Friday, July 18, 2014

Just When We Needed Him Most, We Lost Him

Yesterday, as Israel launched its ground invasion into Gaza, NBC News executives pulled a similarly moronic move, ordering foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin out of the Gaza Strip, citing security concerns (which is quite a riot considering Mohyeldin is a battle-hardened journalist who rose to fame after being one of only two foreign journalists to bear witness to Israel's horrific 22 day-long assault on Gaza in 2008-9). The New York Times writes:

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC correspondent who was playing with a group of Palestinian kids moments before an Israeli attack killed four of them on a Gaza beach yesterday, has been pulled from the region. According to a report by Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept, the network demanded Mohyeldin leave immediately, citing "security concerns," although it also sent a different correspondent, Richard Engel, to Gaza.

Mohyeldin's sophisticated understanding of a complex region, his extensive experience in war zones, and most importantly, his moving, humanizing reports from Gaza were too much for a big profit-driven news network to bear. NBC rather cave to the Israel Lobby-backed status quo than capitalize on the best opportunity it had to cover this catastrophe in an open and honest manner.

Mohyeldin is undoubtedly one of the most experienced reporters and trusted voices on Gaza out there (his harrowing reporting landed him on Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world).

Recently in Gaza, he didn't waste his time regurgitating Israeli talking points, but instead reported from the ground and gave us a real understanding of the terrible human toll being inflicted on the Palestinian people.

He conveyed to viewers the reality of what it means to bomb a captive civilian population.

Naturally, this was a problem because it exposed the Israeli army's appalling conduct, human rights violations, and killing of innocents - behavior that Israel's own top officials struggle to justify before world audiences (example: Spokesman Mark Regev on England's Channel 4 News).

Mohyeldin's truth-telling, his genuine concern for life, his moral bravery are what got him pulled from a beat that desperately needed his clear-eyed, powerful reporting.

The following links explore the NBC/Mohyeldin scandal and the mainstream media's longstanding lack of fairness when reporting on the issue of Palestine:


    Ayman Mohyeldin at il-Shifa hospital in Gaza before being pulled.


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    Update 7/18/2014: Due to public outcry, NBC is returning Moyheldin to his post in Gaza. A statement from NBC reads:
    Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday. As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We've carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days.

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