Rantz: Historically illiterate KOMO-TV report uses anti-Semitic themes, language

Jul 18, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2022, 9:08 am
(Photo by Can Merey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Can Merey/picture alliance via Getty Images)
(Photo by Can Merey/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Sinclair Broadcasting’s KOMO-TV repeatedly broadcast anti-Semitic themes in a report on the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia. It used copy that would make Hamas proud.

After President Joe Biden returned from his Middle East trip, KOMO’s Michelle Esteban said that the president acknowledged that the ground is not ready for a new peace agreement between Israel and “Palestine.” Esteban then states as fact that “both nations lay claim to the West Bank and Gaza” and that “Palestinians have endured 55 years of military occupation there.”

The copy is not merely historically illiterate. It uses anti-Semitic talking points.

Historically illiterate report

Israel does not “lay claim” to Gaza.

It withdrew forces — and Israeli settlers — in 2005. It does not control day-to-day life in Gaza, but Israel must engage in strict security around its borders because, in 2006, the terrorist organization Hamas took control.

Hamas actively seeks to destroy Israel and routinely engages in terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians, necessitating tight Israeli security outside of Gaza at the border. This is not an occupation. It’s basic border security.

Of note is that Egypt, too, shares a border with Gaza but is seldom mentioned or criticized because anti-Semites singularly blame Israel for every Middle East conflict.

Mention of “Palestine”

KOMO cites “Palestine,” but it does not exist as a nation, nor is it recognized by the United States. And the land in the region does not belong to Palestinians — legally or culturally.

“Historically speaking, the language of referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as being ‘one of an occupation’ where you necessarily have an occupying power and an occupied oppressed power … generations of Americans, and really just people following this conflict from all around the world … would have recognized this as really just stacking the deck entirely against Israel, as being really anti-Zionist to its core. And I would argue pretty much actually anti-Semitic,” said Josh Hammer, attorney and frequent commentator on Israel-related issues/foreign policy, to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Hammer notes international law — along with the history of the region — sides with Israel.

“What’s interesting is that no one who uses the language of occupation can actually explain why it is that Israel is actually occupying anything,” Hammer notes.

“So after the Six Day War, which was an entirely defensive war, Israel was almost annihilated nearly 19 years after it was founded. After that, [Israel] controlled large swaths of what the media will tell you as being the West Bank, when it’s just the Jewish biblical historical homeland of Judea and Samaria. But if you go back and look, if you actually do the history … at what Israel was carved out of following World War One … Israel actually always had the greatest international law claim. Always. Since the day it was founded in 1948. Because those are the borders that were actually established after the European powers carved up the Middle East. So these people have no idea what they’re talking about, they have not actually done the reading,” Hammer noted.

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Anchor ‘uses anti-Semitic language’

Hamas routinely refers to Jews as “occupiers” to justify terrorist attacks against Israel. KOMO’s news copy mirrors the language.

The term has been mainstreamed by American media and politicians antagonistic towards Israel. It presents Israel as the oppressors and Palestinians as the oppressed.

“This KOMO news clip, unfortunately, whether this anchor realizes it or not, she is using anti-Semitic language to describe the conflict. It just shows you how far the Jew-haters, the Israel-haters have advanced in their Orwellian crusade to weaponize language … and just get this stuff into the mainstream. And it really portends quite poorly, unfortunately for the Zionism and for supporters of the Jewish state.”

Who wrote the copy?

Like most local news stations, KOMO uses wire services to supplement its daily newscasts. When issues are either national or international, local networks lean on copy written outside of their newsrooms.

It’s unclear where the copy came from. Neither KOMO News Director Philip Bruce nor anchor Michele Esteban responded to multiple requests for clarification.

I assume the copy originated from a wire service, like the Associated Press, which printed a story on the same theme, using some of the same verbiage. But KOMO still bears responsibility for airing the politically one-sided language and presenting it as fact.

It’s quite alarming that no one in the newsroom seems to have caught the anti-Semitic themes.

Rantz: Anti-Semitic 5th grade lesson claims Israel stole its land, mirrors Hamas propaganda

KOMO does subtle damage

KOMO is mainstreaming anti-Semitism, and it’s gaining steam, popping up not just in media, but in the classroom.

Washington state schools were offered curricula that mirrored propaganda you’d read from Hamas — or find in a KOMO report. It was also historically inaccurate.

A 5th-grade lesson plan compared the treatment of Native Americans by European settlers to the treatment of Palestinians by the state of Israel. Thanks to “Israeli dominance,” the curriculum claims, Palestinians lost their “sacred homelands.” It was so offensive that the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction edited it out of the document after the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH started asking questions.

“As we immediately read it, [we] said this is completely inappropriate and took it down,” Reykdal explained on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Will KOMO do the right thing and address this issue? I assume this was unintentional. But if they ignore it, it will happen again.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.


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Rantz: Historically illiterate KOMO-TV report uses anti-Semitic themes, language