The Worst of Ayman Mohyeldin

January 29, 2015

NBC foreign affairs reporter Ayman Mohyeldin tipped his hand again Thursday morning when he sounded off on "American Sniper" Chris Kyle for having alleged "racist" tendencies as he went on "killing sprees in Iraq on assignment."

Comparing an American soldier to an indiscriminate mass murderer did not go over very well. But the former Al Jazeera English correspondent has displayed biases before in his Middle East reporting, particularly in the conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas.

In July, Mohyeldin rushed to judgment and falsely reported that an Israeli drone had struck a Gaza hospital and killed civilians. In fact, it was an Islamic Jihadist rocket that had failed to reach its Israeli target, and the misreporting was egregious enough for U.S.-Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer to ask MSNBC's Chuck Todd to correct the record on The Daily Rundown. Todd ignored this request.

Mohyeldin's consistent deference to Hamas in his reporting did not escape attention over the summer. He said that among Gazans Hamas' military wing, Hamas is "highly revered,"  used Palestinian officials as his source that Israeli maneuvers against Gaza were "disproportionate" and parroted Hamas' denial that it used civilians as human shields. That charge against Hamas is accurate.

During one report on the inadvertent killing of four Palestinian children in an Israeli attack on Gaza, Mohyeldin never mentioned the group's name despite their responsibility for the current conflict. After he witnessed the deaths of those children, he made his ire toward Israel known when he reported the U.S. State Department blamed Hamas for the deaths after refusing a ceasefire agreement and allowing the fighting to continue. He sarcastically tweeted the news and added at the end, "Discuss among yourselves."

Mohyeldin posted a video of himself crossing the border from Israel into Gaza, likening the process to leaving a "maximum security prison facility" and saying it wasn't surprising that human rights groups referred to Gaza as the world's largest outdoor prison. He also mentioned the consistent Hamas rockets that Israel "has been complaining about."

In one of his more cringeworthy segments, Mohyeldin would not answer the obvious when asked by Morning Joe's Joe Scarborough which extremism--Islamic, Jewish, or Christian--was the most dangerous threat to civilization. Instead, Mohyeldin hesitated, then made a painfully lame reference to the Crusades before saying, "I would not say any of those. I would not say radical Islam is the greatest threat to civilization today."

That wasn't the question Scarborough asked, of course, but rather, which of the three religions' extreme elements was the most dangerous. That Mohyeldin could not answer "radical Islam" without hesitation says a lot about how he approaches his beat.