Glenn Greenwald reports on how NBC News has withdrawn from Gaza Ayman Mohyeldin, its reporter in the region who covered the killing by Israeli planes of four Gazan boys aged 9 to 11 as they played soccer on a beach in broad daylight. The reporter had been playing soccer with the boys just minutes before their deaths and posted chilling details.
Update: Here is an NBC News report on the bombing.
Despite this powerful first-hand reporting – or perhaps because of it – Mohyeldin was nowhere to be seen on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast with Brian Williams. Instead, as Media Bistro’s Jordan Chariton noted, NBC curiously had Richard Engel – who was in Tel Aviv, and had just arrived there an hour or so earlier – “report” on the attack. Charlton wrote that “the decision to have Engel report the story for ‘Nightly’ instead of Mohyeldin angered some NBC News staffers.”
Indeed, numerous NBC employees, including some of the network’s highest-profile stars, were at first confused and then indignant over the use of Engel rather than Mohyeldin to report the story. But what they did not know, and what has not been reported until now, is that Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.
Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth. As a result, neocon and “pro-Israel” websites have repeatedly attacked him as a “Hamas spokesman” and spouting “pro-Hamas rants.”
Last week, as he passed over the border from Israel, he said while reporting that “you can understand why some human rights organizations call Gaza ‘the world’s largest outdoor prison,’”; he added: “One of the major complaints and frustrations among many people is that this is a form of collective punishment. You have 1.7 million people in this territory, now being bombarded, with really no way out.”
It is shocking that NBS News did not feature a news item about these deaths by its own reporter who was right there. Philip Weiss has more on this story, suggesting that Mohyeldin had angered the US establishment by reporting skeptically that the US State Department had blamed Hams for the deaths of the four boys by an Israeli plane. He links to a video showing the mutilated bodies of the four children scattered on the sand but I should warn you that it is highly disturbing.
The Daily Show came back from a two-week break and opening segment focused on the crisis in Gaza, as well as on the immigration issue and the CDC. It is one of the few mainstream media to point out that the people of Gaza are essentially trapped in an open-air prison under siege from Israel where they have no escape from the periodic bombardment by the Israeli military that in the latest case has killed over 220 people, most of them civilians. He briefly shows Ayman Mohyeldin when comparing how different the situation is in Israel and Gaza.
(This clip aired on July 14, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)