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

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

Report No

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

By Glenn Greenwald

July 17, 2014 "
- "
" -

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

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

aggressively pursued him
to leave Al Jazeera,
paying him far more than the standard salary for its
on-air correspondents.


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

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


Instagram accounts
, including the

victims’ names and ages
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.

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. Instead, as Media Bistro’s Jordan Charlton

, NBC curiously had 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.”

numerous NBC employees, including 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

Over the
last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far

balanced and even-handed
 than the standard
pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment
American press coverage; his reports have provided
context to the conflict that is missing from most
American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli
government talking points as truth. As a result,
neocon and “pro-Israel” websites have repeatedly
attacked him as
a “Hamas spokesman”
 and spouting
“pro-Hamas rants.

Last week,
as he passed over the border from Israel,

he said on air
that “you can understand why some
human rights organizations call Gaza ‘the world’s
largest outdoor prison,’”and added: “One of the
major complaints and frustrations among many people
is that this is a form of collective punishment. You
have 1.7 million people in this territory, now being
bombarded, with really no way out.”

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.

© 2014
First Look Productions, Inc. All rights


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