoned Washington Journal as Kay from Athens, Ohio on Aug. 7, 2014 (8:42 AM) (click here to view). Previously recently it was as “Hannah from Dayton, Ohio” on June 5, 2014 (8:50 AM), “Kathleen from Dayton, Ohio” on March 18, 2014 (7:09 AM), "Kathleen from Athens, Ohio" on March 16 (7:06 AM). In many similar calls monitored by CAMERA over the years, this caller has variously identified herself as: Kathleen, Patricia, Jackie, Kay, Kate, Ann, Mary, Hannah.

December 31, 2014 – 7:12 a.m.


Topic: Your top story of 2014?

Caller: Rick from Louisville, Ohio (click here to view).

"Ranting Rick" is a Washington Journal conspiracy theorist, serial caller who spews gobbledygook in lengthy indulged rants which invariably include blaming the Jewish people for numerous problems. Today, typically, host fails to challenge the bizarre caller's attack upon Jews. On C-SPAN, no other ethnic or religious group has been subjected to such continuous and virulent defamation by mendacious hate mongers like "Rick."

Host: What's your top story?

Caller: “It looks like it is going to be the collapse of the fracking industry, and the collapse of oil. When Bush and Cheney got elected, Bush is an oil guy, and that's where all your wars are started, and that's where your largest military base is in the world is, and your biggest military contractor. So when they got elected, they started this process of trying to rule the world, through oil and gas. When they got elected, Haliburton was $10 a share – please don't hang up on me -- I know, when you start talking about the Jews and the Feds (indiscernible) teeming up with the south, by manipulating oil, trying to control the world. When they got elected, oil was $20 a barrel, and then it went to $80, then $40, then $140 then, $50, and $120. And now it is $40. The way that they've been manipulating the oil, is the Jews and Feds have cut interest rates to zero which means they do nothing but print dollars like they're jelly beans and then they start a (indiscernible) …”

Host: “Moving on.”

NOTE: Rick's priors – always blame the Jews – include: Feb. 10, 2014 – 8:06 AM (click here to view), Jan. 22, 2014 – 8:20 AM (click here to view), Dec. 19, 2013 call (click here to view), April 28, 2013 (click here to view), March 1, 2013 (click here to view), Dec. 31, 2012 (click here to view), and May 3, 2012 (click here to view).

December 16, 2014 – 7:15 a.m.


Topic: ISIS [Islamic State] threats – do they worry you?

Caller: Fred from Reynoldsburg Ohio (click here to view).

Fred is that rarest of Washington Journal callers, one who comments on the Middle East and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict yet provides interesting information and defends Israel and Jews. It's surprising that host Scully allowed Fred a generous amount of time to convey his message.

Caller: "The point I am making, for your listeners, is the culture of hatred of people and the teachings in many of the mosques and by politicians whose power is based upon the destruction of peoples of different religions. This has been going on for many hundreds of years. Since the United Nations was founded, Muslims have killed 7.5 million other Muslims. They have killed over 3 million Christians. What we have is a religion that, in many places, is in the same condition that Christianity was in during the Hundred Years War [a war between France and England that lasted from the middle of the fourteenth century to the middle of the fifteenth] and during the Crusades. We do not come to that realization. We have allowed this to fester. One of the tragedies is that the only democratic country – one of the few success stories of Israel – which involves less than 0.01 percent of all the violence – receives so much attention and pressure from the United States. Soldiers are dying to defend religious freedom against the caliphate. The Palestinian Authority – and Arafat has written about it – their goal is to establish a caliphate in Jerusalem. That is why they want Jerusalem. That is why their plan forbids Jews to live in Jerusalem. You can read it. But we support it and now Europe and the European union officially recognizes a Palestinian state in which no Jews will be allowed and it will have a hate culture. You can read it in their textbooks and see in the maps of their politicians – that Israel does not exist."

Host Scully: "From Reynoldsburg Ohio, that was Fred on the line."

December 14, 2014 – 8:28 a.m.


Guest: Steven Groves, Senior Fellow at Heritage Foundation.

Guest: Stephen Vladeck, a professor of law at American University's Washington College of Law.

Topic: Senate Report on CIA Enhanced Interrogation Practices.

Caller: Anthony from St. Paul, Minnesota (click here to view).

Out-of-touch-with-reality caller "Anthony," indulged by host Scully, wrongfully condemns Israel and, apparently oblivious to the self-proclaimed Islamist jihadist fanatical zeal – borne out in barbaric (often suicidal) attacks – to establish a world-wide caliphate, claims that U.S. policies, including allegedly torture, are the reason for Islamic terrorism. Typically for C-SPAN's Washington Journal, a serial dispenser of journalistic malpractice, the defamation of Israel goes unchallenged.

Caller: "I want to talk about the torture. First off, I'd like to say that we have to look at when we tell our children that we don't want any bullying and then we go on and we support countries that kill people – basically in a killing net. We need to be the people that lead. We are supposed to be the land of the free and the proud. So, let's start doing things that are proud, not supporting things like this. Let's stop making enemies. Why do we have so many enemies? It's because of our policies. Let's start trying to make friends instead of having to torture people. We are doing the same thing the terrorists are doing. You're making terrorists every time, you're recruiting every time. You can see over in the Israel thing. When we don't stand up and say that is wrong and do something about it instead of flapping her gums, we continue to make more terrorists."

What "Israel thing" – torture? The question is not asked. Caller condemns Israel although torture has never been part of Israeli policy. Meanwhile, reputed serial torturer states such as Iran and North Korea are not mentioned here.

Scully: "Okay. We'll get a response from our guest."

Groves: "I don't think anyone would say that these are techniques that we set out to do with a great deal of gusto. These are not things we do here at home when we investigate crimes. Our FBI and police do not do it. I would've liked to have known what your opinion was on September 12, 2011. It's one thing in 2014 to look back and say all of this was terrible and all this was torture but the vast majority Americans would disagree with you. Now, of course the United States cannot condone torture, will not make it a part of their official policy. The question is whether these prisoners were tortured. We might disagree on that. But these techniques were out. Whoever was not our enemy before this report is still not going to be our enemy after this report [and vice versa]. I just don't know what we are really gaining by the release of it."

December 10, 2014 – 9:52 a.m.


Topic: Comments on the Senate report on the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

Caller: David from Jennings, Louisiana (click here to view).

Off-topic caller falsely claims that Israel as a matter of policy practices torture on opponents, and further, that most of the American aid money to Israel is used for that purpose.

Caller: "I've just essentially determined that this is an unnatural process – this torturing. Well, I think we should cut off money to Israel because that – most of that – they use that commonly. I mean – and we've been funding them – and we cutoff that for our country? That's my comment."

Host: "Okay. Alright."

NOTE: Host Brawner, typically and fecklessly, fails to ask caller for his source of information for this inflammatory false accusation against Israel. Of course, Washington Journal hosts in the face of defamatory attacks on America's ally, never explain about the America-Israel relationship.

Four relevant points could have been made about the mutually beneficial relationship between America and Israel. First, financial (military only) aid to Israel constitutes only a tiny portion of the federal budget (less than 0.1 percent). Second, Israel is required by U.S. law to spend most (74 percent) of the U.S. aid ($3 billion per year) in the United States for the purchase of military materials 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-Israeli Arab and Islamic radicals.

Fourth and perhaps most important in the long run, Israel, the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East, is a technologically advanced open society with equal rights for Christians and Muslims as well as Jews. Israel has women's equality, an independent judiciary, free press and is the only country in the region where Americans could live as freely as they do at home and one that, absent religious and ethnic prejudice, ought to be an example for the Middle East's many countries now in intra-communal upheaval.

December 9, 2014 – 9:45 a.m.


Topic: Democrats only – did Affordable Health Care Act make political sense?

Caller: Norman from New York, New York (Click here to view).

Off-topic “Norman,” another of C-SPAN's sizeable cadre of detached-from-reality callers, freely defames Israel.

Caller: “I just want to say that the government has their priorities backwards. Why didn't they take all this money that they give in subsidies for these big rich oil companies and corporations and all of this money with the loopholes, and all the money for other countries, like Egypt $1.5 billion, Israel getting $3 billion to murder the Palestinians [indiscernible] …”

Host (interrupting): “Norman, stay on the Affordable Health Care Act. That's what we're talking about.”

Caller: “Why don't they use that money to fund Medicare? To fund ObamaCare?”

[Annual dollar cost for Medicare is more than 45 billion and for Affordable Health Care act (Obamacare) -- 80 billion (est.)]

Host: “Okay.”

December 8, 2014 – 7:04 AM


Topic: What should be done with the Guantanamo Bay Prison?

Caller: Darrell from Defiance, Missouri (click here to view).

“Darrell” is a detached-from-reality, serial caller typically fecklessly passed through by screeners and indulged by C-SPAN hosts as he insults and defames America and Israel. In this call, “Darrell” evidently forgot to attack Israel.

Host: “Darrell in Defiance, Missouri is our first caller.”

Caller: “Good morning Greta. Thanks for taking my call. How are you? I think Guantanamo should be closed and burned to the ground. How can we them and then torture them and wonder if we release them, they are going to come back and join the fight? If I was tortured and they let me out, I would be on the front line, going after America for this atrocity and that's just the way it is. It is not only Guantanamo, we have black sites all over the world where we take people and torture them. We have known this for a long time. It's still illegal. It is terrible what we are doing to these people. We sit up here and act like we are surprised when we let them go and half of them are not charged for anything. It is just crazy. I do not understand this country anymore. If I was a detainee and I was released, and you had done this to me, I would be coming after your ass.”

NOTE: Darrell who has often used the phrase, “I do not understand this country anymore,” was indulged by this same host Brawner on Sept. 11, 2014 when he called in as “Darrell from Defiance, Ohio” (yes, there's a Defiance in both Ohio and Missouri) with his typical lunatic-fringe allegations (click here to view).

Darrell's previous calls – all anti-Israel, anti-America -- include: July 18, 2014 (7:16 AM), Dec. 10, 2013 (7:20 AM), June 16, 2013 (7:19 AM), April 16, 2013 (7:04 AM), Jan. 13, 2013 (8:40 AM), Jan. 8, 2013 (7:04 AM), Nov. 21, 2012 (7:34 AM), April 15, 2012 (7:36 AM), Feb. 5, 2012 (7:19 AM) as Bill from Defiance, Missouri; Oct. 21, 2011 (7:16 AM) as Bill from St. Louis; Oct. 12, 2011 (7:19 AM) as Bill, Sept. 21, 2011 (7:06 AM) as Bill, May 19, 2011 (7:15 AM), May 2, 2011 (9:18 AM) as Bill, March 18, 2011 (7:30 AM) as Bob, Feb. 26, 2011 (7:16 AM) as Bill, Feb. 1, 2011 (7:21 AM) and so on back to Sept. 30, 2009 (8:21 AM) as Darrell from St. Louis.

December 8, 2014 – 7:08 AM


Topic: What should be done with the Guantanamo Bay Prison?

Caller: Gene from Virginia (click here to view).

Host Brawner seemingly cut off this caller (who is pro-America, pro-Israel) but allowed lunatic-fringe caller “Darrell” (above) to freely rant on and on.

Caller: “There is extreme danger to our national security to continue to release people that have sworn to the destruction of the United States of America and our greatest friend, Israel.”

Host (cuts off caller): “Okay.”

November 23, 2014 – 9:04 AM


Guest: PATRICK CLAWSON, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Topic: Iran nuclear negotiations.

Caller: David from Los Angeles, California (click here to view)
In this phoner's previous call, on a similar topic, he also condemned only Israel while finding no fault with Iran.

Caller: “Yes, I think it's apropos that I come in on this point with what Israel might be willing to act. This wag-the-dog phenomenon with American foreign policy and working and operating as though Israelis is one of the states of the United States. Their foreign policy is their foreign policy. And they, as a matter of fact, are the only country that has not only literally threatened every country in the region – they are the only country there that has nuclear capability. To have people who are obviously a part of some kind of misinformation campaign that always seems to have Israel's foreign objectives pushing that, even at the expense of Americans.”

Guest: “Well, the U.S. interests in the Iran nuclear issue is the concern about proliferation to these weapons to many countries around the world. And in fact it's an issue that President Obama has been involved in for decades. He wants to see the world move away from the reliance on nuclear weapons. He certainly did not want to see the non-proliferation system fall apart on his watch. The Israeli concerns are quite different as the caller pointed out. Israeli concerns are Iran's particular nuclear program. It's not been the focus of the American concerns. American concerns have been about proliferation. So, there has been some tension between the two governments on their objectives. Similarly, by the way, the Saudi objective is also somewhat different than the American objective. The Saudis want to stops Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East and see the nuclear activities as one example of that.”

NOTE: The caller, seemingly detached from reality, is indulged here. Israel is not now and never has been a threat to any country unless that country posed a clear and immanent great danger. But relevant facts are irrelevant to the legion of Washington Journal callers, like this one, obsessively antagonistic toward Israel. Whenever Israel is assailed on this basis, viewers are rarely if ever reminded that, unlike Iran's nuclear capability, there is little reason to fear Israel's presumed nuclear capability since Israel does not threaten other countries with destruction and is perceived as highly unlikely to share any nuclear weaponry knowledge with any other country. The claim that the United States is only interested in Iran's nuclear program because of Israel – is incorrect since a nuclear-armed Iran poses a real threat to national security interests for a variety of reasons. A crisis involving a nuclear-armed Iran could result in a nuclear war in the Middle East. At some point, Iran could develop delivery vehicles capable of nuclear bombing the east coast of the United States. So, while Israel is very threatened by Iran's nuclear program, the United States also has genuine reason to be greatly worried about Iran's threat to the homeland.

November 23, 2014 – 9:17 AM


Guest: PATRICK CLAWSON, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Topic: Iran nuclear negotiations.

Caller: Andre from Columbus, Ohio (click here to view).

The facts are irrelevant to the legion of Washington Journal callers like Andre obsessively antagonistic toward Israel and Jews.

Caller: “I just have a question and a comment. Comment first. What I notice is that this country, Iran, even though there is a lot of hysteria regarding its ability to harm, you know, its neighbors and, Also, us, it's never engaged in any incursions, any covert operations such as assassinations such as their neighbor, Israel. What I notice on this history is that this country, Israel, it get it's modus operandi and objectives just done unequivocally across the board with the help of the members of AIPAC and our Congress. It passes deals completely accepted bipartisan in this country. Second, my question is: Has the IAEA ever done an inspection of the amount of nuclear weapons in Israel? Because this country has 250 weapons. It bombs its neighbors quite often. It also engages in covert operations in which one, a couple of years ago had actually killed scientists, and sometimes kills scientists in the state of Iran which is a sovereign nation.”

Guest: “I think the grieving families of several hundred dead American soldiers killed by advisors supplied by Iran would disagree with that evaluation and certainly the 200,000 dead in Syria, many of them killed by these militias that have been trained, equipped, armed and financed by Iran, would also disagree and say Iran has not been so peaceful. That's not even speak about what Iran has done to destabilize Lebanon or to sponsor terrorist attacks in Israel. Iran has a history of, at best, shall we say, meddling in neighbor's affairs. And that's one of the reasons why so many of its neighbors like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, as well as Israel are worried about what Iran might do. And certainly it is true, that Israel is one of the nine countries around the world that has nuclear weapons, and those who would like to see us reduce the role of nuclear weapons have to figure out a way to persuade those countries to move away from their reliance on nuclear weapons.”

NOTE: Israel, like some other Middle Eastern countries but unlike Iran, is a non-signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) the purpose of which is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weaponry capability. Therefore Israel, cannot avail itself of certain nuclear assistance from other NPT countries but at the same time it is not legally required to submit to NPT requirements such as inspection of presumed nuclear facilities.

Whenever Israel is assailed, viewers are rarely if ever reminded that there is little reason to fear Israel's presumed nuclear capability since Israel does not threaten other countries with destruction and is perceived as highly unlikely to share any nuclear weaponry knowledge with any other country. This is not the case with Iran, an NPT signatory, which not only continuously threatens other nations (especially Israel) – it is considered likely to proliferate its nuclear weaponry knowledge to terrorist entities. Furthermore, it is clear that Israel's presumed nuclear capability is a factor only in terms of its perceived deterrence against concerted attacks by Iran and/or various Arab nations. Viewers should have been reminded of Iranian obstruction of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

November 23, 2014 – 9:26 AM


Guest: PATRICK CLAWSON, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Topic: Iran nuclear negotiations.

Caller: Wendell from Georgia (click here to view).

The facts are irrelevant to the legion of Washington Journal callers like “Wendell” who is antagonistic toward Israel and Jews, and obviously detached from reality when he states that “Iran should have a nuclear weapon.”

Caller: “A quick comment and question. It is a well-known fact that the cornerstone of American foreign policy is the protection of Israel. On this question of Iran, President Obama, early on his administration was labeled as anti-Semitic because he said ‘I must do what's in the best interest of America first.' Now, I believe that Iran should have a nuclear weapon because we want peace in the Middle East and then [with a nuclear-armed Iran] the Middle East would be based upon détente. The last thing is, I understand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says if he doesn't get what he wants out of this, he's going to come to America, go around the President and speak to the Congress and get the results that he wants.”

Guest: “If Iran were to get nuclear weapons, which would not be a good idea and also unfortunately so might a number of other countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey. Once that starts, there are many other countries which might want to rethink their nuclear options. Japan, Brazil and South Africa are on the record as saying maybe their countries should have nuclear weapons. I don't think we would live in a safer world if there are 20 countries around the world with nuclear weapons. So this control of the proliferation of nuclear weapons is very much in the U.S. interest. That's what's driven the concern about Iran's program.”

NOTE: It's a gross polemical distortion characteristic of such callers – that Israel is the primary concern of American foreign policy. The caller, like so many others of his ilk, is angry that the Israeli prime minister is so well received by the Congress. Among the factors involved in this are the strength of the prime minister's arguments and the great support that the American people have for Israel as is repeatedly shown by opinion polls.

November 23, 2014 – 9:28 AM


Guest: PATRICK CLAWSON, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Topic: Iran Nuclear negotiations.

Caller: Dan from Goose Creek, South Carolina (click here to view).

The facts are irrelevant to the legion of Washington Journal callers like “Dan from Goose Creek” obsessively antagonistic toward Israel and Jews.

Caller: “I had a response to Mr. Clausen's comment concerning how the family members of Americans killed by bomb material provided by the Iranians would disagree with that, but I would like, sir, to contend that the family members of the 32 naval servicemen that were killed by the state of Israel on the U.S.S. Liberty likewise would disagree with you today. Good day.”

Guest: “The Liberty is an episode in 1967 in which the Israeli state and the U.S. government had accepted was a mistaken bombing by the Israelis of a U.S. ship. Some still think Israel was responsible for a deliberate attack on that ship. Neither the Israeli nor the American governments agree.”

NOTE: Regarding the caller's false condemnation of Israel: Repeated official U.S. investigations have determined that Israel's attack on the Navy's U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War was a tragic accident. Six separate inquiries determined the attack to have been a "fog of war" mistake:

• C.I.A. report – June 13, 1967 – No malice; attack a mistake.
• U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry – June 18, 1967 – Mistaken identity.
• Report by presidential advisor Clark Clifford – July 18, 1967 – No evidence ship was known to be American.
• Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – 1979/1981 – No merit to claims attack was intentional.
• National Security Agency – 1981 – Mistaken identity.
• House Armed Services Committee – 1991/1992 – No support for claims attack was intentional.

November 23, 2014 – 9:56 AM


Topic: Open phones – any topic.

Caller: Jenny from Huntington, New York (click here to view).

Caller: “This is wonderful. I have tried calling many times over the years. I haven't been able to get through. I just want you to know that I appreciate C-SPAN tremendously. The Washington Journal is a little bit difficult because of the tremendous amount of Israel-bashing and racist antisemitism that comes over the airwaves. I know that you try to moderate fairly, but is there anything you can do about that? It's become unbearable. It's become intolerable. That's my question. You don't need to answer the question. It's rhetorical to some degree, but I just want you to know that it's a very difficult thing to see that go on.”

Host: “How would you fix it?”

Caller: “Say again, please.”

Host: “How would you fix it?”

Caller: “My goodness. I know it's difficult. I know we have freedom of speech issues. I know most of the guests generally handle the situation very diplomatically. And thank goodness for that. But just the idea that that negative, racist antisemitism is over the air and people get to hear it over and over and over again, I think that's a very negative thing. I don't know exactly how I would fix it. If I were a journalist, if that were my field of study, maybe with others, I could figure out some way. I doubt it. Or if I were a constitutional lawyer, maybe I could think of something. I don't know. But it seems that a line has to be drawn. Somebody should be able to say, okay. It seems that you have very bad feelings about Israel and about Jews. And we need to take that into consideration whenever you say something. It's just, they have to be called on it to some degree.”

Host Scully: “Sure. When that line is crossed, we do call on those people, especially when it becomes derogatory or profane language or using words that are inappropriate. But this is really a reflection on the people who are listening to the program and watching the program and we want to keep it an open forum. Of course, we are very mindful of your comments as well. So thanks for watching. We hope you continue to tune in, and we always appreciate your comments and feedback.”

NOTE: The caller's point is appropriate and important. But viewers should be aware of Scully's complicity in indulging racist antisemitic, anti-Israel phoners to Washington Journal as can be seen in numerous entries in CAMERA's C-SPAN Watch and other postings such as here, here, and here.

November 19, 2014 – 9:47 AM


Guest: Michael Hirsh, Politico magazine national editor.

In this response and the one below, Hirsh repeats common, superficial news media clichés regarding Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. These tend to excuse Palestinian bad faith and violence, negatively exaggerate and misconstrue Israeli actions but fail to analyze seriously the news being discussed. Coupled with C-SPAN host Greta Brawner, who's never demonstrated any particular knowledge of Arab-Israeli issues or journalistic skepticism regarding anti-Israel "conventional wisdom," this segment completely fails to inform viewers.
Topic: President Obama's National Security Team (click here to view segment).

Host: “Another issue that has been there for this administration and previous ones, is the Middle East, the peace process – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We are seeing violence again yesterday in Jerusalem at that synagogue. Secretary of State John Kerry quick to condemn the attacks and call on the Palestinian leader to do so as well. He did but then also blamed Israeli provocations. Where do you think this is headed?”

Guest: “The peace process was fairly moribund or even dead before this happened. This obviously strikes right at the heart of the worst Israeli fears, to have something like this happen. You have to remember in Jerusalem, there are not really any barriers. This was apparently conducted by Israeli Arabs, so suddenly there is a sense among Israelis, you know, we have the enemy within our midst, too, when before there was not a sense that you would get attacked there. Numerous questions are swirling around. What is Prime Minister Netanyahu, going to do? Will the retaliation be so severe that it will set off other rounds of violence? You did have Abbas, the Palestinian leader, condemning the attacks but you also had Hamas praising them. Again that reflects this continuing divide among the Palestinians that has allowed the Israelis to avoid negotiating peace because there is no real singular Palestinian leader with whom they can do so. It has taken something that was in a very bad place and made it even a worse place.”
NOTE: Hirsh says the Jerusalem synagogue massacre apparently was conducted by Israeli Arabs. It apparently was conducted by Arabs from eastern Jerusalem with residency permits but not Israeli citizenship. More importantly, instead of noting the drumbeat of anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli incitement from official Palestinian Authority sources which preceded the attack -- including praise for previous, recent deadly assaults on Israelis waiting at Jerusalem's light rail stops, encouragement of more such terrorism and demagogic allegations that al-Aqsa mosque was under siege -- Hirsh immediately wonders if Israeli retaliation wound "set off other rounds of violence." But there have not been "rounds of violence" in Jerusalem, there have been a series of vicious anti-Jewish attacks, encouraged and praised by officials and agencies of President Mahmoud Abbas' PA.

Hirsh says a division between Abbas, who eventually criticized the synagogue murders, and Hamas, which praised them, "has allowed the Israelis to avoid negotiating peace." In fact, Abbas condemned the murders only after being pressured to do so by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Meanwhile, Abbas was praising the east Jerusalem Arab killed after attempting to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick as a "martyr" in the defense of Palestinian rights and Muslim holy places. This reflect Abbas' previous maneuvering, grudgingly returning to talks with Israel but assuring their failure by refusing to consider recognizing Israel as the Jewish state while simultaneously demanding a "Palestinian state" and insisting on an Arab "right of return" not to "Palestine" but to Israel. The side that has avoided negotiating peace, including trying to circumvent a comprise settlement by going to the United Nations, in violation of previous commitments to direct talks, has been the Palestinian, not Israeli.

November 19, 2014 – 9:49 AM


Guest: Michael Hirsh, Politico magazine national editor. Hirsh has a history of unfairly condemning Israel.

Topic: President Obama's National Security Team.

Caller: Eileen from Jasper, Arkansas (click here to view).

Caller: “Israel is our homeland and our only real ally. I thought the president was going to support Israel. Evidently that is not what is happening.”

Host (terminates pro-Israel caller): “We are getting that feedback there.”

[Guest is quick to refute pro-Israel caller:]

Guest: “To a large extent, Obama has gotten a bad rap on this question. You have to separate out the issues. He has not gotten along with [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been provocatively sort of expanding settlements in the last six years, the same time as President Obama has been trying to kick off a peace process, which has failed again and again. It's been very frustrating. But at the same time, the Obama administration has stepped up military aid to Israel to an unprecedented degree -- more than any other president has -- so even though it is true that there are a lot of people, particularly in American Jewish communities, who question Obama's commitments, in fact it has been pretty steady.”

NOTE: Hirsh recites conventional press wisdom, claiming Prime Minister Netanyahu "has been provocatively sort of expanding settlements in the last six years ..." No Israeli settlements have been expanded. There has been new construction inside the boundaries of existing Israeli communities in the West Bank and announcements of plans for more, but not "provocatively expanding settlements" in area. New construction in and expansion of some Jewish neighborhoods and mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem has taken place – and so has building by Arabs in Arab neighborhoods and movement to parts of "Jewish west Jerusalem."

Hirsh seems oblivious to criticisms of the Obama administration's early focus on a final Israeli-Palestinian agreement, to be reached in a short time, as premature if not itself destabilizing. Given the Hamas-Fatah division on the Palestinian side, and Abbas' own unwillingness to negotiate and compromise on final status issues, U.S. efforts, according to many observers, may have driven both parties into opposite corners. “The traction required to sustain this process, to weather all of the bad behaviors on each side, isn't there … The notion that the peace process collapsed because of settlement activity is a willful distortion of reality …” (Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank). As to "frustration" over failure to negotiate peace, Hirsh avoids reference to Palestinian rejection in 2000, 2001 and 2008 of offers of a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem state in exchange for peace with Israel as a Jewish state.

Hirsh either is unaware of or ignores reports that the Obama administration, in an unprecedented action, reportedly halted military resupply to Israel during the summer's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This after imposing a one-day ban on U.S. commercial flights to Israel's major international airport during the fighting or criticism of Israel for not doing enough to avoid non-combatant casualties when it repeatedly and extensively warned civilians to avoid pending attacks. Hirsh makes no mention of the fact that Israel, like many members of Congress, has viewed administration positions toward Iran in discussions about Tehran's presumed nuclear weapons program, with skepticism. The "unprecedented" military aid he refers to, apparently American support for Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-short range missile program, was not only the work of the administration but also that of Congress.

This thin and off-target conversation between Hirsh and host Brawner ill-serves Washington Journal's viewers.

October 27, 2014 – 7:05 AM

Host: BILL SCANLAN (,, viewer@c-

Topic: Is a mandatory Ebola quarantine for health care workers returning from West Africa necessary?

Caller: Melissa from Santa Maria, California (click here to view).

Off-topic phoner "Melissa" is another of the numerous callers to Washington Journal who hate Jews just because they are Jews and of course – these phoners hate the Jewish nation.

Caller: "I'd like to say I'm an antisemite and I don't like Jewish people. I think Israel is lying ..."

Host (interrupting): "Melissa, what did you say – you didn't like ...?"

Caller (interrupting): "I'm an antisemite. I don't like Jewish people."

Host (terminating caller): "Let's go to Valerie in South Plainfield, New Jersey."

NOTE: In addition to terminating caller, host Scanlan should have repudiated the hate rant. Scanlan also should have asked the call-screener what transpired between the caller and screener. Is there really a viable call-screening process at Washington Journal?

October 25, 2014 – 7:26 AM

Host: JOHN MCARDLE (,, Guest host McArdle is a reporter for E & E Publishing which is mainly concerned with energy and climate policy.

Topic: Election 2014 – Who is your candidate?

Caller: Scott from Youngstown, Ohio (click here to view).

Lunatic-fringe, conspiracy-mongering antisemitic callers, such as “Scott,” are always welcome at C-SPAN's supposed public service program, Washington Journal.

Caller: “I'm not going to vote for either. It's a no-vote because the Federal Reserve central bank owns both parties. We are being charged interest on funds created out of thin air and it's a big fraud. People need to wake up. You just mentioned Bloomberg. He's a Zionist traitor to America. Israel's foreign policy is U.S. foreign policy. Let's let the cat out of the bag here.”

[Regarding the reference to former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, a Jew -- host said at 7:23 AM: “On the issue of gun violence in America, an issue that has become a campaign issue. Here's a story from the New York Times today. A new TV ad puts the focus on guns. Michael Bloomberg is injecting $1.7 million into the closely contested race for governor in Connecticut, with an ad drawing attention to the far-reaching gun control bill signed by Governor Dana in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School… The money is coming from Mr. Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC, which plans to spend $25 million backing moderate candidates of both parties before the midterm elections.”]

Host: “That was Scott in Youngstown, Ohio. This morning, we're asking about election 2014…”

NOTE: The caller tarred Bloomberg as a "Zionist traitor." In this context – familiar for Washington Journal viewers – "Zionist" is a euphemism for Jew. "Traitor" is a slander. And the canard that "Israel's foreign policy is U.S. foreign policy" is a staple of anti-Zionist, antisemitic conspiracy theories. The failures of both the call-screener and host (to repudiate the caller) indicate that C-SPAN will continue to welcome the many such disconnected-from-reality callers to Washington Journal who parrot the same anti-Jewish script and who dislike and defame only two countries in the entire world – America and Israel.

October 22, 2014 – 9:26 AM


Guest: Matthew Cooper, Newsweek contributing editor; previously wrote for The New Republic, National Journal, U.S. News & World Report.

Topic: 2014 Elections and White Voters.

Caller: John from Pennsylvania (click here to view).

Typically, another of the numerous fringe anti-Israel Washington Journal callers singles out only Israel – of all the countries in the world – many of them quite problematic – to disparage. Typically, neither guest nor host questions it.

Caller: “The question you just asked a few minutes ago about why the white vote is abandoning Obama. From the get-go, I mean I can go down a list of thirty things from not doing anything about the war criminals we had in before, to [Timothy] Geithner and [Larry] Summers (former government officials), to bowing down or kowtowing to Israel at every turn, to waffling on numerous things. I'm a white independent. I used to be a Democrat. Obama is basically – I don't know what he is – but he's pretty near useless.”

Host: “Did you vote for him, John, the first time in 2008?”

Caller: “The first time around. But then I voted for Jull Stein (third party candidate) the second time. That was more of a protest vote because she's Independent and we have this bi-party – two-party monopoly, basically, that doesn't give anybody else a chance.”

Host: “Okay, alright. Let's hear your thoughts [addressing the guest]?”

Guest: “I think, just building on what John said, the perception among white working-class voters -- obviously not all of them – is that the President's policies don't affect them. That really hurting the Democrats. The still negative perception of Obamacare has been very hard on Democrats. It is perhaps not as bad as it might have been a year ago with the Web site problems now that more people are getting health insurance. But there's an overwhelmingly negative perception of it. That is hurting Democrats. This idea that Obama has not done anything. That is very hurtful.”

NOTE: Typically, in this supposed public service program, a caller voicing extremist views is unchallenged. What does the obsessed-with-Israel caller mean by “… bowing down or kowtowing to Israel at every turn…?” What “turn(s)”? The question is not asked. Rather, bizarrely, the guest lends an air of credibility to the lunatic-fringe caller, (“…just building on what John said…)”

October 17, 2014 – 9:45 AM

Host: PETER SLEN (,,

Topic: Open phones/any topic.

[Previous segment's guest, Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl (Ret.), talked about modern warfare and efforts by the U.S. and the international community to fight Islamic State militants. Nagl, considered an expert in counterinsurgency, was a military assistant to the U.S. deputy secretary of Defense (2004-2006).]

Caller: Peter from Valley Cottage, New York (click here to view).

Host characteristically allows lengthy conspiracy mongering rant (two minutes) before belatedly cutting off antisemitic, anti-Israel caller.

Caller: “Unfortunately, I came in late on your interview with Lieutenant Colonel Nagl. I agree with what he said about the second Gulf War, that it was an unnecessary war. I agree 100 percent. You guys had on Ambassador John Negroponte and someone else who both stated oil was not the reason why we invaded Iraq. For many years I've had people argue with me that that was the reason we went in. I don't believe that. What I do believe is that President Bush invaded Iraq -- used the 9/11 attacks to go into Iraq because I believe he was pressured by evangelical Christians and the Jewish lobby to take Saddam out. Because, if you recall, during the 1990's, Saddam was paying suicide bombers $25,000 to their families to blow themselves up in Israel. A recent analogy would be the way Netanyahu before ISIS took off here was – uh-uh-uh-uh – Mr. Netanyahu was coming here all the time and his associates to convince the United States to bomb Iran. So, I believe that is why President Bush invaded Iraq, because the weapons of mass destruction. There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq either.”

Host: “Alright, Peter, we got the point.”

So, host Peter Slen finally "got the point" that was already obvious at least a minute earlier. And "getting the point" was hardly sufficient. A refutation was in order; it was not "evangelical Christians and the Jewish lobby" that initiated or approved the U.N. resolutions supporting actions against Saddam Hussein taken by the U.S.-led coalition. The host's failure to supply even minimal context was glaring.

October 17, 2014 – 9:51 AM

Host: PETER SLEN (,,

Topic: Open phones/any topic.

[Previous segment's guest, Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl (Ret.), talked about modern warfare and efforts by the U.S. and the international community to fight Islamic State militants. Nagl, considered an expert in counterinsurgency, was a military assistant to the U.S. deputy secretary of Defense (2004-2006).]

Caller: Pete from Windsor, Connecticut (click here to view).

[Host Slen only mildly questions caller's baseless, preposterous anti-Israel claims. This is standard operating procedure for Washington Journal, which claims to be a public service program.]

Caller: “You just had John Nagl on. He has no credibility. He was military assistant to neocon Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense. I just want to say we will never win anything in the Middle East as long as AIPAC and Israel dictate our foreign policy.”
Host Slen not only fails to recognize and act on the caller's use of "neocon" as disparaging code for American Jews and other supporters of close U.S.-Israel relations, but by his follow-up question also encourages the caller to continue in the same vein. The allegation that Nagl, who helped Gen. David Petraeus devise successful U.S. counter-insurgency strategy, "has no credibility," would have been a red flag to a competent moderator.

Host: “You think AIPAC and Israel dictate our foreign policy?”

Caller: “Absolutely. Our eight percent approved Congress is owned by Israel and AIPAC.”

Host: “Where do you get your information, Pete?”

Caller: “That's just common knowledge. Anybody with half a brain knows it. That is the problem with this country, the people don't have half a brain.”

Host has no response. Instead, he encourages the caller with not one but two weaker-than-softball follow-up questions. A moderator worth watching would have terminated the phone-in after the fourth sentence with something like, "Thanks for your Jewish conspiracy view of the way Washington supposedly works." Instead, he sits still for unsubstantiated nonsense.

October 7, 2014 – 8:28 AM


Guest: CHRIS CHOCOLA, President of Club for Growth (conservative political advocacy group), former U.S. congressman (Republican, 2003-2007) from Indiana's second district.

Topic: Conservative Groups and the 2014 Elections.

Caller: Deborah from Manassas, Virginia (click here to view).

Defaming Israel is always acceptable on C-SPAN 's Washington Journal. Neither host nor guest challenge caller's malicious misinformation. This typifies the program's journalistic malpractice when Israel and Jews are concerned.

Caller: “Please do not cut me off. Let me make my point. First of all, Social Security is solvent. We just need to take the cap off of the rich people. They can just keep paying in for every dollar they have got like the rest of us. But that is not my point. My question is, why are we paying $3 billion a year to Israel when they are committing war crimes and not only that, they have the most billionaires and millionaires on the planet. Why are we doing that?”

BRAWNER: “Okay. Do you agree with foreign aid for Israel?”

CHOCOLA: “First, let's start with Social Security. If you take the cap on earnings where people pay their entire earnings above that limit, it sounds really good, but that will not solve our problem. The math does not work. You could do that, but it will not solve the problem. Again, [related to caller's vilification of Israel] we don't do foreign policy and a lot of foreign aid is related to foreign policy. So, we do not generally take a position on that.”

[There's no further comment on caller's rant by either host or guest.]

NOTE: Caller "Deborah's" allegations needed to be spotlighted and refuted for the antisemitic conspiracy-theory bigotry they were. Israel, a high-tax country with a population of 8.5 million, has "the most billionaires and millionaires on the planet"? More than the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates or Singapore, for example? The charge, and the caller, are detached from reality. But C-SPAN's host, as so often is the case regarding anti-Jewish or anti-Israel claims, lets it pass.

As to the inflammatory falsehood that Israel commits war crimes, no evidence is alleged by the caller nor demanded by the program host. If the assertion was in regard to the summer's war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, each of the thousands of terrorist rockets launched at Israel was a war crime; Israel's efforts to limit civilian casualties – including warnings by leaflets, phone calls and text messages of imminent attacks – went beyond that of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this obvious, relevant point is not made by C-SPAN's host.

"No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF in order to minimize damage. The U.S. and the U.K. are careful, but not as much as Israel," Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge just as he had said about a previous such operation in his testimony before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: "During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war."


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