WASHINGTON, DC, December 19, 2012 - Brian Williams and the brass at NBC News can breathe easier. Their top Middle East reporter Richard Engel is back after being held captive for five days in Syria. He can now resume his bashing of Israel. Engel’s reporting from the region has always been fair and balanced, particularly and exclusively toward Israel’s enemies.
In the most recent conflict in Gaza, after Israel heeded the Biblical imperative to spare noncombatants and warned Gazans to take shelter against incoming fire, Engel did not view this as a humanitarian gesture but rather as a “cruel trick.”
Neither Engel nor the rest of NBC was much bothered by the 10,000 rockets that fell on Israel week after week, compelling Israel to finally respond. Anchor Williams complained that Israel’s response was lopsided because not enough Jewish Israelis had been killed to merit self-defense.
There was absolutely no coverage from Israel when day after day more than a million Israelis were on the run from missiles raining in from Hamas.
Israel broke the rule established by the Networks, the EU, the UN, The New York Times and assorted travelers. She fought back.
Now, back to the latest. Engel and his team were captured last Thursday by gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad – as described by Engel – and rescued amid a gun fight between those government loyalists and Syrian rebels, all taking place in the heat of a civil war that has already claimed more than 40,000 lives with hardly a word from the UN, which is busy denying Israel’s right to keep building homes in Jerusalem.
In other words, as the script keeps being written and revised to appeal to us back home, or Homeland, Engel was Taken by Bad Syrians and saved by Good Syrians. A while back, CBS’s Lara Logan, reporting from Egypt, found herself groped, manhandled and possibly raped in Tahrir Square as another Good Arab Spring went Bad.
Engel also covered that first Egyptian uprising, for NBC, and was ecstatic about the prospects for “democracy” (which even today is news to the Muslim Brotherhood).
We are being told that NBC crew members including producer Ghazi Balkiz and cameraman John Kooistra along with Engel were kidnapped in Syria by men described by Engel as “Shiite Muslims…aligned with Iran and Hezbollah.” They were hooded and endured taunts, death threats and mock executions.
“They made us choose which one of us would be shot first, and when we refused, there were mock shootings,” Engel revealed to fellow reporters safely upon arrival in Turkey. Most of his comments were reserved for NBC’s Today program. Engel said he and the others were physically unharmed but suffered “psychological torture.”
This is why so many combat correspondents do their reporting from Jerusalem, where they are safe and snug at the American Colony Hotel. They get their tips from freelance Palestinian “fixers” who alert them when and where trouble spots can be found and when none can be found the fixers can fix one up – as they did for the Mohammed al-Dura hoax that was staged to trigger a murderous flare up against Israel.
I was there, more than once doing my own service, so that I can report on what goes on first-hand and on the spot. I even wrote a book about all that, The Bathsheba Deadline, and here is something from page 115 that people might want to know: “The Palestinians let foreign journalists understand: if you don’t work with our people we will sever contact with you, you won’t have access to sources of information and you won’t get interviews.”
Speaking at a Hamas rally, a BBC reporter, Fayad Abu Shamala, confirmed that “journalists and media organizations are waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people.” Give the man credit for telling the truth about all the lies and misinformation.
I can vouch as an eyewitness that foreign journalists train their cameras on the IDF retaliation but fail to show the riots and the rocks coming from the other side. Palestinian women are taught how to weep for the cameras. It’s all done to manipulate our emotions and to provide us with only half the truth. CNN’s former head of news Eason Jordan confessed in a New York Times op-ed that he purposely withheld news about Saddam’s atrocities so that his bureau could continue to function in Baghdad.
As for The New York Times, it’s personal. That newspaper has stopped being subtle in its hostility towards the Jewish State. From its news to its commentaries, from Tom Friedman to Paul Krugman, The New York Times minces no words in telling its readers and the world that Israel has no right to exist and that its people have no right to live on the West Bank, in Jerusalem, or anywhere!
No doubt there are a number of foreign correspondents that are honorable. But coverage from the Middle East has for some time been lopsided and corrupted.
It’s good that Richard Engel is back. It’s too bad that unless you were there, you don’t know what to believe.
Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.
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