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After writing in the National Review that the Western media are “co-conspirators” who “do Hamas’s bidding by perpetuating the myth that there are two morally competing visions at war in Gaza,” conservative news radio executive Lee Habeeb further elaborated on his point in an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
“Where are the Hamas soldiers?” Habeeb asked his CNN host. “We don’t see them because they’re hiding. Why do we only see the images of dead women and children, and not the images of Hamas soldiers?”
A portion of the interview can be viewed here:
CNN has now edited out, however, the portion of the interview that proves one of the points that Habeeb was trying to make. In addition to pointing out the lack of images of Hamas fighters, Habeeb complains of the moral equivalency portrayed by the media. Bolduan helpfully provided an example of this very problem in the version of the interview that aired on television this morning. She first noted that Israeli spokesman Mark Regev appears on CNN regularly, and then asserted that when Khaled Meshaal was interviewed, Meshaal complained that “the US has now adopted the Israeli narrative.” Bolduan asked “How can it be both ways? How can the US media be Hamas’s co-conspirators and also be adopting the Israeli narrative?”
The fact that CNN is willing to put statements by Meshaal on the same footing as Regev is the essence of the problem. Israel, like the US, has a vigorous free press that holds its government accountable for both its actions and its statements, and a public that will send corrupt government officials packing. As we’ve seen highlighted in this war, Gaza journalists enjoy no such privileges. Meshaal can make any claim he wants, no matter how far removed such statements are from the truth, without being held accountable to his own public. No matter how outrageous Meshaal’s claims are, his public has no ability to vote him out. Indeed, Hamas executes people who disagree. The problem is that the media equates, on the one hand, statements made by a government that is held accountable by the press, with, on the other hand, statements made by a dictatorial regime, and calls such statements just two sides of the same story. Bolduan unwittingly provided a perfect example of the very moral equivalency Habeeb rightfully decries.