There has been another defenestration of a television-based political commentator for touching the only real electrified third rail remaining in reporting what passes for the news. Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor of Media Studies and Urban Education, who is a regular political commentator on CNN, was fired for what he said in a speech at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which took place last Wednesday at the United Nations. Hill called for a “free Palestine from river to the sea,” which CNN considered grounds for terminating his contract.
As ever, the Israelis were quick to jump on the bandwagon with their New York Consul General Dani Dayan denouncing Hill as a “racist, a bigot, [and] an anti-Semite.” He noted that Hill is under contract both with Temple University and CNN, implying that he should be punished by being fired, and called the remarks “appalling.” To no avail, Hill responded
“I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice. I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech.”
Hill was fired by CNN within 24 hours. The message is clear. You can criticize Christianity, Muslims, white males, Donald Trump and the American government at will and you can even criticize blacks or sexual alphabet soups if you are clever in how you do it, but never, never go after Jews or Israel even indirectly if you want to keep your job. One recalls the fate of Rick Sanchez, a CNN anchor who was fired in September 2010 one day after he complained about how Jon Stewart and others in the Jewish mafia that runs the media treat Hispanics, saying
“Yeah, very powerless people. He’s such a minority. I mean, you know, please. What—are you kidding? I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?”
Sanchez was forced to publicly grovel for his “inartful” comments and even had to write a letter of apology to the monstrous Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Far worse, he also had to endure two hours of counseling with “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach. Sanchez subsequently drifted through low level jobs for a number of years, but he is now a news anchor with RT America.
Also in 2010, Octavia Nasr, a Lebanese-American journalist who had been CNN’s Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs for over 20 years was immediately fired after she tweeted “sad to hear of the passing” of Lebanese cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlalah. Fadlalah’s only crime was that he had been demonized by Israel and the neocons as a “spiritual mentor” of Hezbollah. Nasr’s only crime is that she granted the admittedly controversial dead man some respect.
To be sure, CNN is pro-Israeli in its reporting and, more important, in terms of choosing what not to report. Its lead political anchor is Wolf Blitzer, a former American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) employee, who speaks Hebrew and has lived in Israel. Like most major American mainstream media outlets, CNN has numerous Jewish employees working to select, edit and produce the news stories that actually air, well placed to manage what does finally go out to the public.
Reports critical of Israel or Jews are not welcome anywhere in the U.S. national media, which is why Israel gets away with slaughtering unarmed Gazans using army snipers. I note a recent bizarre though interesting story that appeared in the British media and was not picked up by the U.S. mainstream at all. The story detailed how the leadership of the European Jewish Congress is seeking the insertion of “warning messages” in both Christian and Muslim holy texts. In a document entitled “An End to Antisemitism,” which was released last week, it was recommended that “Translations of the New Testament, the Qur’an and other Christian or Muslim literatures need marginal glosses, and introductions that emphasize continuity with Jewish heritage of both Christianity and Islam and warn readers about antisemitic passages in them. While some efforts have been made in this direction in the case of Christianity, these efforts need to be extended and made consistent in both religions.” One wonders when the same body will be recommending that the nastier bits of the Torah and Talmud be “glossed” to deal with the numerous slaughters of conquered peoples as well as slurs on Jesus Christ and assertions that Jews have`1 the right to treat non-Jews as no better than livestock?
Some in the media might argue that the same set of rules about not offending one’s religious beliefs would apply to all religions, not just to Judaism, but it is difficult to find evidence of any even handedness, particularly when Islam is being discussed by commentators who are completely ignorant of the tenets of the religion. Nor are there any apparent limits in making ridiculous statements on CNN if one is disparaging Arabs, most particularly if they are Palestinians. CNN paid commentator former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has claimed absurdly that Palestinians do not even exist, which many Israelis believe, without any admonishment. Consider the outrage if he were to say that Jewish Israelis do not exist, which may actually be much closer to the truth according to some geneticists.
And what about when a Jew is attacking Christians? Far from there being any consequences, there is a demonstrable double standard as Christian beliefs appear to be fair game in some circles. Dana Jacobson currently co-anchor for the weekend edition of CBS national morning news experienced an apparently alcohol driven meltdown at a sports roast that she was helping emcee in January 2008 when she was working for ESPN.
Belting down vodka and cursing “like a sailor,” Jacobson went after Catholics in particular and said “Fuck Notre Dame,” “Fuck touchdown Jesus” and “Fuck Jesus” a number of times before she was hauled off the stage. Her after-the-fact apology consisted of written concession that she had demonstrated a “poor lack of judgment.” And her punishment by ESPN also demonstrated a “lack of judgment” when the company spokesman Josh Krulewitz reported that “Her actions and comments were inappropriate and we’ve dealt with it.” Dealing with it apparently consisted of a one-week suspension.
Any company operating in the United States should be able to dismiss an employee for any reason or for no reason, but anything even mildly critical of Jewish collective behavior or Israel is severely punished immediately. Professor Marc Lamont Hill said nothing wrong. On the contrary, he said something badly needed and which should have been accepted by CNN if it were really a global communications network dedicated to the truth and, one might add, to justice. Instead it was more of the same old, same old. If you criticize Israel don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave the building.
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This article was originally published on American Herald Tribune.
Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image is from AHT