Happy Sunday. Let's check in on the media this past week.
This is fine: Not long ago, news outlets were warning about the rise of white supremacy via the "OK" hand gesture. But, amid surging anti-Semitism, those same outlets downplayed Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D., Mich.) promotion of the trending slogan "From the river to the sea, Palestine with be free." Headlines referred to Tlaib's endorsement of the destruction of the Jewish state as her "Israel comments" or "Pro-Palestinian comments."
CNN, Nov. 8: "House Passes Resolution To Censure Tlaib Over Israel Comments":
The House passed a GOP-led resolution on Tuesday to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib over comments critical of Israel and in support of Palestinians amid Israel’s war against Hamas.
New York Times, Nov. 8: "House Censures Rashida Tlaib, Citing ‘River to the Sea’ Slogan":
The House voted on Tuesday to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, formally rebuking the sole Palestinian American in Congress for her statements regarding the Israel-Hamas war.
ABC News, Nov. 7: "Rep. Rashida Tlaib Censured by House Over Israel Comments":
The House of Representatives voted to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday night, despite her emotionally defending herself, as Republicans and some members of her own party voted for a resolution that claimed she had been "promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."
Associated Press, Nov. 6: "Rashida Tlaib Defends Pro-Palestinian Video as Rift Among Michigan Democrats Widens Over War":
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan has received widespread criticism for a video she posted over the weekend that was deemed offensive to the Jewish community by some, but she said her critics should focus less on the words she used than on saving civilian lives in the Middle East.
The Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups have criticized the "from the river to the sea," chant as a call to dismantle the state of Israel. Many Palestinian activists say they are not calling for the destruction of Israel, but for freedom of movement and equal rights and protections for Palestinians throughout the land.
Axios, Nov. 6: "Tlaib Sparks Democratic Backlash With Defense of Palestinian Chant":
The backdrop: The full phrase—"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"—has long been associated with Palestinian resistance and calls for self-determination.
Business Insider, Nov. 6: "'From the River to the Sea': What To Know About the Pro-Palestinians Slogan That's Roiling American Politics":
- The phrase's anti-Israel origins and ongoing use by Israel's enemies make it offensive to many Jews.
- But it's widely used among Palestinians to call for equality in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
NBC News, Nov. 5: "Democrats Criticize Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Her Pro-Palestinian Comments":
Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing backlash from some of her fellow Democrats, including in her home state of Michigan, over her recent remarks about Palestinians amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
New York Magazine's Eric Levitz—who recently apologized for saying that Hamas terrorists beheaded Jewish babies, because maybe the heads fell off post-slaughter—explained that Tlaib could simply be calling for the Palestinians to advance Israeli democracy.
If the discourse about the Israel-Hamas war is plagued by antisemitism, it is also stunted by dubious allegations of bigotry. Of these, the most contentious might be the slogan "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." And this chant is unquestionably anti-Zionist: To make the entire territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea into "Palestine," one must eliminate the State of Israel.
In the ADL’s reading, this implies nothing less than the forced "removal of Jews from their ancestral homeland," and it is surely true that some Hamas militants and sympathizers use the phrase to mean precisely this. But not all visions for a liberated Palestine "from the river to the sea" entail ethnic cleansing. Many progressive Palestinians advocate for Israel’s displacement by a single, binational state in which all Jews and Arabs enjoy full democratic rights.
Nearly two-dozen House Democrats joined most Republicans in voting to censure Tlaib for "promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."
This is racist: The Washington Post retracted a political cartoon mocking Hamas's use of "human shields" in its war with Israel. Some readers had complained that the image was racist, and internal emails published by the Washington Free Beacon show that the Post had also faced backlash from its woke staff.
The cartoonist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Ramirez, told the Free Beacon that opinions editor David Shipley hand-picked the cartoon before removing it under pressure. Ramirez called the move "a blow against … the freedom of speech."
"When the intellectually indolent try to defend the indefensible, they always seem to resort to playing the race card," Ramirez said. "They're trying to claim that this caricature is a racial exercise, when in its specificity, it is Ghazi Hamad, who is a senior Hamas official, who went on Lebanese television praising the brutal Oct. 7 attack and systematic slaughter of women, children, and men and pledged to do it over and over again until the annihilation of Israel."
Somebody did something: A pro-Palestinian activist killed a Jewish man at a Los Angeles-area protest. But, as the Free Beacon's Jessica Costescu reported, you wouldn’t know that from the initial coverage:
CNN in its original story on the killing omitted the fact that Kessler is Jewish, even as it referenced in the piece a statement from a Jewish group in Los Angeles that referred to Kessler as a "Jewish man who was struck in the head by a megaphone wielded by a pro-Palestinian protester." CNN also cited in the piece a Gazan death toll that came from "sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave." ...
Time, meanwhile, wrote that Kessler died "after getting into a confrontation during dueling protests over the Israel-Hamas war." The magazine said Kessler died "a day after he was struck" without mentioning who struck the Jewish man. Time also said Kessler "was involved in a 'physical altercation' with one or more counter-protesters," during which he "fell backward and struck his head on the ground."
The New York Times similarly referred to the events that led to Kessler's killing as an "altercation at dueling protests."
Some outlets, like NBC News, later updated their reporting to describe what actually happened.
By contrast, when a Muslim man claimed he was attacked days earlier, the media jumped straight to hate crime.
Washington Post, Nov. 6: "Hit-And-Run Injuring Muslim Stanford Student Sparks Hate-Crime Probe."
CNN, Nov. 5: "Muslim Student Struck in Stanford Hit-And-Run Calls For Love, Compassion, From Hospital Bed."
CBS News, Nov. 4: "Hit-And-Run Which Injured Stanford Arab-Muslim Student Investigated as Possible Hate Crime."
Impeachment watch: House Republicans subpoenaed Joe Biden's family members, prompting news outlets to once again insist there is no evidence the president did anything wrong.
New York Times, Nov. 8: "House Republicans Subpoena Biden’s Son and Brother in Impeachment Inquiry":
Representative James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and the chairman of the Oversight Committee, authorized the subpoenas of President Biden’s family members ... despite no evidence that the president had committed high crimes or misdemeanors.
Republicans have toiled for months to try to find support for their allegations that Mr. Biden corruptly profited from his family members’ overseas business dealings and accepted bribes. But to date, they have failed to deliver proof to back up their boldest claims.
Associated Press, Nov. 8: "House Republicans Subpoena Hunter and James Biden as Their Impeachment Inquiry Ramps Back Up":
So far, [Republicans] have failed to uncover evidence directly implicating the president in any wrongdoing. ...
While questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business, no evidence has emerged to prove that Joe Biden, in his current or previous office, abused his role or accepted bribes.
NBC News, Nov. 8: "House Subpoenas James And Hunter Biden in GOP-Led Probe of The President's Family":
Comer has accused the Biden family of engaging in "shady business practices," but has yet to demonstrate how the transactions specifically show any concrete evidence of wrongdoing or influence peddling by Biden himself.
USA Today, Nov. 8: "Newly Issued Subpoenas—Including to Hunter Biden—Ramp up Biden Impeachment Inquiry":
House Republicans say Joe Biden financially benefited from his family’s overseas business affairs. Though investigators have shown that the president’s family, namely Hunter Biden, made millions from foreign dealings, Republicans have yet to produce substantial evidence proving Joe Biden reaped personal benefits from those affairs.
A subpoena is meant to gather evidence, as the media understood back when Democrats were working to impeach Donald Trump. But Republicans already have plenty of proof that Biden behaved corruptly. The Free Beacon reported back in September:
To review the news: Archer told the House Oversight Committee under oath on Monday that Joe Biden talked to his son's foreign business partners all the time—rather than "never" as the White House had repeatedly claimed. Last week, a judge refused to "rubber stamp" the plea deal that would have given Hunter Biden sweeping immunity. Before that, two IRS whistleblowers testified that the Justice Department protected Biden from being charged with felonies in the case.
Stay safe out there, and see you next week.