On Fox News, the Fix is In Against Israel when Trey Yingst is Reporting

While Fox News opinion hosts are often very fair – or even sympathetic – towards Israel, the reporters Fox News sends to Jerusalem are a different story, often going out of their way to bash Israel as they seemingly mimic their more senior colleagues at the New York Times or the BBC.

With former Fox Jerusalem reporters like Reena Ninan or Conor Powell the Palestinian narrative always took center stage.

Unfortunately the same seems to be true with the current reporter Trey Yingst. Consider his interview with Mediate, where he explained that since Palestinians in Gaza face serious hardships, they have nothing to lose by demonstrating against Israel:

Residents in Gaza live with four hours of electricity a day, limited access to clean water and high rates of unemployment, so many people there have nothing to lose.

But the shortages of electricity, water and jobs in Gaza are all due to its Hamas rulers, who steal so much of the international aid sent to Gaza and use it to attack Israel. Cement meant to rebuild or repair buildings, along with the necessary fuel, for example, has been diverted to building attack tunnels into Israel. As for water, Gaza sits on a large aquifer – it is essentially an oasis – but the Hamas rulers and before them the Palestinian Authority did nothing to stop massive illegal over-pumping, allowing sea water to infiltrate and foul the water. Neither did the Palestinian rulers of Gaza do anything to treat sewage, instead allowing it to collect and percolate through the porous soil into the aquifer, further fouling the water.

So if the Palestinians have nothing to lose, it’s not because of Israel, it’s because of their own rulers. Perhaps Yingst should ask them why they’re not attacking and overthrowing Hamas.

And just as misguided as Yingst’s Mediate interview was his recent Nov. 26 report on Israel and Gaza. Covering another of the seemingly daily Palestinian “day of rage,” the Fox reporter told viewers:

YINGST: The Israeli military firing tear gas and in some cases live ammunition at Palestinian demonstrators gathered along the city entrance to the West Bank town of Ramallah.

But the video belied Yingst’s description, as the Palestinian “demonstrators” are shown demonstrating their skill at hurling dangerous projectiles at Israelis using large sling shots.

Contrary to Yingst, they were not demonstrators, they were violent rioters. That Yingst calls them demonstrators is telling.

As to Yingst’s claims of “live ammunition,” Israeli troops usually employ rubber bullets and other generally non-lethal crowd control measures, unless the “demonstrators” become excessively violent.

At the end of his report Yingst disputes a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, claiming there is no evidence for the US official’s assertion:

YINGST: … Secretary Pompeo [claimed] that the announcement could actually help to find political solutions for the conflict. There is no evidence to support his claim. Fox News has spoken with all of the major Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Yet when reporting Palestinian assertions, Yingst evinced no such skepticism, never saying there is no evidence for anything that the Palestinians claim. For example, here’s Yingst on the legality of Israeli settlements:

YINGST: Palestinians … protested against President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo [re US stance on legality of settlements], saying the Americans are now supporting a violation of international law.

Yingst failed to tell his audience that there is strong evidence against this claim, instead immediately presenting a similar statement by Palestinian official Mustafa Barghouti:

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: We are here to say that this decision makes the American administration a participant with Israel in violating international law.

Once again Yingst failed to inform viewers that Barghouti’s statement might not be accurate.

And there’s more to Yingst’s bias than his one-sided “fact-checking.” Referring again to settlements and Jerusalem, Yingst tells viewers that:

YINGST: The American government recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recognizing settlements are both non-starters for Palestinian leadership when it comes to the Trump administration’s deal of the century peace plan.

In fact, contrary to Yingst, these issues have not been non-starters for the Palestinians. In the peace deal brokered by President Bill Clinton in 2000, which was accepted by both the Palestinian negotiating team and the Israelis, Israel would have had its capital in a part of Jerusalem and the large settlement blocs would have been annexed to Israel, with land from Israel going to the Palestinians in return. The deal was endorsed by the Saudis and other Arab countries, and nixed only by Yasir Arafat, who returned home and started the second Intifada.

As for Palestinian reaction to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump did not specify any borders, so there would still be the possibility of Palestinian control over some part of Jerusalem too.

Beyond this, has Yingst ever termed any Palestinian demands or positions non-starters for Israel, such as Palestinian support for deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis, or the Palestinian Authority’s failure to disarm militias like Hamas and Islamic Jihad as called for in the Oslo Accords?

Considering his inexperience, does Yingst even know that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were supposed to be disarmed?

And that is really the heart of the matter. The fundamental problem with Fox News’s Israel coverage is the long-time bureau chief, Eli Fastman, who never seems to appear on camera, but always tries to tilt the coverage towards the Palestinian narrative.

With experienced and smart reporters like Jennifer Griffin and Mike Tobin, Fastman’s influence was blunted, but with Ninan and Powell, and apparently Trey Yingst, Fastman has his way, much to the detriment of Fox News and its audience.

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