The interesting thing about the notion of “liberal media bias” is that it’s based on the idea that huge media conglomerates would align themselves with liberal principles for the sake of ideology as opposed to a business model. Rupert Murdoch has done a good job of aligning both objectives, but more often than not, for other media companies, cash rules everything around them (C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dollar-dollar bills, y’all). So as much as I enjoy MSNBC, I’m very well aware that the network’s mostly left slant in prime-time and on the early morning weekends is based on creating an outlet to rival FOX News versus standing up for liberalism.
After all, former GOP congressman and political Svengali in his own mind Joe Scarborough sets the tone for MSNBC with “Morning Joe.” And as one MSNBC contributor reminds us, even a “left-wing news network” can have its own biases. While doing a segment on the latest Israeli/Palestinian conflict on “Ronan Farrow Daily,” a defiant Rula Jebreal (pictured) rightly criticized Western-based news stations for their pro-Israeli slant.
While arguing that influence from pro-Israel forces makes the news coverage more favorable to the country and its leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and subsequently sways the majority of American viewers to take the side of Israel, Jebreal explained, “Because of AIPAC, and because of the money behind it, and because of Sheldon Adelson, and because of all of us in the media. We are ridiculous. We are disgustingly biased when it comes to this issue.” She went on to add, “Look at how [much] airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis. Andrea Mitchell and others. I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues.”
When the show’s host, Ronan Farrow, pushed back and claimed that Palestinian guests have been interviewed, Jebreal noted, “Maybe 30 seconds! And then you have 25 minutes for Bibi Netanyahu, and then half an hour for Naftali Bennett, and many others.”
Since then, Jebreal claims that all of her TV appearances have been canceled.
Abrupt cancellations don’t make Jebreal’s comments any less credible, though. On the Sunday morning shows that air on broadcast television, Netanyahu’s face was splattered all over each one. The same can be said of those who “stand with Israel.”
Even on entertainment websites like TMZ, the biases are quite apparent. When detailing actress and singer Selena Gomez tweeting and then deleting a message asking for prayers for Gaza, the site wrote:
“Maybe she doesn’t realize Hamas has launched an untold number of missiles in an effort to destroy Israel, or maybe she supports it … we don’t know. Maybe she just wants peace for everyone. We just don’t know.”
This is supremely biased, wonderfully ignorant, and sadly dangerous. Perhaps Gomez was asking for prayers for the civilians who have suffered thanks to this most-recent military action: Per the United Nations, Palestinian health officials said at least 630 Palestinians had been killed and nearly 4,000 wounded — some 70 percent to 80 percent of them civilians.
But apparently, asking for prayers of the civilians is equivalent to supporting terrorists.
Meanwhile, anyone that offers a counter to this Israel narrative has been relatively silenced — some more harshly than others.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is actively working toward removing the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network out of Israel. Lieberman reportedly said in a meeting with the Rwandan foreign minister that, “Qatar has turned into a global problem. Al Jazeera is a central pillar of the propaganda apparatus of Hamas.” After those comments, bullets flew through the news networks offices in the country.
An Al Jazeera spokesman said Tuesday that Lieberman’s remarks about the network “were a direct threat against us and appear to have been taken as a green light for the targeting of our journalists in Gaza.” He went on to say, “We hold the Israeli authorities fully responsible. They have put the lives of journalists in danger.”
And while this issue may seem much ado about nothing for the lives of everyday Black Americans, writer Kristian Davis Bailey reminds us how interconnected so many of our stories are.
On her five-week visit to Palestine last summer, Bailey wrote for EBONY:
I learned how the police brutality African Americans and other minorities face in the US is directly tied to violence in Palestine. Since 2001, thousands of top police officials from cities across the US have gone to Israel for training alongside its military or have participated in joint exercises here. Just weeks before Oakland police violently broke up an Occupy rally, they had trained with repressive forces from Israel and Bahrain. In Georgia in 2006, a 92-year-old Black woman was shot and killed by Atlanta police who had participated in an exchange program with Israeli soldiers on counterterrorism and drug enforcement. Our governments literally share resources and tactics with each other that directly harm our respective communities.
The experiences of African Americans and Palestinians with systemic mass incarceration are also strikingly similar. Forty percent of Palestinian men have been arrested and detained by Israel at some point in their lives. (To put this in perspective, the 2008 figure for Blacks was 1 in 11.) Israel maintains policies of detaining and interrogating Palestinian children that bear resemblance to the stop and frisk policy and disproportionate raids and arrests many of our youth face.
The truth doesn’t have a bias, but it can be parsed for auspicious reasons. The public deserves all sides of the story. Rula Jebreal is just one voice to that cause. Here’s hoping we get more.