August 3, 2014

Scarborough Unfair: His Attempt at Damage Control Demonstrates Success of Hamas Censorship

On Thursday, as Connor Williams at NewsBusters reported, Joe Scarborough at MSNBC “ripped Israel for their ‘indiscriminate’ attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future.” Specifically, Scarborough said that “this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine,” and “we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen.”

On Friday, as Laura Flint at NewsBusters noted, Scarborough attempted to walk back some of what he said, insulting his objectors by saying he would us “simple talk that simple minded people can understand.” He was apparently so proud of what he said that he had it printed virtually verbatim at the Politico late Friday afternoon, complete with an emphatic, condescending title. Let’s revisit the screed to make a few important points (produced in full because it has already been broadcast; bolds and numbered tags, used so Joe can better follow “simple-minded” points, are mine):

On Gaza: Simple talk for the simple-minded

Since a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little politicians and partisan barkers in the public square, I did not expect the usual suspects to have the intellectual capacity [1] to grasp a statement that didn’t neatly line up with their political punch list for the do’s and don’ts of mindless political posturing.

Let me start with simple talk that even the most simple minded can understand. [1]

America will stand with Israel, who is America’s strongest ally in the region.

Hamas is a terrorist organization, [2] who started this confrontation by launching a thousand missile attacks on the people of Israel.

Israel uses their missiles to protect its people.

Hamas uses their people to protect its missiles.

UN condemnations matter little since they have long been a hotbed of anti-Israeli sentiment. What matters most now is that Israel’s Arab neighbors in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan support the Jewish state over the Islamic terrorist outfit.

Turkey and Qatar have regrettably chosen to be backers of Hamas – but they are practically alone in the region.

It is also true that the United States has less leverage to move both sides to a peaceful solution because of Israel’s longtime distrust of President Obama. Lining up with Turkey and Qatar in peace talks does not help bridge that divide.

But in international diplomacy as in domestic political life, we must follow the wisdom of William F. Buckley and take the world as we find it — and not how we wish it to be. And the reality on the ground in Gaza is clear to all.

The prolonged killing of children and women in Palestinian territories will only serve to weaken Israel and strengthen Hamas. [3] Tragically, this comes at a time when Hamas leadership was on the run, hated at home and isolated abroad. Every day that goes by with images of children being pulled out of the rubble of bombed-out schools, hospitals and public markets is a day that only makes Hamas stronger and threatens Israel’s long-term security. [3]

That is bad for Israel, bad for America and bad for Middle East peace.

And blindly supporting Israel’s politicians when their actions may be strengthening Hamas [4] is no way to show our support or friendship.


[1] — What a warmup. I am told that in “The Right Path,” the book Scarborough wrote when he entertained thoughts of seeking the presidency of the United States in 2016, he stated that, in NewsMax’s words, “the GOP must re-embrace the principled pragmatism of Ronald Reagan, who Scarborough says kept his core conservative values while reaching out to independent and Democratic voters to create a new political majority.” Meanwhile, in his day job, as seen here, he demeans anyone and everyone who dares to disagree with him.

[2] — Unfortunately, the previous day, Scarborough said:

As much as we all hate Hamas, what is going to replace Hamas is going to be much worse. It’s going to be a radical Islamist group instead of just power hungry corrupt people that despise Israel.

Scarborough was clearly excluding Hamas, a declared terrorist organization, from the category known as “radical Islamist groups.” Scarborough did not acknowledge this mistake in his defiant Friday rebuttal, let alone apologize for it.

[3] — Sorry to bring up this “simple-minded” point, Joe, but some of “the prolonged killing of women and children” can be blamed on errant Hamas rockets, which leads to a larger point, which follows.

[4] — The reason Hamas is being strengthened is that a) it’s ruthlessly censoring press coverage in Gaza; b) press outlets which know that their reports from Gaza are the results of this censorship are overwhelmingly failing to inform their readers, listeners, and viewers of that situation; c) commentators and pundits like Joe Scarborough are allowing unbalanced reports and photos which emphasize human suffering and ignore terrorist acts to influence their outlook.

Some recent specifics (links are in original):

Journalists Threatened, Given Talking Points About How To Talk About Hamas, Gaza

Freedom of the Press is certainly not the reality for journalists in Gaza covering the Hamas – Israeli conflict. Reporters have been given specific guidelines of what they may or may not cover or photograph. Then, Hamas spells out precisely how they are to spin the stories.

In other words, the world is being played by Hamas.

How many photographs have come out of the Gaza strip of Hamas militants or jihadists who have been injured or killed in the war? It is difficult, if not impossible, to find even one. The photos are all of “civilians,” but that is not because no militants have been killed. It is a calculated move by Hamas to gain public sympathy in the propaganda war, a war that is every bit as real as the battle with rockets and gunfire.

This is in keeping with a specific guideline from the Hamas interior ministry, reports the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Investigative journalists are forbidden to do their job and ascertain whether a person killed in Gaza is a civilian or a Hamas militant. All deaths are to be reported as “innocent civilian” deaths

… When journalists dare to document things like the firing of rockets by Hamas from civilian areas, they face intimidate and threats by Hamas. Some have had equipment taken away, been bullied, or even been interrogated by Hamas leaders, reports The Times of Israel.

… According to Tablet Magazine, “What Hamas has done, therefore, is to turn Shifa Hospital into a Hollywood sound-stage filled with real, live war victims who are used to score propaganda points, while the terrorists inside the hospital itself are erased from photographs and news accounts through a combination of pressure and threats, in order to produce the stories that Hamas wants.”

… According to the Times of Israel, there have been a number of confirmed incidents “involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances — gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing — and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away.”

… Perhaps enough truth will get past the Hamas propaganda war and reach journalists around the world who still believe that it is their responsibility to speak truth.

Not if the people on the other end assume the role of naive stooge as Joe Scarborough has.

What Scarborough is demonstrating is that Hamas’s censorship regime is often achieving its desired effect.

How “simple-minded” do you have to be to allow yourself to get sucked in like that, Joe? Answer: Very.

Cross-posted at


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