August 8, 2005, - 7:55 am
By Debbie Schlussel
While the rest of the world is blindly singing the praises of Peter Jennings, here’s a reality check: Peter Jennings did more for the cause of Islamic terrorism than any media figure today. And that’s nothing to celebrate, honor, or even memorialize.
Before there was Al Jazeera, there was Peter Jennings.
From the beginning of Jennings’ career until his death, his biased coverage went beyond the pale, bending over backward in “understanding” the terrorists who hate us– from seeing “their side” when he covered the siege and then murder of innocent Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics to honoring an Al-Qaeda operative with a prized “commentator” spot during Jennings coverage of the 9/11 attacks.
Throughout Jennings’ coverage of the attacks, he frequently featured a man named Tariq Hamdi (whose commentary urged understanding for the radical Muslim world), identifying Hamdi only as “journalist” on the chyron.
But, in fact, Jennings’ friend Hamdi was no journalist at all. As I’ve written, Hamdi was an alleged Bin Laden associate and employed by Islamic Jihad’s U.S. frontman, Sami Al-Arian.
According to prosecutors and documents in the 1998 trial of the Bin-Laden bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa (the 7th anniversary of which was yesterday), Hamdi provided Bin Laden a satellite battery instrumental in those bombings. He’s also an unindicted co-conspirator with Islamic Jihad frontman Sami Al-Arian, who employed him at his Islamic “charity” fronts at the University of South Florida. Hamdi was also an employee of a Saudi-funded charity raided by Customs agents for allegedly laundering billions to Qaeda through the Isle of Man.
This is the type of “journalist” and “commentator” Jennings frequently employed in his so-called newscast of which he was an all-controlling editor.
I always say, pillow talk is the most effective form of political speech. And it apparently had its effect on Jennings early on. When developing and heading up ABC’s Beirut headquarters, Jennings dated (euphemism) Palestinian “beauty” Hanan Ashrawi. And it colored his vitriolic, anti-American, anti-Israel coverage ever since.
Then there were the sneers, the sneers of a Canadian high school drop-out for anything conservative, anything mainstream, anything pro-Western, pro-Israel, etc. Jennings’ sneers and snide comments were always evident for those who did not meet his very left-of-center point of view. A great example was his sneering during the 2000 vote recount, and after, when Bush was declared President. Another was his sneering just after the 9/11 attacks when Bush delivered his speech to a joint session of Congress. Jennings’ elitist sneers will NOT be missed.
While I never wish death upon anyone, it’s only sad that Jennings despicable brand of advocacy journalism–parading as “news”–wasn’t laid to rest along with him.
Unfortunately, that will not happen. Sadly, the female, more personable, non-toupeed version of Jennings–Elizabeth Vargas–is set to step into Jennings’ shoes. She got off to a great Jennings-esque start in her first hosting duties at ABC’s “20/20,” last fall. She delivered a very sympathetic profile and interview of HAMAS operative and fundraiser Cat Stevens. Expect more of this to come.
It’s sad when anyone dies of cancer. I won’t dance on Jennings’ grave, the way he danced on the graves of young, innocent athletes slaughtered at the Munich Olympics–the way he blasphemed their murders with his shallow, understand-the-Islamic-terrorists coverage. Unlike the murdered Munich athletes he dishonored, Jennings died in peace and without pain. He got to say good-bye to his loved ones. They did not.
I will remember Peter Jennings for the less than honorable person he was–not the emperor with no clothing that is now being memorialized.
Jennings used to end his newscasts with, “And that’s a look at our world.” No, it wasn’t a look at our world, at all. It was Peter Jennings’ slanted world, and every day he acted as if he was doing us a favor giving us his warped look at it.
Jennings’ legacy is helping advance the cause of Islamic terrorists on broadcast television, parading it as news. He wrote his own epitaph with it. Unfortunately, it came with a lot more tombstones and epitaphs than just Jennings’–and most of those buried beneath are a whole lot more innocent.
They are the victims of Islamic terrorism–the brand Peter Jennings helped build into a network news product. That cancer, unfortunately, is still here. And it has metastasized.
***UPDATE: Here’s more on Peter Jennings’ “journalist” buddy, Tariq Hamdi, now indicted on immigration and mortgage fraud. Makes Jennings’ claim–that Hamdi (who has ZERO journalism experience) was a “journalist”–even more outrageous.
(Read more on the REAL Peter Jennings.)
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