NBC Continues Disturbing Pattern with “Nurses” Program and More

NBCUniversal is a major media corporation with divisions in broadcasting, cable, and digital; in news, entertainment and sports. MSNBC and NBC are both divisions of NBCUniversal. CAMERA has detailed how both news and entertainment sides have pushed the falsehood that Israel is denying the corona virus vaccine, either to Palestinians or to its own non-Jewish citizens. On February 23, CAMERA wrote:

Michael Che’s bigoted slur, delivered in [Saturday Night Live’s] satirical news segment, brings into focus a false smear repeatedly propagated in NBC’s real news coverage: Israel is allegedly guilty of a moral and legal crime by not supplying Palestinians with the coronavirus vaccine.

That’s a libelous narrative that NBCUniversal’s various broadcast and digital platforms have pushed for weeks by glossing over the Oslo Accords, mischaracterizing the Geneva Accords and Israel’s status in the Palestinian territories, and inserting gratuitous, context-less observations about low vaccine rates among Palestinians in completely unrelated coverage about the pandemic in Israel.

Yet, on February 24, the slur was repeated again on the ReidOut With Joy Reid, who asked her guest, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain: “Israel is doing a great job vaccinating its own folks, its own people, but the Palestinians are not being allowed to take advantage of that, that they are restricted because obviously Israel is the occupying authority and controls anything that moves in and out of Gaza and the West Bank. So if they’re not offering vaccinations to Palestinians, there’s no way for Palestinians to get it. Is this something that President Biden plans to bring up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?”

Reid’s claim that “there’s no way” for the Palestinians to obtain the vaccine is bizarre, considering that Palestinian officials stated in December that they had arranged to receive four million doses of the vaccine, and that Reuters reported on February 2 that Palestinians began vaccinating their health care workers. Reuters reported, “Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila, kicking off the vaccination programme, said that within days her ministry would receive 5,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and 37,000 doses from the COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme.”

Meanwhile, a television program on NBC’s entertainment side has veered into raw antisemitism. An episode of the Canadian-produced program “Nurses” which aired on February 9 featured offensive caricatures of Hasidic Jews, portraying them as both bigoted and anti-science. As first detailed by the Jew in the City blog, when one of the characters is told by a doctor he will need a bone graft, he responds, “you want to put a dead leg inside of me?” His father says, “A dead goyim leg, from anyone – an Arab, a woman.”

As Allison Josephs wrote on Jew in the City, “the idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled side locks and black hats.” Josephs continues:

But wait – there’s more. We learn that Israel’s father would prefer for Israel to not get the surgery and not be able to walk properly again, so he won’t commit the “sin” of ever playing basketball. Israel resigns himself to refusing medical help. Why? “Because it’s God who heals what He creates.” No – that is how Christian Science works! Religious Jews believe that God heals with the help of the best medicine of our times.

NBC has pulled the episode of Nurses from its online viewing platform and has said that it won’t air it again, but has yet to apologize for this or for its SLN broadcast, or to correct many of the false claims made in its news divisions. 

UPDATE: The Algemeiner reports that the Canadian companies that produced Nurses – Toronto’s ICF Films, Entertainment One and Corus Entertainment – have apologized for the offensive content. NBC, however, has yet to do so.