Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, appeared on Meet The Press with David Gregory on Sunday. (Image: Screenshot)

When Meet The Press Meets a Palestinian

It's fair to say that US media don't do enough to feature Palestinian voices in discussions of Palestinian issues. NBC's Meet the Press managed to interview a Palestinian on August 3–but host David Gregory saw this mostly as a chance to determine how much his guest dislikes Hamas.

David Gregory invited Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations. He started by asking him about the possibility for a "durable ceasefire." But then he got to his real question– and his only question: How much do you hate Hamas?

Mansour stressed the need to do something about Gaza's "tragic humanitarian situation," and Gregory felt the need to interrupt:

And let me stop you on that point. Your anger at Israel, certainly understandable. The loss of civilians horrific. There is agreement about that. I'm wondering though whether you're outraged by the conduct of Hamas, starting the conflict by firing rockets, building tunnels to kill and kidnap Israelis, being more than willing to sacrifice Palestinian lives by embedding them into their own kind of arsenal and using them, as Israel contends, as human shields. Do you have a level of outrage at Hamas itself?

Gregory's question includes some dubious assertions–that Hamas started the conflict and that it seeks out civilian death.

When Mansour responded by saying that third-party observers like Doctors Without Borders should be heard, Gregory went back to his demand:

Hold on, I'm asking whether you are outraged that the conduct of Hamas. They fired rockets, they built tunnels for the purpose of killing and kidnapping Israelis, and they do exploit these Palestinian civilians when they know they're going to be in danger from where they're firing the rockets and so forth. Do you have any outrage towards Hamas?

When the answer was that he was outraged at the killing of civilians, Gregory was back on it:

Fair enough, fair enough…the reason I'm pressing this point is not to challenge you about how horrific the loss of civilians are. As a more moderate Palestinian political figure, which is what you are, a representative of Palestinian authority, which there's certainly no love lost between the Palestinian authority and Hamas, I'm wondering what level of culpability you believe that Hamas has for the advancement of the Palestinian people not just in this conflict, but more generally.

He still didn't like Mansour's answer, so he had to try one more time:

I think a lot of people listening right now would find that compelling, maybe, that the Palestinian Authority could provide better leadership perhaps in Gaza than Hamas. But I just want to try one more on this which is do you think that Hamas is helping or hurting Palestinians right now?

And that was all they had time for.

All right, Ambassador Mansour, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate you being here this morning.

Then after a report by correspondent Andrea Mitchell ("Israel's strategy of self defense is becoming less defensible in world opinion"), the next guest was Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer. He was not challenged in the same way, no matter what his claims — that Hamas is "genocidal," their tunnels exist to "massacre our civilians," and Hamas actually "want those civilians dead." Instead of pressing Dermer on, for instance, the death toll so far– the vast majority of them civilians– Gregory asked: "Is the number of civilian deaths by Israel in Gaza unacceptable to Israel?"

The contrast in how the guests were treated could not have been any clearer.


© 2021 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
Peter Hart

Peter Hart

Peter Hart is the senior field communications officer for Food & Water Watch. Previously at the media watchdog group FAIR, Hart is also the author of "The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly" (2003).

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Experts Warn 'Doomsday Scenario' for Colorado River Basin Possible in 2023

"The problem with massive projects like Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam," said one climate journalist, "is they were engineered for a climate that no longer exists."

Julia Conley ·


Starbucks Violated Law and Must Bargain With Union in Seattle: NLRB

The coffee giant, which plans to appeal, "is continuing its aggressive anti-union campaign against workers by delaying, confusing, and flat-out refusing to bargain with them," said Starbucks Workers United.

Jessica Corbett ·


Three UK Universities Ban Fossil Fuel Industry Recruiters From Campus

"It is vital that our universities show with actions, not words, that they are taking the side of climate justice, and not of the industries driving us deeper into a climate crisis," said one campaigner.

Julia Conley ·


Lula Aims to Create New Federal Police Unit to Curb Environmental Crimes in Brazil

"Reverting the destruction from the past administration and taking meaningful action to protect the Amazon and the climate must be a priority of the new government," said one advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·


Merkley Bill Aims to Dismantle Hedge Fund Stranglehold on Housing Market

Senate Democrat accuses Wall Street of "pouring fuel on the fire of the affordable housing crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo