Neil Cavuto introduced a Your World segment discussing media coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict by stating, "[I]s the liberal media fueling terror?" Throughout the segment, onscreen text repeated Cavuto's question.
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On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, in a segment discussing media coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, host Neil Cavuto introduced the segment by stating, "[I]s the liberal media fueling terror?" Throughout the segment, onscreen text read, "Is the liberal media helping to fuel terror?"
Cavuto's first guest, journalist Tom Gross, a former correspondent for the New York Daily News and the Sunday Telegraph of London, argued that television news shows offer a "slanted selection of images" that curry sympathy toward Lebanese casualties, as opposed to Israeli casualties, and that this purportedly skewed use of video erroneously "gave viewers the idea that this was entirely a one-sided conflict." Gross added that this "is mainly the fault of journalists" who are "deliberately choosing sides" in the conflict. He also argued that the CNN International news channel is "entirely slanted against Israel and also against the U.S." Cavuto then interviewed Link TV's Mosaic News producer Jamal Dajani "for the other side" of the story. In response to Cavuto's question, "The image is: 'Israel bad, Hezbollah good.' Is that a fair image, or is that the image you're getting?" Dajani explained that, on Middle Eastern broadcast networks, "when the war broke there were many critics of Hezbollah," but when Israeli retaliation intensified "the images there definitely show that Israel is bad and Hezbollah is the good party in this battle." Dajani later noted the Arab news network Al Jazeera "did a great job in bringing balance to both sides" and "you have more than 200 satellite TV networks there, so you cannot ... lump them all in one basket."
From the August 16 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Meanwhile, is the liberal media fueling terror? My next guest says not just here, but newspapers and networks around the world are fanning the flames of terror by showing very graphic images of war in the Middle East. He is journalist Tom Gross. He is the former reporter for the London Sunday Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal. So, we're foisting improper images, or what would you say?
GROSS: Well, first of all, there's a very slanted selection of images. So, for example, in the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, networks like the BBC, which broadcasts not just in Britain but around the world, showed an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of images of damaged buildings and victims in Lebanon and all but ignored images in Israel. And this gave the viewers the idea that this was entirely a one-sided conflict, which it was not. And what --
CAVUTO: Whose fault was that?
GROSS: Well, it's the fault of many people, but it's mainly the fault of journalists themselves. They are deliberately choosing to take sides to show it's a black-and-white conflict when it's not.
CAVUTO: All right, when you say journalists, who?
GROSS: News editors, pictures editors --
GROSS: Worldwide, but particularly outside of the U.S. In America, for example, let's take your, your rival network CNN, the American version of CNN, the American edition of CNN is -- tries to show both sides of the story, at least recently. But the international version of CNN, which goes out across the globe, it's a very different picture. It's entirely slanted against Israel and also against the U.S.
CAVUTO: I've heard from Israel officials at the scene, Tom, that they do not allow videographers, photographers to take images of victims who have been blown up in a blast, so that material isn't there. And that maybe with the best of intentions -- they're being decent or trying to just not be brutal -- they're hurting themselves.
GROSS: Well, that could be, of course, they're more concerned with respecting the families of the victims of suicide bombs. They don't want to exploit those victims by parading them for the cameras, as Hezbollah do. But I think the problem goes way beyond actual victims. What we've seen recently, as exposed by a number of blogs, is that the major news agencies, Reuters, Associated Press, and also the French news agency Agence France-Presse, AFP, all of them have been using distorted images. Often unbeknownst to themselves --
CAVUTO: And still now?
GROSS: And still now. And these images have been repeated in The New York Times and other papers.
CAVUTO: All right, now for the other side. I want to thank you, Tom. My next guest produces world news coming from the Middle East. He shows these graphic images because he says they are not fact, but fiction. He is Jamal Dajani, he is the producer for Mosaic News at Link TV. He says they are fact, not fiction; I misstated that.
All right, Jamal, the image is "Israel bad, Hezbollah good." Is that a fair image, or is that the image you're getting?
DAJANI: Well, I mean the vast majority of the networks, of course, in the Middle East are showing the Lebanese side. They're focusing a lot on the civilian suffering there and initially, when the war broke, there were many critics of Hezbollah, but after the 50 bombs fell over Beirut and then that became 1,000 bombs, I would say all the media networks have been presenting that Hezbollah is fighting a battle for the survival of Lebanon. It's fighting to prevent an invading Israeli troop [sic] on its territory. So yes, the images there definitely show Israel is bad and Hezbollah is the good party in this battle.
CAVUTO: So let me understand. Is there any sense of fairness of balance within -- let's say just collectively, the Arab media -- about the Israeli citizens who have lost their lives, the Israeli settlers who have been blown to bits, the effect of rockets that landed and done untold damage in Israel. Is there any coverage of that?
DAJANI: Well, I think -- take, for example, Al Jazeera, and I think Al Jazeera did a great job in bringing balance to both sides of the equation. Al Jazeera devoted a lot of time, not only covering the battles in the south of Lebanon and in Beirut but also in the north of Israel. And many reports, they have actually just as many reporters in the north of Israel, in Haifa, in Karyat Shimona and so forth, showing you on a daily basis the aftermath of the Hezbollah barrages and rockets and the damage caused to the civilians and the death and the destruction from that side too. So, you know, you have more than 200 satellite TV networks there, so you cannot put them all, lump them all in one basket.
CAVUTO: All right, Jamal. Thank you very much.