(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) The far-left cable network MSNBC has been experiencing quite a dilemma over how to cover the recent terrorist attack on Israel, an issue which has Democrats divided down the middle with little room for compromise.
After facing heavy criticism last week from the Anti-Defamation League for its sympathetic coverage of Hamas, the network appears to have over-corrected—at least according to some—by removing three former Al Jazeera propagandists from their anchor positions, citing solidarity with the Jewish state, Semafor reported.
“We have and will continue to cover the barbaric terrorist attacks on defenseless civilians in Israel last weekend and the tragic war it has provoked thoroughly and in all their dimensions,” Stephen Labaton, NBCUniversal’s executive vice president of communications, wrote in a statement.
MSNBC recently canceled the Mehdi Hasan Show on Peacock and reversed its former plan for Ayman Mohyeldin to fill in for Joy Reid on Thursdays and Fridays.
It also pulled Ali Velshi—who interviewed a Palestinian Authority spokesman on Sunday—from his show, and replaced him with Alicia Menendez.
Oddly, MSNBC claimed that the simultaneous moves were “coincidental” and not related to the conflict in the Middle East.
The Al Jazeera network where the three correspondents cut their teeth is notorious for being the state-run mouthpiece of Qatar, an Islamic monarchy that, like Saudi Arabia, has a mutually amicable relationship with the West but a questionable track record of supporting typical democratic freedoms—as some discovered during the most recent World Cup.
Moreover, Mohyeldin, the network’s most experienced reporter in Gaza, has a history of aggressively questioning Israel’s policies and leadership, particularly with respect to the nation–state’s relations to Palestine. He was pulled from the air temporarily in 2014, with MSNBC citing undisclosed “security reasons.”
But while it may have had good reasons for its decision, MSNBC now faces wild accusations of “ethnic cleansing” and other equally outlandish charges for the removal of the three Muslim news hosts.
The ethnic cleansing of MSNBC. https://t.co/AY0nuMfmXg
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) October 13, 2023
According to the Semafor report, the conflict has caused much turmoil within the ranks at MSNBC.
Per the report, an NBCUniversal employee created a Slack channel dedicated to supporting those at the company who were aggrieved by the conflict.
But the channel quickly devolved into a tense debate about the relative merits of Hamas and Israel. Engaged in that debate was Ali Velshi’s producer.
“There’s no Palestinian representation at this?” Velshi’s producer asked, adding that some in the chat had written “incredibly offensive things” about Muslims.