Reporting from Jerusalem: The astonishing bias of NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin

NBC News foreign correspondent and Palestinian-American Ayman Mohyeldin reported from Jerusalem this week as a Palestinian man dressed in camouflage raced past his camera wielding a knife. The dramatic incident, unfolding in front of the NBC News crew, began when the man began running from and toward Israeli police after rushing past a security checkpoint. Israeli officials shouted for the suspect to stop, but he kept running toward the gate. The incident ended with the man being shot dead by Israeli police at the Damascus Gate. Mohyeldin went live to report on the incident minutes after it happened and stayed live for roughly an hour on MSNBC.

But Mohyeldin, failed to give viewers the full picture of what he had just witnessed. He failed to tell viewers for over an hour that the suspect was a Palestinian and that he was dressed in a camouflage uniform similar to the ones Israeli soldiers wear. Mohyeldin never referred to the attempted terrorist attack as anything other than a man being shot by Israeli officials. He described in detail how the Israeli police searched the dead man’s clothes and how his lifeless body lay on the ground just a short distance from where he stood.

The Damascus Gate is located in a largely Palestinian area where security is tight and controlled. Mohyeldin surely knew that a knife-wielding man ignoring security procedures would be viewed by police as a threat to the public, especially after other Palestinian young men had been caught stabbing and terrorizing innocent people in the days leading up to the incident. Yet Mohyeldin failed to give any context to the fact that Israeli security forces were forced to stop a terrorist incident from occurring by shooting the suspect before he was successful.

He has consistently left out details to make the Israelis look like aggressors and the Palestinians appear innocent of terrorist activities. His pro-Palestinian reporting is a serious issue for NBC News.

“We were standing here, very quiet, in a very calm scene,” Mohyeldin said. “An individual came running down the stairs” and “a dozen different shots” ended his life. While the Palestinian man lay on the ground, Mohyeldin said he could confirm that he “doesn’t have anything of any harm to [the Israeli police]” on him.

Later, Mohyeldin tweeted: “I just witnessed the shooting of man running down the stairs towards Damascus gate before being gunned down.”

But while Mohyeldin told his one-sided story live on-air, MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart was forced to confront the reporter’s glaring bias. With the NBC News videotape running and viewers plainly seeing the Palestinian man with a knife raised in the air, Mohyeldin said he could confirm that “both of his hands were open and both of his hands did not have a knife.” The erroneous descriptions were too much for Diaz-Balart to take, and he interrupted Mohyeldin to simply say they were watching the video and could see a knife in the suspect’s hand. Moments later, MSNBC shared a still picture of the suspect, and Diaz-Balart again interrupted Mohyeldin to say, “We can clearly see the man … with what appears to be, at least in his right hand, a knife.” Mohyeldin didn’t respond.

For Mohyeldin, it was yet another incident where his reporting came under questions of bias. He has consistently left out details to make the Israelis look like aggressors and the Palestinians appear innocent of terrorist activities. His pro-Palestinian reporting is a serious issue for NBC News.

Earlier this year, Mohyeldin said Chris Kyle, the subject of the movie American Sniper, had “racist tendencies” toward Muslims and had gone on a “killing spree” in Iraq. (Kyle was responsible for killing terrorists who were trying to kill U.S. soldiers.) In response to his comments, 22 retired U.S. generals and national security officials petitioned NBC News and its parent company, Comcast, to force Mohyeldin to apologize. 

This time, the public is even more outraged at Mohyeldin’s agenda. Here’s just one of the many tweets about this topic. Thursday, Julianne Thompson (@JEThompson) tweeted: I totally agree on Mohyeldin. @NBCNews seems to be tone deaf to the truth and @aymanM has a personal agenda. #MediaBias

So far, NBC News has not responded to inquiries about Mohyeldin’s latest reporting.