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The 2,282nd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
11:35am EDT, Monday October 9, 2006 (Vol. Eleven; No. 169)

 
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1. Couric Makes Sure Page Scandal 'Is Not Going Away'; Jobs Buried
Friday's CBS Evening News led again with the Foley/page scandal, even though the two stories aired offered virtually no fresh information, as anchor Katie Couric justified the news judgment by declaring the issue is "still the talk of the town," "is not going away" and "is overshadowing every other election issue for the moment" -- all self-fulfilling assessments sustained by the decisions of Couric and her media colleagues. Couric then moved on to Republican Senator John Warner's warning that Iraq is drifting "side-wise," a comment trumpeted by Brian Williams at the start of the NBC Nightly News, which also led with the page scandal: "When a key Republican Senator comes home from Iraq and says the U.S. has to re-think its strategy, is this a new turning point?" Buried: The drop in the unemployment rate. ABC's World News ignored it. CBS Evening News viewers only heard of the positive trend from a clip of President Bush in the middle of Gloria Borger's lead story on how the parties are reacting to the Foley matter and only NBC offered an actual news report, 20 seconds in length, on the latest numbers.

2. Foley Story Count, Week One: 103 Stories on ABC, CBS and NBC
The MRC's Rich Noyes has calculated the number of Mark Foley/Will Hastert Quit? stories for Week One of the scandal on ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening news programs, from last Friday night, September 29, through Friday morning, October 6. So for evening shows, it's Friday to Thursday. For morning shows, it's Saturday through Friday. (One or two evening stories and a smattering of morning stories are brief anchor updates.) The number's a little shocking: 103 -- far more coverage than bunch of past sexual scandals involving Democrats.

3. Time and Newsweek Match TV With Partisan Foley Scandal Covers
In case you thought the Foley story was wrapping up on Friday, be warned that both Time and Newsweek weren't buying that. They wanted a chance to build its place in history/Republican infamy. Both covers are quite transparently partisan for the politically sensitive time of the season.

4. WPost's King Raises Impeachment, Totenberg 'Not Proud' of Bush
In a discussion on Inside Washington about the situation in Iraq and Bob Woodward's book, Colby King, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post's editorial page and a weekly columnist, made clear his disgust with President Bush -- to the point of rejecting Bush as Commander-in-Chief and arguing Bush is more deserving of impeachment than was President Clinton. "If we had a draft today and my sons had to go in the service under this Commander-in-Chief and his military advisors, I'd be hard-pressed," King revealed, "to say serve under them." Citing how too many are being killed in Iraq "because of dumb decisions made by these people in the Pentagon," an exasperated King recalled how "they impeached the President...for having some relationship with an intern. What about the people who got us into this mess?" A bit later in the program aired Friday night on Washington, DC's PBS station, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg predicted: "When the history books are written, we will not be proud of this country or this President."

5. Time Magazine Critic: Blame Fox News for Olbermann's Lunacy
In an article posted Friday on Time.com, the magazine's critic James Poniewozik suggests the Fox News Channel, which he sees as tilted to the right, is also responsible for the multi-minute rants that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has lately been emitting. Time also dismisses the idea that the rest of the mainstream media (presumably including itself) is tilted to the left, with Poniewozik parenthetically noting that "the MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other." Poniewozik's theory on Olbermann is that Fox's climb to the top of the ratings has led to changes at other TV news outlets, including at MSNBC, although he paints Olbermann as the party most likely to be embarrassed by the link to Fox News: "Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not."

6. ABC Promotes Anti-Israeli Who Ranted Against 'Israeli Terror'
On Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC anchor Gibson ran a one-sided story on the lingering dangers to civilians of cluster bombs that were used by the Israeli military in Lebanon. The story, filed by correspondent Wilf Dinnick, promoted the complaints of a UN worker named Jihad Samhat without mentioning his history of vitriolic bias against Israel. As can be seen on his blog, Samhat has referred to the "Israeli terror machine" that is "sponsored by the West," accusing Israel of "barbaric aggression," the "murder of innocent civilians," and committing a "massacre" at Qana. Samhat's blog even charged that Israel "targeted and killed many innocent civilians in their attempt to escape," as if the Israeli military deliberately killed civilians. ABC did not inform viewers of Samhat's history of bias against Israel, instead bolstering him as a "former American soldier" who "works for the UN's Mine Action Center."


 

Couric Makes Sure Page Scandal 'Is Not
Going Away'; Jobs Buried

     Friday's CBS Evening News led again with the Foley/page scandal, even though the two stories aired offered virtually no fresh information, as anchor Katie Couric justified the news judgment by declaring the issue is "still the talk of the town," "is not going away" and "is overshadowing every other election issue for the moment" -- all self-fulfilling assessments sustained by the decisions of Couric and her media colleagues. Couric then moved on to Republican Senator John Warner's warning that Iraq is drifting "side-wise," a comment trumpeted by Brian Williams at the start of the NBC Nightly News, which also led with the page scandal: "When a key Republican Senator comes home from Iraq and says the U.S. has to re-think its strategy, is this a new turning point?"

     Buried: The drop in the unemployment rate. ABC's World News, which unlike CBS and NBC, led with something other than the Foley fallout (the fire at a chemical plant in North Carolina), ignored it. CBS Evening News viewers only heard of the positive trend from a clip of President Bush in the middle of Gloria Borger's lead story on how the parties are reacting to the Foley matter: "Today we got more good news: National unemployment rate is down to 4.6 percent." Only NBC offered an actual news report, 20 seconds in length, on the latest numbers.

     [This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     And yes, Warner said "side-wise." I presume he meant "sideways."

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth reviewed the newscasts to track how each treated the unemployment news.

     The brief October 6 NBC Nightly News item on unemployment, as read by Brian Williams:
     "News on the economy and job front tonight, it's a bit of a mixed picture. While the U.S. job market grew by only 51,000 jobs across the whole country last month, the previous two months were revised upward, and the unemployment rate did tick down a notch to 4.6 percent."

     Katie Couric teased the October 6 CBS Evening News: "Tonight, the Foley factor. The man who's not running is suddenly becoming a big issue in race after race in the battle for Congress."
    
     Couric then led her newscast: "Hi, everyone. Well, tonight it's still the talk of the town. Election day is about a month away now and Republicans are worried about the fallout from the Foley page scandal. It is not going away. It's been one week now since the story broke and Congressman Mark Foley resigned and since then it's been one revelation after another with more e-mails, hand wringing and finger pointing -- all as Republicans and Democrats are battling for control of Congress. So is this Washington scandal reverberating outside the beltway? We asked two of our correspondents to take the temperature, beginning tonight with Gloria Borger."

     Borger's story looked at how the parties are reacting to the scandal, highlighted by New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Tom Kean's call for the resignation of House Speaker Denny Hastert. She also included the above-quoted soundbite of Bush, the only mention of the falling unemployment rate, to illustrate how Republicans are trying to get back to their issues: "Today we got more good news: National unemployment rate is down to 4.6 percent."

     After Borger, Couric went to reporter Lee Cowan for the opinions of people in Columbus, Ohio.

     Couric then highlighted some more bad news for Republicans:
     "This scandal is overshadowing every other election issue for the moment, but Iraq is still a big issue for the Republicans and now a leading member of the party may have made it even bigger. Jim Axelrod has that story. Jim?"

     Jim Axelrod: "Katie, the Foley scandal would be big enough if that were the only issue facing Republicans, but it's not. A usually strong ally of the President on the war in Iraq is now wavering. It's been one of the bloodiest periods in the entire Iraq war, with 35 American troops killed in the last ten days. And now Senator John Warner, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is just back from Iraq with a sobering warning."
     Senator John Warner: "It seems to me that the situation is simply drifting side-wise."
     Axelrod: "Warner's a long-time supporter of the war, a former Secretary of the Navy and a loyal Republican."
     Warner: "In two or three months if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it's a responsibility of our government internally to determine is there a change of course that we should take?"
     Axelrod: "I ran the 'drifting side-wise' comment by a senior White House official and he said, given the way things have been going in Iraq lately, he hardly considers that to be deep criticism. Katie?"

 

Foley Story Count, Week One: 103 Stories
on ABC, CBS and NBC

     The MRC's Rich Noyes has calculated the number of Mark Foley/Will Hastert Quit? stories for Week One of the scandal on ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening news programs, from last Friday night, September 29, through Friday morning, October 6. So for evening shows, it's Friday to Thursday. For morning shows, it's Saturday through Friday. (One or two evening stories and a smattering of morning stories are brief anchor updates.) The number's a little shocking: 103 stories. It breaks down like this:

     -- ABC: Good Morning America, 23 stories; World News, 15 stories

     -- CBS: The Early Show, 17 stories; Evening News, 11 stories

     -- NBC: Today, 24 stories; Nightly News, 13 stories

     Total morning shows: 64 stories

     Total evening news 39 stories

     Grand total: 103 stories.

     [This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     A few quick comparisons to Democratic sex scandals at a beginning point:

     # The 1994 indictment of Rep. Mel Reynolds on teen-sex/child porn charges (total: three stories): ABC, zero. CBS, one evening anchor brief, one morning anchor brief. NBC, one evening story.

     # The 1995 conviction of Rep. Mel Reynolds on all 12 counts against him, including witness tampering (total: 16 stories): ABC, one. CBS, one evening anchor brief, three morning briefs, and a full morning story. NBC, one evening anchor brief, six morning anchor briefs, a morning story, and two morning interview segments.

     # The 1994 sexual harassment filed by Paula Jones against President Clinton, first week (total: 29 stories): ABC, five evening stories and four morning stories; CBS, one evening story, four morning stories; NBC, one evening story, 14 morning stories.

     # The 1999 Dateline NBC interview with Juanita Broaddrick, charging Bill Clinton raped her in April 1978 (total, five stories, two mentions): ABC, two brief morning mentions. CBS, one Saturday night story, one minute and 51 seconds long. NBC, even though it did the Broaddrick interview, zero evening news stories, three full morning stories and an anchor brief.

     If it isn't obvious, none of these stories was accompanied by resignation talk.

 

Time and Newsweek Match TV With Partisan
Foley Scandal Covers

     In case you thought the Foley story was wrapping up on Friday, be warned that both Time and Newsweek weren't buying that. They wanted a chance to build its place in history/Republican infamy. Both covers are quite transparently partisan for the politically sensitive time of the season.

     [This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Time has a huge black and white picture of an elephant's butt, with the words: "What a mess...Why a tawdry Washington sex scandal may spell the end of the Republican revolution." See: www.time.com

     Time has been rooting for the end of the Republican revolution since they suggested it was in danger of killing off the "human species" back in the first month of the new GOP-majority congress in 1995. Check: www.mrc.org

     Newsweek's cover has a huge picture of Foley and the words "Off Message," and the "O" is a computer "emoticon." Cute touch. But Newsweek is very much on-message this week: they want the Democrats to win both houses. Newsweek has two Web exclusives from gay pols: Democrat Barney Frank explains how the "closet" is somewhat responsible for his and Foley's scandals: www.msnbc.msn.com

     And gay Republican Brian O'Leary Bennett clucks over how "our party has a history of scapegoating gays and lesbians at the first sign of election trouble." See: www.msnbc.msn.com

     There's Newsweek's idea of balance: a gay Democrat and a gay Republican lashing out at social conservatives.

 

WPost's King Raises Impeachment, Totenberg
'Not Proud' of Bush

     In a discussion on Inside Washington about the situation in Iraq and Bob Woodward's book, Colby King, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post's editorial page and a weekly columnist, made clear his disgust with President Bush -- to the point of rejecting Bush as Commander-in-Chief and arguing Bush is more deserving of impeachment than was President Clinton. "If we had a draft today and my sons had to go in the service under this Commander-in-Chief and his military advisors, I'd be hard-pressed," King revealed, "to say serve under them." Citing how too many are being killed in Iraq "because of dumb decisions made by these people in the Pentagon," an exasperated King recalled how "they impeached the President...for having some relationship with an intern. What about the people who got us into this mess?"

     A bit later in the program aired Friday night on Washington, DC's PBS station, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg predicted: "When the history books are written, we will not be proud of this country or this President."

     [This item was posted late Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     I caught the comments on the airing of Inside Washington on WETA-TV channel 26, Washington, DC's PBS affiliate. The program is taped at ABC's Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where it airs Sunday morning at 10am after This Week. It also runs Saturday nights at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the remarks:

     Colby King: "Why are we having U.S. troops trying to stop fighting between the Sunnis and the Shiites? Why are we in the middle of an insurgency? That's not what U.S. forces should be doing. You look at how we got in there, you look at how we are performing there, I must say, Gordon, I had two sons, I served in the military, I had two sons who had to register for Selective Service, they asked me about it, I said, I told them what I did and encouraged them to do it. If we had a draft today and my sons had to go in the service under this Commander-in-Chief and his military advisors, I'd be hard-pressed, Gordon, to say serve under them...."
     "But we're reading in that book things that Rumsfeld did that are just unforgivable, dressing down, in the early stages, dressing down a four-star general in the presence of subordinates in the most demeaning way. You can understand why, in the higher reaches of the Pentagon in the uniformed services, why there's such disdain for this man, and then to turn out that he was wrong in some of the decisions he's made, and you have to, Gordon, in talking about what they did or what they failed to do, you have to go back to the pages we've been running from time to time on the faces of the fallen and look at those young people who've been killed in Iraq, some of us 18 years old, 19 years old, flower of their youth, killed because of dumb decisions made by these people in the Pentagon. They impeached the President, Gordon, for having some relationship with an intern. What about the people who got us into this mess?"
     Host Gordon Peterson, an anchor on DC's ABC affiliate: "Well, lying about it, actually."

     Later, Peterson, reading from Woodward's book, State of Denial, related how on the Truman balcony on September 13, 2001, Bush supposedly said to Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar:
     "If we get somebody and we can't get somebody to cooperate, we'll hand him over to you."
     King sputtered: "The renditions. The renditions started there. It starts with the President of the United States..."
     Nina Totenberg interjected: "When the history books are written, we will not be proud of this country or this President."

 

Time Magazine Critic: Blame Fox News
for Olbermann's Lunacy

     In an article posted Friday on Time.com, the magazine's critic James Poniewozik suggests the Fox News Channel, which he sees as tilted to the right, is also responsible for the multi-minute rants that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has lately been emitting. Time also dismisses the idea that the rest of the mainstream media (presumably including itself) is tilted to the left, with Poniewozik parenthetically noting that "the MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other."

     Poniewozik's theory on Olbermann is that Fox's climb to the top of the ratings has led to changes at other TV news outlets, including at MSNBC, although he paints Olbermann as the party most likely to be embarrassed by the link to Fox News: "Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not."

     But even the talk shows on Fox, which Poniewozik tags as "blatantly right," routinely feature liberal guests to argue their point of view with hosts like Sean Hannity or the less-conservative Bill O'Reilly. MSNBC's Countdown rarely, if ever, sees Olbermann engaged in any kind of debate with conservatives; instead, his program's political stories are all designed to validate a conspiratorial worldview typically seen on left-wing blogs.

     [This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The October 6 CyberAlert item, "Olbermann: Bush a 'Compulsive Liar' Who Is Helping al-Qaeda," recounted, with video, Olbermann's latest rant: www.mrc.org

     Check the September 26 CyberAlert for "Olbermann Demeans Wallace as 'Monkey,' Bush Not 'True American,'" with video, at: www.mrc.org

     Before that, check the September 19 CyberAlert article with video, "Olbermann: Bush Like Angry 3-Year-Old and Should Apologize," at: www.mrc.org

     Here's the relevant part of Poniewozik's article, "What Hath Fox Wrought," posted October 6, which looks like it's part of the October 16 print version of the weekly newsmagazine:

Even with its ratings down, Fox remains the network against which competitors define themselves. And not just news competitors. After Bill Clinton got off an on-camera harangue against Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, for an aggressive line of questioning about his administration's anti-terror efforts, the New York Times reported that prominent Democrats, from Howard Dean to Paul Begala, had begun an open campaign of attacking Fox as a covert Republican shill....

So is Fox a covert Republican shill? Shill, yes, sometimes. Its opinion shows blatantly tilt right. The news plays straighter, though as I write I'm looking at a Fox News chyron that reads, "If Rumsfeld left amid criticism, would America be at risk?" Covert, not so much. The network famously calls itself "fair and balanced," but "fair and balancing" would be a better description: Roger Ailes repeatedly describes his news network as a counterweight, on the right, to the rest of the news media. His argument that nearly every other mainstream media outlet slants left is self-serving and mostly wrong. (The MSM really slant toward the institutional, establishmentarian center, which is a bias as dangerous as any other.) But while "fair and balanced" may be propaganda, it doesn't seem to be fooling anyone. Conservatives see Fox as a comfortable haven for their worldview; their opponents pretty much agree. The balance here is that Fox winks just as broadly to both sides.

In the end, that wink‚€"that is, the Fox gestalt of insouciance, attitude, and even playfulness‚€"has had a bigger effect on the news media than any Bill O'Reilly rant. Fox taught TV news that voice, provocation and fun are not things to be afraid of. And for better or worse, probably every TV news program outside of PBS has been Foxified by now. The explosive graphics on your newscast: that's Fox. The "freeSpeech" opinion segments on the new CBS Evening News: that's Fox, too. Anderson Cooper yelling at a FEMA official or crusading in Africa: that's Fox. Keith Olbermann ranting at George W. Bush and O'Reilly on MSNBC's Countdown: that's Fox through and through, whether Olbermann would like to admit it or not.

Fox's ratings, in other words, may have declined for its 10th anniversary. But there are ratings and then there are ratings. You may tell yourself you don't watch Fox News. But as they used to say in the old Palmolive commercials: You're soaking in it.

     END of Excerpt

     For Poniewozik's article in full: www.time.com

 

ABC Promotes Anti-Israeli Who Ranted
Against 'Israeli Terror'

     On Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC anchor Gibson ran a one-sided story on the lingering dangers to civilians of cluster bombs that were used by the Israeli military in Lebanon. The story, filed by correspondent Wilf Dinnick, promoted the complaints of a UN worker named Jihad Samhat without mentioning his history of vitriolic bias against Israel. As can be seen on his blog, Samhat has referred to the "Israeli terror machine" that is "sponsored by the West," accusing Israel of "barbaric aggression," the "murder of innocent civilians," and committing a "massacre" at Qana. Samhat's blog even charged that Israel "targeted and killed many innocent civilians in their attempt to escape," as if the Israeli military deliberately killed civilians. ABC did not inform viewers of Samhat's history of bias against Israel, instead bolstering him as a "former American soldier" who "works for the UN's Mine Action Center."

     [This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Samhat's blog: www.megastories.com

     The bulk of the 2 minute 38 second story was spent highlighting complaints by Samhat about the negative consequences of Israel's airstrikes, reserving only 8 seconds to convey the Israeli government's rebuttal and rationale for using the weapons. Ironically, during the same broadcast, Gibson highlighted an award bestowed upon the late Peter Jennings, who, during his reign at ABC News, had himself exhibited a long history of bias against Israel, as documented in this MRC compilation: www.mrc.org

     Gibson introduced the story on the war's "legacy" and informed viewers that the U.S. "is investigating whether Israel used [cluster bombs] improperly."

     Charles Gibson: "We are going to take 'A Closer Look' tonight at a legacy of the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. The legacy being small but powerful explosives, 'bomblets' they are called, scattered all across Southern Lebanon. They were unleashed by the cluster bombs that Israel dropped by the thousands. The U.S., which manufactured most of the bombs, is investigating whether Israel used them improperly. But no one disputes that the bombs are injuring and killing civilians right now. ABC's Wilf Dinnick is in Southern Lebanon."

     Dinnick soon introduced Samhat as a "former American soldier" who "works for the UN's Mine Action Center." Dinnick: "This former American soldier is trying to collect the small bomblets before civilians stumble on them....Jihad Samhat is from California. He now works for the UN's Mine Action Center."

     After describing the dangers of unexploded bomblets and recounting an example of a young man killed after stepping on a bomblet, Dinnick relayed that Lebanon "accuses Israel of violating international law by dropping the bombs in populated areas."

     Dinnick gave an Israeli government spokesman a 5-second sound bite to defend his military's actions: "Israeli officials argue they had no choice."
     Mark Regev, Israeli Government Spokesman: "One of the problems of the recent conflict in Lebanon was that Hezbollah, of course, used the Lebanese population as a human shield."

     Dinnick concluded with a soundbite of Samhat contending that the American public would agree with him that cluster bombs should not be used. Samhat: "I would definitely say that the population of the United States of America would agree with me that cluster munitions are a bad thing and they should not be used."

     Although the story briefly alluded to the tendency of Hezbollah terrorists to locate their military targets in civilian areas, the story did not mention other facts that might have cast the Israeli military in a more favorable light or at least put the issue into greater perspective. For example, the Israeli military had a policy of dropping leaflets on civilian areas to warn them of airstrikes. Additionally, other nations -- including even NATO members during the Kosovo War , and the U.S. during the Iraq War, have also attracted criticism in their use of cluster bombs. And, while the U.S. population has not been polled directly on the subject, the U.S. Senate has already spoken on the issue by voting down, by a 70 to 30 margin, a proposal by Democrats to try to further restrict where the U.S. and Israel can use cluster bombs.

     As for Samhat's history of Israel-bashing, on his blog posting dated July 31, after referring to airstrikes at Qana as a "massacre," Samhat complained about the "Israeli terror machine" that "has brought silence to dozens of civilians."

     In an August 2 posting, Samhat accused Israel of "targeting civilians trying to escape." Samhat: "The IDF has informed residents of the south to evacuate however as you may already know targeted and killed many innocent civilians in there attempt to escape."

     On August 3, Samhat again labelled an attack on Qana as a "massacre," and railed against Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's "aggressive, arrogant, tried, and failed foreign policy."

     Samhat further attacked Israel and the U.S. for committing "murder" and "barbaric aggressions": "The more you murder and kill the innocent, the more you will be pitching people united against you.!! You are the ones who are fostering and brewing hatred, because everyone here has lost someone or something as a result of your barbaric aggressions."

     He also called on Israel and America to "be fair and not greedy." Samhat: "So try something new....It's called reasoning and diplomacy, it's called reaching out and RESPECT for others. It's called being fair and not greedy!!! I believe that's all it will take and only what will work to finally reach an everlasting PEACE."

     The August 5 entries were re-written and ran as an article at peacereporter.net: www.peacereporter.net

     Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Friday October 6 World News with Charles Gibson, followed by transcripts of relevant portions of Jihad Samhat's blog entries:

     Charles Gibson: "We are going to take 'A Closer Look' tonight at a legacy of the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. The legacy being small but powerful explosives, 'bomblets' they are called, scattered all across Southern Lebanon. They were unleashed by the cluster bombs that Israel dropped by the thousands. The U.S., which manufactured most of the bombs, is investigating whether Israel used them improperly. But no one disputes that the bombs are injuring and killing civilians right now. ABC's Wilf Dinnick is in Southern Lebanon."

     Wilf Dinnick: "They litter the Lebanese countryside -- small as a soda can, lying in the rubble, hidden in the dirt. Cluster bombs so lethal, they can pierce armor."
     Jihad Samhat, UN Mine Action Center: "These are the clusters that are in this town alone."
     Dinnick: "This former American soldier is trying to collect the small bomblets before civilians stumble on them."
     Samhat: "This is a strike area."
     Dinnick: "Jihad Samhat is from California. He now works for the UN's Mine Action Center."
     Samhat: "This specific type of cluster is an M-42, American cluster bomb."
     Dinnick: "Israel dropped more than 100,000 shells filled with cluster bombs on Lebanon during the 34-day war. And most of them were made in America. More than a month after the cease-fire, they are still exploding -- triggered by the slightest touch, injuring on average, three people a day. It has become especially dangerous now that the people of Southern Lebanon have begun to return to towns like this one, where they're rebuilding homes, starting to work the orchards, and they're finding hundreds of unexploded cluster bombs. Khalil Turkiya's 24-year-old son, Ali, was picking lemons in the family orchard when he stepped on one. 'Ali survived the war,' he says, 'only to be killed last week.' The Lebanese army accuses Israel of violating international law by dropping the bombs in populated areas. Israeli officials argue they had no choice."
     Mark Regev, Israeli government spokesman: "One of the problems of the recent conflict in Lebanon was that Hezbollah, of course, used the Lebanese population as a human shield."
     Samhat: "I would definitely say that the population of the United States of America would agree with me that cluster munitions are a bad thing and they should not be used."
     Dinnick: "Samhat says his team is finding and safely destroying a handful of cluster bombs every day. But the UN estimates there may be as many as one million still out there. Wilf Dinnick, ABC News, Zaoutar, Lebanon."

     Below are relevant portions of Jihad Samhat's blog entries:

     From August 3:

I never felt sadder than this anytime in my life, and kept asking myself on our way back to Tyre "why does the world let this go on.?"

Even after the images the night before of the Qana massacre, and the outcry for an immediate and long-lasting ceasefire the Israeli PM Ehud Olmert asked Ms. Condy Rice for another 12-14 days to finish the job.

For God sake!! Hasn't enough innocent blood been shed? Haven't enough lives been destroyed? Doesn't he realize that this same aggressive, arrogant, tried, and failed foreign policy doesn't work here? That he is creating more hatred towards him and his people.

I think its time the U.S. and Israel wake up! Your foreign policy doesn't work! If it did there would have been peace along time ago!! We are not Japan!! You cannot bring Lebanon to its knees!!

The more you murder and kill the innocent, the more you will be pitching people united against you.!! You are the ones who are fostering and brewing hatred, because everyone here has lost someone or something as a result of your barbaric aggressions.

Stop this madness!! And really think about what you're trying to accomplish! It CAN'T be done with FORCE!! It could NEVER be done with FORCE! You have tried again and again, and you have FAILED again and again!!!

So try something new....It's called reasoning and diplomacy, it's called reaching out and RESPECT for others. It's called being fair and not greedy!!! I believe that's all it will take and only what will work to finally reach an everlasting PEACE.

Jihad Samhat

Let's give PEACE a chance‚€¶.!

     From August 2:

The IDF has informed residents of the south to evacuate however as you may already know targeted and killed many innocent civilians in there attempt to escape. Therefore, many innocent civilians were afraid to stay in there towns and villages and afraid to leave due to the risk of being targeted.

     From July 30:

Dear All,

I am writing you this with a deeper sadness then ever. Today has by far been the worst day since the start of this war. I woke up this morning to hear of another massacre in Qana (village south of Tyre), it was like de ja vu. Only ten years ago (1996) this was the place of a gross massacre which happened inside a UN peacekeepers compound which killed over one hundred-fifty civilians, still very fresh in everyone?s memories.

Now again the Israeli terror machine has brought silence to dozens of civilians. I am totally destroyed at the number of children I counted being removed from underneath the rubble of what was a civilian shelter. With my own eyes I counted twenty-seven dead children, not including the women and the elderly. I could not keep count anymore. I want to SCREAM!!! Why!!!

Is our War time President George W and his puppet Tony Blair protecting the American and British public by endorsing and sponsoring all of this murder in the name of ?Fighting Terror???? Or are they in fact laying the corner stones for more terror cells to emerge out of hate for the West and their allies.

I have included photo attachments of the massacre in Qana. I choose not to include graphic pictures of dead children and civilians. For those of you, who wish to see those graphic images, just watch Al Jazera TV or I?m sure you can find them on the net (there?s plenty).

The photos includ the destroyed house that fifty-plus (now dead) civilians were seeking shelter in and other destroyed homes in the area. Also a picture of one of the youngest survivors a four year old boy named Hasan Shalhoub lying in his hospital bed. Unfortunately his six year old sister didn?t make it.

Enough is Enough!! Speak Loud against this terror machine that is sponsored by the West.

Sincerly Jihad Samhat

Give PEACE a Chance

     END of blog excerpts

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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