Why Can't CBS Be Honest About Jihad Against Christians?
After the Boston marathon bombings, it is especially revolting to learn that the chair of CBS News, Jeff Fager, was invited by his Episcopalian rector in Connecticut to present a program of deliberate misinformation about jihadi attacks on Christians in Bethlehem.
The Christians of Bethlehem have a terrible problem of persecution at the hands of jihadi and other thuggish Muslims in their community. They get no protection from the P.A. and no help from the international community.
As one Christian community leader in Bethlehem vividly described to Ynetnews:
Come throughout the year and see the intimidation from the Muslims. They have burned down our stores, built mosques in front of our churches, stole our real estate and took away our rights. Women have been raped and abducted. So don't tell me about Israel. It's the Muslims.
This is not subtle or hard to find out about. Yet Sixty Minutes produced a show full of easily checked lies trying to blame Jews for Christian suffering. Then the Sunday after Easter, the chairman of CBS News goes to his own Episcopalian Church to spread the lies in person. What does it say about the status of truth about jihad, that when a mainstream media outlet joins with a mainline liberal church to talk about persecution of Christians in Bethlehem, we can predict this kind of outcome?
In the words of media watch group CAMERA:
(the Sixty Minutes program) was nothing more than a hatchet job that blamed Israel for the suffering of Christians in the Holy Land and, in a particularly incendiary false charge, claimed Israel's security barrier "completely surrounds Bethlehem, turning the 'little town' where Christ was born into what its residents call 'an open air prison.'"
Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News, has refused to issue an on air correction and then has the lack of moral scruples to repeat these lies at his church, St. Mark's Episcopal Church in New Canaan, Connecticut, the week after Easter. And he had the gall to whine to his fellow Episcopalians that CBS was the victim. Boo hoo, bullied by the media watch group CAMERA and the thousands viewers who complained about the Sixty Minutes lies!
CAMERA sent the wonderful Dexter van Zile to the church lecture. He immediately offered Fager $5000 to be given to a charity of his choice if Fager could prove Bethlehem is surrounded by a wall. Fager told the congregation he would, but no surprise, Dexter's phone hasn't rung. Maybe it's because of how easy it is to google and find this map.
And where are our liberal churches? Fager was invited to talk about the controversy by his rector at St. Mark's, Rev. Peter Walsh, who asked Fager to show the segment and discuss the response, this as part of a program allegedly designed to promote interfaith relations called Abrahams Tent. Some tent. The day happened to be Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Is it possible that Sixty Minutes produced a show on Bethlehem without any of their writers, reporters or producers having visited Bethlehem to see for themselves it is not surrounded by a prison wall in the form of the Green Line security fence? Sadly, yes. Our liberal media routinely rely on Palestinian "journalists" to write the news they report to us, without fact checking, and without telling viewers the source.
Surely after being informed that Bethlehem is not surrounded by Israel or a fence (they needed angry viewers to point this out?), someone could have turned to the internet and found a map? Rev. Walsh might have checked it out, since he wanted to cover the controversy?
Not content to set up this Israel-bashing program, Rev. Walsh in his introduction told his congregation that Fager is "a man of extraordinary integrity...a man of grace...a trustworthy soul." The rector then enthused, Fager is going "to tell you some stories that are really, really cool and really valuable for us to hear." Who needs to check facts when you've got a great story that puts Jews in the wrong?
Yet CBS got one thing right. Bethlehem is sort of an open air prison for Christians these days, a prison of Islamic terror. I was there before the PA took over, when it was a relaxed place to visit with a large Arab Christian community, safe under Israel's watch. I also visited after the security barrier was built, when the visit was hurried, depressing and tense, not because of Israelis but because Arafat had unleashed his murder campaign called the second intifada.
I have also educated myself about what it is like when a community fears for their families' lives. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to understand how people behave when they are a tiny dhimmi minority surrounded by Muslims, their daughters are being raped and their businesses attacked. They jump to their masters' whip. Told to blame the Jews, they blame the Jews. Told to say the Muslim persecutors are sweet men of peace, they comply. Asked questions by a journalist, they notice the eavesdropping loungers and say what is safe, not what is true.
It shouldn't be hard for 60 Minutes to do an accurate show on Christians in the Middle East. Good information is easily accessible. What's the problem? If CBS can't get jihadi attacks on Christians in Bethlehem right, if the Episcopalian Church is too seduced by attacking Israel to defend Arab Christians, what chance is there these widely trusted institutions will be truthful and responsible about jihad in America? When it comes to moral leadership in America, there's a vacuum on the left, and jihadists know how to take full advantage.