Mehdi Hasan interviews Mark Regev​

Mehdi Hasan interviews Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his MSNBC show on November 16, 2023.

(Photo: MSNBC)

Mehdi Hasan Booted From MSNBC After 'Daring to Practice Journalism'

"Mehdi Hasan's program has felt like an oasis on air and more needed than ever," said one Palestinian American advocate of the journalist's Gaza coverage.

Progressives on Thursday said the American public was losing a vital voice that for nearly two months has offered rare critical coverage of the U.S.-backed Israeli assault on civilians in Gaza, as MSNBC announced it was canceling "The Mehdi Hasan Show."

The show began on the streaming service Peacock in 2020 and Hasan has hosted the weekend program on the network since 2021. He has gained recognition in the past for his incisive interviews of former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

More recently he has provided viewers with commentary on the war in Gaza, in which more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, while also condemning Hamas' attack against civilians in southern Israel on October 7 as "undeniably, a vicious act of terror."

"How many more innocent people are going to die, and what will be achieved?" asked Hasan in one segment last month. "Does killing innocent Palestinians in Gaza, and not just members of Hamas, killing a Palestinian child every 15 minutes since October 7... Does that help defeat Hamas?"

Guardian columnist Owen Jones said there is "no better interviewer than Mehdi Hasan: forensic, razor-sharp, an encyclopedic knowledge."

"So MSNBC has now canceled his show," Jones said. "The few mainstream voices who challenge Israel's mass slaughter of Gaza are under attack."

As the cancellation of Hasan's show was announced, Palestinian American human rights lawyer Noura Erakat pointed to his recent interview with Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as "a whole class on journalistic method."

In the interview, Hasan implored Regev to admit Israel's onslaught has led to a high death toll of Palestinians, pushed back against his claim that Israel has targeted Hamas members, and demanded he address misinformation from his own government about the war.

"They canceled Mehdi Hasan for interviews like this—evidence-based and willing to challenge power," said author Sarah Kendzior of the Regev segment, "and it is doubtful he will be the only journalist pushed out for daring to practice journalism."

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) pointed out that on Wednesday evening Hasan appeared on "The Daily Show" to promote his program.

"To be clear, there was no instigating outrage. No shocking new thing," said the group. "He was acceptable (and cool) enough for 'The Daily Show,' and MSNBC let him go out and promote the network, and then they blindside one of their best hosts?"

"It's a huge programming mistake to kick voices like Mehdi Hasan off the air instead of asking: Why are they resonating with the public as they challenge power and question conventional wisdom?" the PCCC added.

MSNBC president Rashida Jones reportedly told staffers that the network was reshuffling its weekend programming—cutting Hasan's show and adding a program with hosts including Democratic strategist Symone Sanders-Townsend and former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele—"to better position ourselves as we head into the presidential election."

In canceling Hasan's show, noted journalist David Sirota, MSNBC is eliminating not only one of its most vocal critics of Israel, but also "one of the only people in cable TV news who has been willing to report critically on both parties."

"Canceling him," said Sirota, "is another step in the deliberate homogenization of news content into pure red-vs-blue infotainment" ahead of the election.

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