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Gibson runs with "fact" from Israel TV that Iranian soldiers among dead in Lebanon

Reported by Chrish - August 10, 2006 -

Yesterday 8/9/06 on the Big Story breaking news was announced by John Gibson, that Israel TV was reporting that Iranian soldiers' bodies were found among those killed in the day's fighting in Lebanon. Mere seconds later he asked correspondent Jennifer Griffin (in Israel) "Jennifer, the fact that they have found Iranians operating - uh, they killed Iranians! - operating with Hezbollah - what does that mean?"

Note that within seconds of getting the "alert" he is stating as "fact" what he heard from Israel TV - no independent checking of "facts". If someone on staff had checked they should have found that it had not been confirmed by the military. Nonetheless, Gibson spent the better part of the rest of the program on this "fact" that was just a fervent wish.

Griffin said it was just "more evidence", evidence that has been provided since the beginning of this - Iranian missiles being fired, Iranian intelligence reports that the IRG has been training Hezbollah, and now the evidence of these dead soldiers, if this report turns out to be true. (It is noted that she was awaiting confirmation.) This will provide Israel with evidence that it is not just a local conflict, it has much broader implications for the Middle East.

Next, guests Susan Estrich and Ann Coulter were in near perfect agreement on Israel - neither thinks Israel should bow to world pressure and observe a ceasefire. Coulter, looking paler and thinner than ever, wasted no time at all in twisting the conversation to her preferred topic, Democrat-bashing. She invited Estrich to change parties and proposed that liberal Democrats are more dangerous to the world than terrorists: (liberals in the ascendancy) "is a greater threat to the free world, which is increasingly coming to include just us and Israel, than what France has to say to us. (? verbatim.) But the fact that there are no Scoop Jackson Democrats anymore - it is a myth like Big Foot - is going to be a threat both to America and Israel. "

Since Coulter steered it there, Gibson merged the two topics and asked "does this fact, that it is now clearly Iranians fighting Israel," is this going to give the anti-war wing of the Democratic party some pause? Estrich, said let's be honest, the anti-war faction is heavily Jewish and heavily supported by Jewish money. She said there's a slight tinge of anti-Israeli pro-Palestinian, Cindy Sheehanish rhetoric but it gets shut down. Coulter says that's changing - she sees it in universities, on tee shirts and on posts about Joe Lieberman.

Estrich took charge, saying she couldn't let the whole segment go "and have it be a little love-fest with Ann - that would be wrong." She doesn't think the "whack-balls" have taken over the Democratic party; rather, she is excited by the tremendous amount of new energy in the party, and she says this as someone who would have voted for Lieberman. We shouldn't confuse what's going on in Israel with the war in Iraq, which is an issue against Bush and the incumbency.

She asked Gibson "since you came out against the war, wouldn't you agree?" to which he replied "when did I come out against the war?" and very quickly turned it over to Coulter, who also looked confused. It was an odd moment, with Estrich grinning broadly and Coulter looking dazed. I may have missed it but I don't recall Gibson ever coming out against the war.

Coulter of course welcomed the opportunity to be disagreeable and to pontificate: the free world is surrounded by hostile savages now, and the Democratic party has had this McGovernite anti-war, anti-American wing that pops up every once in a while and it is absolutely in the ascendancy right now. Unfortunately Republicans can't keep on winning every election - the fall elections will probably be a very good year for the Democrats. They ought to be, just out of historical precedent - having nothing to do with George Bush, having nothing to do with Iraq... This wing is coming out strong, and would like to preside over a humiliating defeat in Iraq, allowing the savages a greater foothold.

Most of the time during the segment the chyron below read "Israel TV: Iranians found among Hezbollah guerillas".

Comment: She tried to make it seem like votes are like tides, forces of nature with no politcal causes. Of couse a Democratic turn in November will have everything to do with Bush and the war in Iraq - and corruption, and cronyism, and indifference, and greed, and mismanagement, and incompetence, and gutlessness, and rubber stamps.... And should Democrats inherit the fiasco created by this administration it will be HIS defeat, not theirs. He's already on record saying it will be up to someone else to clean up his mess.

After an extended report from Griffin in Israel, Gibson returned with Rudi Bakhtiar. He repeated that Israel TV was reporting IRG found killed in Lebanon, and turned to Bakhtiar asking "Should this be an embarrassment to iran, that they were caught red-handed with the Republican Guard fighting Israel with Hezbollah?" She thinks we'll hear more of the same from Iran: that they have not funded or supllied Hezbollah in a long time, though they do support them "spiritually."

An interesting tidbit is revealed, that she and Gibson (and presumably though not definitely other FOX employees) watch MEMRI television for their background, which has included video of recruiting women in Iran who want to fight in Iraq, men in Iran who want to sign up to fight with Hamas, and recently, video of men and women in Iran volunteering to fight alongside Hezbollah. How interesting that they are viewing videoes that reinforce and prove the very talking points put out by the White House and the neo-cons.

Gibson sais that this is different: now there are dead Iranians (Bakhtiar in the background said "surpise, surprise"), someone will have to claim the bodies, the Iranians are going to have to say "oops, our guys in our uniforms" or maybe manning our equipment, have been killed in this Hezbollah fighting. How are they going to explain it?

It appears they're not going to have to after all. Even though, as of right now, FOXNews.com is still reporting

"Bodies of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers were found alongside the Hezbollah dead, Israeli media reported. The Israeli Defense Forces could not confirm the report. Israel has repeatedly said that Iran is aiding Hezbollah terrorists and supplying them with weapons. Iran has denied the charges."

a quick search found articles refuting the claim:

"HEZBOLLAH today denied Iranian fighters were among its guerillas battling Israeli forces in southern Lebanon.

"Hezbollah categorically denies the lies and claims that the enemy is promoting that Iranian fighters are present in the confrontations with the occupation forces," the pro-Iranian Lebanese guerrilla group said."

Gibson's eagerness to take as fact an unsubstantiated report and his treatment of same as established fact points up his unprofessionalism and his bias.