This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 7, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: In his most recent posting on TheDailyBeast.com, terrorism expert Steve Emerson dissects what he says is The New York Times' clearly sympathetic view lf Hamas when reporting on the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza.
Emerson says The Times is trying to humanize the terror group. Emerson references a particular article back in October of 2008 where New York Times reporter Taghreed El-Khodary wrote, "Taking advantage of the pause in violence, the Hamas leaders have turned to matchmaking, bringing together single fighters and widows and providing dowries and wedding parties for the many here who cannot afford such trappings or — of matrimony," end of the quote.
Joining us now from InvestigativeProject.org, Steve Emerson.
Steve, The New York Times is an easy target, but would you honestly say that, in the United States, there's a fair and balanced presentation, media-wide, giving both sides of the issue here?
• Video: Watch Sean & Alan's interview
STEVE EMERSON, INVESTIGATIVEPROJECT.ORG: Well, Alan, the question is who's telling the truth? It's not a question of giving both sides. You can give the side of al Qaeda, and then you have a contrived evenhandedness. That's not the issue. The issue is telling the truth, equating the arsonist with a fireman. That's what The Times has done.
You can humanize anybody. You can humanize Nazis and do stories about their families suffering from their parents' agenda. But the fact is we don't do that, because we go with — we present who the actual victim is and who the actual aggressor is.
In this case it's the Hamas organization, which The Times conspicuously and studiously avoids labeling a terrorist group. The reason why...
COLMES: Well, let me read to you — just the other day when The Times said there was no justification for Hamas' attacks, for its virulent rejectionism, and he went on to say it's highly unlikely that there's a point of diminishing returns that could be easy to miscalculate.
So if you look at the editorial...
EMERSON: I'm not talking about the editorial — Alan, I'm not talking about editorials. I'm talking about the actual reporting, which shouldn't inject ideology, and in this case it has, when you see what The Times has been reporting the entire year.
I went back over the entire stories printed — published from the Middle East — Israel, Gaza, the West Bank — over the last year, and just saw it in tremendous pattern. This story I wrote in The Daily Beast is just one — one fraction of the stories that I actually monitored that portray an incredible bias.
COLMES: But again, if you want to look at the American media, you want to look at it media-wide, it is a very pro-Israel point of view, basically, media-wide in this country. And you almost don't get the Palestinian side. You don't get what the Palestinians are experiencing...
EMERSON: Alan, I don't know what papers you've been reading, but if you watch CNN, they're second to The New York Times in promoting the Hamas agenda. I mean, look, they've been covering all the casualties. That's a fair coverage. But the reality is Hamas implants themselves within residential areas in order to incur Israeli strikes.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Steve...
EMERSON: That has to be pointed out.
HANNITY: Steve, in The Wall Street Journal today, former Israeli prime minister, who may be the next prime minister, B.B. Netanyahu, he writes a piece, says, "Imagine a siren gives you 30 seconds to find shelter, but a rocket falls from the sky and explodes, spraying its lethal shrapnel in all directions. Now, imagine this happens day after day, month after month, year after year. If you can imagine that, you understand the terror that people — the Israelis have been subjected to."
But the more important question here is — is I'm stunned that there isn't more understanding. How many rockets need to be fired into Israel until the world understands they're under attack?
If any American city got 3,000 rockets fired at their schools and their hospitals and their homes in the last year, there wouldn't be any question, would there? We would attack. Why — why is Israel held to a double standard?
EMERSON: Well, not only that, Sean, but people criticize Israel for the disproportionate force they're showing. In fact — in fact, they're allowed to go after their enemy in a legal — in a legal mannerism.
And No. 2, what — what is disproportionate? Hamas tried to kill tens of thousands of Israelis by firing over 5,000 rockets? What country in the world is expected to live under those conditions? Israel finally said, "Enough."
HANNITY: You know, we were all told that, you know, once Gaza and the land was returned that peace would ensue, but all it became was a launching pad for — so that these rockets could, you know, literally fly deeper into Israeli territory here.
And you know, when you factor in that Tehran is funding a big portion of Hamas' activities, the terrorist activities, it makes the situation even more complicated? Does Israel have to take out, you know, all of the Palestinian groups? Does it have to now go after the reactors that they're building in Tehran?
EMERSON: Listen, Israel faces so many fronts that are trying to destroy it. It's — it's unprecedented in modern history.
So in the first case, they're trying to stop at least a million of their population from being the subject of Russian roulette every night when a rocket destroys a building or a kindergarten, as it did yesterday.
EMERSON: I mean nobody in their right mind would allow this. And I saw on CNN Fareed Zakaria pepper an Israeli official, saying, "Well, how many were killed?" Well, you don't ask that question. You say, "How many rockets were fired," in order to understand the dilemma that Israeli has been facing.
HANNITY: Steve, the answer is don't watch CNN. Thank you.
EMERSON: I've got to watch what the enemy is saying.
HANNITY: Appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
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