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Action! 60 Minutes Distorts Again

ACTION ALERT - 60 Minutes Distorts Again


HELP COUNTER BIAS IN “60 MINUTES” FEBRUARY 17 SEGMENT ON ISRAEL’S IRON DOME

WRITE TO CBS AND “60 MINUTES” TO DEMAND FAIR AND ACCURATE REPORTING



On Sunday, February 17, journalist Bob Simon ran a “60 Minutes” segment that concluded with a chilling anti-Israel message. Most of the episode, “Will Israel’s 'Iron Dome' Help Bring Peace” (which may be seen here), accurately described the devastating impact of the thousands of rockets Hamas has fired into Israel’s southern communities and the threats posed by Hezbollah’s 50,000 rockets. For approximately 10 minutes, the story justly praised Israel’s innovative, high-tech missile defense system and reported how Iron Dome has saved lives and reduced the anxiety associated with such terrifying terrorist attacks, allowing Israelis to carry on with their daily lives. But in the last few minutes, Simon suddenly changed the subject. He insinuated that Israel is an uncooperative U.S. ally because even as it accepts U.S. aid to help finance Iron Dome, it continues to build IN settlements despite U.S. requests that it stop. He implied that America should not give military aid until Israel stops all building in the settlements.

It is appalling that Simon would send this message after describing how Iron Dome has saved lives. He seems to be suggesting that Israelis should once again be victims of indiscriminate rocket attacks, their lives sacrificed, if Israel doesn’t comply with U.S. demands about settlements. In short, Simon is recommending a policy akin to blackmail. His implication that settlements are the obstacle to peace is counter-factual and can be made only by omitting all context. Simon never mentions that Hamas’ hostility has nothing to do with Israeli West Bank settlements. Hamas is committed to the “obliteration” of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist caliphate, according to its founding charter and the statements of its leaders. Simon never mentions that Israel removed all Israeli presence in Gaza in 2005 and implemented a West Bank settlement freeze for 10 months in 2010 but that these moves did not reduce Palestinian hostility or terrorism. Nor does he mention that the main obstacle to peace is the Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to resume direct negotiations.

Further, Simon’s insinuation that Israel is an uncooperative U.S. ally is very misleading. No U.S. ally or foreign aid recipient is forced to comply with all U.S. positions. In fact, U.S. aid to Israel has been one of America’s best foreign aid investments. Israel is one of America’s staunchest allies. The countries are partners in shared values as well as in defense, research, and technological development. Furthermore, U.S. aid comes with rigid stipulations, with which Israel complies, and Israeli decision-makers are extremely sensitive to America’s interests, which, overwhelmingly, align with its own interests. Finally, the viewer never learns that Palestinians have also received billions in American aid since 1993, while Palestinian leaders have consistently worked at cross-purposes to U.S. entreaties for democracy-building and peace negotiations.

CONTACT CBS EXECUTIVES TO TELL THEM THAT THEIR OMISSIONS AND DISTORTIONS ARE UNACCEPTABLE.  The information is below the sample letter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear____,

I was deeply disturbed by the omissions and distortions in Bob Simon’s February 17 “60 Minutes” segment, “Will Israel’s 'Iron Dome' Help Bring Peace?” While Simon admirably described the existential threats Israel faces and how Iron Dome saves lives, he concluded with an about-face, sending the message that perhaps the U.S. should stop military aid to Israel, even for something as life-saving as Iron Dome, until all construction in the settlements stops. This is a pernicious message that implicitly advocates blackmailing Israel and potentially sacrificing Israeli lives. It also falsely assumes that settlements are the primary obstacle to peace while neglecting to mention the real obstacles: Hamas’ goal of “obliterating” Israel and Palestinian refusal to return to direct negotiations. Furthermore, the segment defames Israel as an ungrateful U.S. ally when, in fact, Israel is one of America’s staunchest and most loyal allies.

I urge you to correct this bias and these omissions and to ensure that, in the future, “60 Minutes” segments are more accurate and more balanced.



WRITE, E-MAIL, OR CALL THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS, AND BE SURE TO BLIND COPY [email protected] IN YOUR E-MAILS.

60 Minutes"
Jeffrey Fager -- Chairman of CBS News, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes
524 West 57th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10019-2930

E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 212.975.2006

Bill Owens -- Executive Editor of "60 Minutes"
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 212.975.7685

CBS News
524 W. 57th Street
New York, New York 10019

Feedback E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 212.975.3247 (Leave a message at the tone.)
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