- Thursday, October 12, 2023

The civilized world has been in shock since the vicious and bloody attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza last Saturday. Murderers descended from paragliders into a crowded music festival, and terrorists paraded the corpses of innocent Israelis, including young women, through the streets. 

Reports of abductions, mass executions and beheadings of babies keep flooding in. Israel is responding and would be justified in pounding Gaza until there is nowhere for any surviving terrorists to hide.

It has long been fashionable on the left to bash Israel and champion the Palestinian cause, so this moment presented a challenge to the U.S. news media. While many filed strong reporting, others couldn’t resist defending the terrorists.

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviewed an Israeli mother whose two sons were abducted by Hamas and incredibly tried to evoke empathy for the terrorists by asking, “What are your feelings about the attacks against Gaza right now?”

The mother angrily replied, “I can’t be sympathetic to animal human beings — well, they’re not really human beings — who came into my house, broke everything, stole everything, took my children from their bedrooms and took them to the Gaza Strip.”

It’s unclear what answer Ms. Mitchell was looking for.

Her MSNBC colleague Ali Velshi complained that condemnations of Hamas lacked “nuance” and failed to acknowledge that Israel probably deserved the atrocities it suffered. He also worried that Hamas is seen as “exclusively the bad guys” in the situation.

At one point in the week, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which often aligns with the left, demanded of the network, “Who’s writing the scripts? Hamas?”

A few days after the attack, NBC News fretted in a post on X (Twitter) that Gaza’s “sole power plant will run out of fuel within hours, leaving the territory without electricity after Israel cut off supplies.”

Apparently, when hundreds of your civilians have been murdered, the last thing you’re supposed to do is turn the lights off at the murderers’ headquarters. 

At CNN, Fareed Zakaria welcomed Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian National Initiative and noted that Hamas had targeted women, children and the elderly. Mr. Barghouti denied it.

“I think Hamas mainly attacked military establishments, military installations, and most of the people they have arrested and taken as war prisoners are military people,” he said.

Mr. Zakaria not only failed to push back on the lie but also tacitly agreed with the Hamas point of view, saying it all would “strengthen right-wing forces in Israel” and that “presumably the life of Palestinians in the West Bank will get harder – more checkpoints, more searches.”

As bad as that was, others were clear about the horrors perpetrated.

On CNN, Jake Tapper referred to “the barbarism, the terrorism committed by Hamas,” leading into a segment about an elderly Israeli woman who had been murdered, noting that the terrorists “recorded video of her dying and uploaded it to her Facebook account” using her own phone.

“And then set her house on fire,” he intoned.

In different remarks, Mr. Tapper observed that “these last few days have been a real eye-opening period for a lot of people — a lot of Democrats, a lot of progressives — in terms of antisemitism on the left.”

Also on CNN with Mr. Tapper, correspondent Nic Robertson struggled for composure as he recounted the grisly scenes.

“I’m trying to be professional, and I’m trying to tell a story and bear witness to the barbarity and the callous, cruel, cold-blooded, calculated killing that Hamas was ripping on those poor, innocent young people,” he reported.

Abby Phillip, also with CNN, reposted a video on X from the i24News channel in which a reporter described the beheading of infants by Hamas terrorists.

“Babies with their heads cut off,” Ms. Phillip wrote. “This is unbearable. But don’t look away.”

CBS News had it right when correspondent Holly Williams reported from Israel that the violence against Israel was “difficult to even think about” and that “residents were murdered wherever the gunmen found them.”

And even Playboy magazine turned up with common sense when it fired content creator Mia Khalifa, a former porn star, after she referred to the Hamas thugs in an X post as “freedom fighters,” while requesting that they turn their phones horizontally (for a wider shot) when filming their murder sprees.

So, it was good to see plenty in the media portraying the attacks as exactly what they were – outrageously brutal acts of terrorism. But it’s a terribly discouraging fact that there are too many who still subscribe to the “Israel had it coming” way of thinking and once again blame Jews for their own murders.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and the Vice President for Communication Strategy at National Public Affairs, a full-service political consulting firm. 

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