Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tony Harris, CNN anchor

Harris is not any more biased than the other CNN anchors, but his tone and language is clearly pro-Israel -- which, in this case, means he attempts to justify their military attacks and killings. below is part of the transcript from his Jan. 1 interview of NYT correspondent El-Khodary. the first detail is his casual use of the word "take out" to describe an israeli assassination that also killed numerous civilians. this is a less-conscious sort of justification. the second point, more explicit, is further down where, after El-Khodary gives what he considers too much information regarding the massacre of civilians, he uses a prosecutorial, patronizing tone, cross-examining her, pushing her to give a "yes or no answer." it is as if she is an enemy sympathizer who is unwilling to present the "facts" justifying israeli acts, and he is the tough-minded, american man who must make her 'fess up. i marked the two parts in bold. even though el-khodary gets excoriated by arab media for her fawning, pro-israel tone (see "angry arab news service" where she is described as the "token arab"), clearly the facts she related that morning reflected a little too negatively on israel for harris' tastes.

But right now let's get you to Gaza right now.

"New York Times" correspondent Taghreed El-Khodary is back with us. She was with us, as you'll recall, yesterday.

And it's good to see you again.

Thanks for your time again.

As we recap this story, obviously, an Israeli missile struck the home of a top Hamas military commander. If you can tell us who he was and how important he was to Hamas and the significance of him being taken out by the IDF.

TAGHREED EL-KHODARY, "NEW YORK TIMES": Nizar Rayyan, 48, was very important in Hamas, especially in the military wing of Hamas. For him, he wanted to stay home. He knew he is a target -- a big target, a big number in Israel to -- and Israel will be delighted now that they killed him. But he decided to die. And when I asked many Kassam guys today, what do you think -- that he risked his life, he knew he was wanted.

Why did he stay with his family -- with his wife and kids?

Why did he do that?

And they said that he always wanted to die as a martyr. Last time I interviewed him, he showed me his dissertation. He did his Ph.D. In Sudan and it was about martyrdom. And he collected all the Prophet Muhammad's sayings in regards to this topic.

The thing is, he is very important for the Kassam, especially in the north area. And it will be a loss.

But the question is, Israel killed a leader -- a Kassam leader -- during the second intifada. But it was not the end of Hamas after the second intifada, Hamas won the election.

And for many Kassam guys, this guy decided to die as a martyr. He didn't want to evacuate his house out of fear.

You can hear the bombing right now. Israel is striking again. We don't know when, but just now I heard an explosion. And that's why I have...

HARRIS: No, no. I understand. And, again, if you feel unsafe, just -- just leave. You're encouraged to do that. There have been several other Israeli...

EL-KHODARY: In regard...

HARRIS: No, go ahead.

EL-KHODARY: No in regard, also, to the Kassam guy who was killed today, Nizar Rayyan, he was again evacuating his house. And many times, Israel is certain to bomb many other houses.

And what did he do?

He employed all the Kassam members and he went and he stationed on the roof. For him, someone -- a friend of his says, for him, it could be a surrender -- a failure.


EL-KHODARY: It's a matter of principle to die in your house and to die as a martyr. This is the culture among the Kassam guys here.

HARRIS: I see.

EL-KHODARY: So for them, it may be strengthening them. And for Israel, he is someone that they killed and it's a target, but it's not the end of the military wing of Kassam.

HARRIS: All right. I have one more quick question that I want to put to you. There have been several other Israeli air strikes on this particular refugee camp, as we're seeing the pictures now. If you would, describe that camp and why the Israelis consider this a legitimate target, despite the fact that women and children are obviously living there.

EL-KHODARY: Israel -- last night, what did they hit?

They strike the parliament -- people's place. They also strike -- they bombed the ministry of justice, which is adjacent to the minister of education. The minister of education is completely now destroyed, too. And many institutions -- the specific infrastructure is completely destroyed.

These are not Hamas targets. And the mood today when I spoke to many people, what do you think?

They say, after six days, it's now becoming clear that this is war against the people against the people -- against the citizens of Gaza. It's not war against Hamas, because Israel is targeting civic infrastructure...

HARRIS: I understand...

EL-KHODARY: When it comes to the refugee camp, Jabalya, it's in the north. They fire rockets from the north toward Israel. And the Kassam succeeded in firing rockets toward Israel. But many kids are killed when Israel retaliates, when Israel decides to bomb a house of a military guy...

HARRIS: I understand...

EL-KHODARY: the Kassam...

HARRIS: Let me ask

EL-KHODARY: ...the...

HARRIS: Let me ask a very...

EL-KHODARY: ...and his house is adjacent to many civilians.


But let me ask a very simple question that requires, in this case, a simple answer.

Are Hamas rockets being fired from within the walls of this refugee camp, yes or no?

EL-KHODARY: Yes, they do. Yes.


EL-KHODARY: And I asked one of the senior leaders, why do you fire the rockets from residential neighborhood?

Why do you fire rockets from women?

And this is the answer -- no other choice. Gaza is the size of Detroit. And 1.5 million live here where there are no places for them to fire from them but from among the population. So...


EL-KHODARY: ...this is the frustration. And it's a challenge and they are taking it.

HARRIS: "New York Times" correspondent Taghreed el-Khodary with us again.

And we appreciate your time.

Thank you so much for your reporting.

And, again, as always, stay safe.

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