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NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children

By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept
17 Jul 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American with extensive experience reporting on that region. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English, where his reporting on the 2008 Israeli assault on Gaza made him a star of the network. NBC aggressively pursued him to leave Al Jazeera, paying him far more than the standard salary for its on-air correspondents.

Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli planes of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

Mohyeldin recounted how, moments before their death, he was kicking a soccer ball with the four boys, who were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family. He posted numerous chilling details on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, including the victims’ names and ages, photographs he took of their anguished parents, and video of one of their mothers as she learned about the death of her young son. He interviewed one of the wounded boys at the hospital shortly before being operated on. He then appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, where he dramatically recounted what he saw…


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BREAKING NEWS/UPDATE #1 (4:00PM EDT,  7/17/14): In the comments of this brief diary on the breaking news, a h/t to Kossack Beltane for directing us to this link: “Israeli military begins ground offensive in Gaza – live updates,” at the Guardian.

END OF UPDATE #1


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UPDATE #2 (3:30AM EDT,  7/18/14):


Currently Trending on Twitter:
#LetAymanReport
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The latest from HuffPo, from a few hours ago...


Questions Surround NBC's Removal Of Ayman Mohyeldin From Gaza

Michael Calderone
Huffington Post
Posted: 07/17/2014 8:54 pm EDT Updated: 11:45 pm EDT

NEW YORK -- When Israel invaded Gaza in early 2009, Ayman Mohyeldin was one of the only journalists present to bear witness. He covered Israeli air strikes on Gaza in late 2012, and on Wednesday he movingly reported on an attack that killed four Palestinian children playing on a beach.

But Mohyeldin, one of the most experienced reporters when it comes to Gaza, was not there Thursday… …He didn’t report on the conflict from another city in the region, such as Jerusalem or Cairo. And Moyheldin didn't surface on social media, where he's built a large following and regularly provides on-the-ground tweets, photos and videos.

NBC News' decision to pull Mohyeldin from Gaza has angered and baffled fellow journalists, inside and outside the network, as well as fans of his reporting worldwide. The network declined to comment on why he is no longer reporting from Gaza…

…Moyheldin's reporting has earned him respect far from 30 Rock, with his social media coverage of the tragic beach attack going viral. Mohyeldin tweeted Wednesday about having just played soccer with the children killed on the beach near several hotels where foreign journalists are staying. He covered their parents' heartbreaking reaction on both Facebook and Instagram. Mohyeldin also worked on a TV package that was broadcast later on "NBC Nightly News."…

…There's been speculation that Mohyeldin could have rankled NBC News executives with a since-removed tweet and Facebook post describing the State Department as having said it considered Hamas ultimately responsible for the Israeli strike on the beach because it did not agree to a ceasefire.

But the source with knowledge of the network's decision told HuffPost that the deleted tweet and Facebook post were not given internally as reasons behind Mohyeldin's removal...

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From independent journalist Rania Khalek, and per the HuffPo article, more on the deleted tweet and Facebook posts…



Courtesy of Mondoweiss.net (definitely worth clicking on this link for more on this story), here's a better version of NBC News reporter Ayman Mohyeldin's latest tweet on his Facebook page, which was removed on Wednesday...

The tweet that was removed from NBC News reporter Ayman Mohyeldin's Facebook page.
END OF UPDATE #2

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UPDATE #3 (2:00PM EDT,  7/18/14):


CNN Removes Reporter Diana Magnay From Israel-Gaza After 'Scum' Tweet

Michael Calderone
Huffington Post
Posted: 07/18/2014 9:32 am EDT

NEW YORK -- CNN has removed correspondent Diana Magnay from covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after she tweeted that Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza, and who had allegedly threatened her, were “scum.”

“After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

“She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew," the spokeswoman continued. "She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken.”

The spokeswoman said Magnay has been assigned to Moscow.

Magnay appeared on CNN Thursday from a hill overlooking the Israel-Gaza border. While she reported, Israelis could be heard near her cheering as missiles were fired at Gaza...

Here’s Magnay's tweet, which I had (also) archived late yesterday, before the news of her being pulled from the story went public…
Deleted tweet of CNN reporter Diana Magnay (from Thursday, July 17th, 2014).
…The tweet was quickly removed, but not before it had been retweeted more than 200 times.

The removal of Magnay comes a day after NBC News pulled Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza…

END OF UPDATE #3

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UPDATE #4 (3:45 PM EDT,  7/18/14):


ACTION ITEMS:

I've been made aware of two petitions that are circulating online in support of Ayman Mohyeldin which have come to the fore over the past 48 hours. I urge all readers to sign both of them!

Jewish Voice for Peace: Reinstate Ayman Mohyeldin

Change.org: End Censorship, Bring Back Ayman Mohyeldin to Report From Gaza

END OF UPDATE #4

AND, BACK TO MY ORIGINAL POST, BELOW...


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Greenwald continues, “Despite this powerful first-hand reporting – or perhaps because of it – Mohyeldin was nowhere to be seen on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast with Brian Williams.”

Readers are informed, “Curiously…as Media Bistro’s Jordan Chariton noted, NBC…” opted to have reporter Richard Engel “…– who was in Tel Aviv, and had just arrived there an hour or so earlier – ‘report’ on the attack. Charlton wrote that ‘the decision to have Engel report the story for ‘Nightly’ instead of Mohyeldin angered some NBC News staffers.’”

At this point, Greenwald introduces some exclusive information into the mix which discloses NBC’s ulterior motives in play: He reports “..some of the network’s highest-profile stars, were at first confused and then indignant over the use of Engel rather than Mohyeldin to report the story. But what they did not know, and what has not been reported until now, is that Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.” [Bold type is diarist's emphasis.]

We’re provided with greater context, as we learn that, in recent weeks, “’pro-Israel’ websites have repeatedly attacked” Mohyeldin, referring to him as a “Hamas spokesman” who spouts pro-Hamas rants.

Greenwald refers us to U.S. online reports that note how “…Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage…”

The story concludes…

…Gazans may have no way out of Gaza, but at this point, Mohyeldin seems to have no way back in. After several requests, NBC executives have not yet provided any on-the-record statements; they will be added if provided.
Funny how these types of stories play out in the U.S. MSM these days, isn’t it? (Not so much.)

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Here are the latest tweets from Jeremy Scahill on this status quo media travesty (h/t Glenn)…

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Originally posted to http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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