UPDATE: The White House is blasting Fox News again, this time over comments that one of its opinion hosts, Mark Levin, made on his radio show.
Levin attacked CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and other network personalities over the coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, claiming that the network was filled with “a lot of self-hating Jews.” He said that Blitzer’s parents “weren’t victims in one way or another in the Holocaust, and certainly his family comes out of that background, but you wouldn’t know it.” He also said that Blitzer “wants Israel to die.”
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Blitzer’s parents, David and Cesia, survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the CNN anchor has covered his background in a network documentary.
Levin’s radio show is part of the Westwood One radio network, but he hosts a weekend show for Fox News, Life, Liberty and Levin.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement that “not only is Fox News aligning with those who fan the flames of hate – Fox is paying their salaries. Lying to insult the pain that families suffered in the Holocaust has absolutely no place in America. None.”
A CNN spokesperson also condemned Levin’s remarks, calling them “wildly uninformed, inappropriate and shameful. Wolf is the child of Holocaust survivors and all four of his grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust, a fact that Wolf has personally reported through a special documentary, trips to Auschwitz, written reflections and decades of public speaking on Holocaust eduction and awareness. Levin’s antisemitic rhetoric is dangerous, offensive and should be universally denounced.”
Fox News has not commented on Levin’s remarks. But Levin addressed the furor over his comments on his show on Thursday, saying that his words were misconstrued, and that “you can twist” what he said to make it sound like he said Blitzer’s parents “weren’t in one way or another victims in the Holocaust.”
“How can that even be logical?” Levin said. “Why would I say somebody’s parents were or were not victims of the Holocaust? If they weren’t victims of the Holocaust, why would I say his parents weren’t victims of the Holocaust? Or why would I intentionally say that I didn’t? I didn’t.”
He said that he had “since looked up” and that Blitzer’s parents “were at Auschwitz, and his grandparents were killed there. Which is a horrible, horrible thing.”
Levin said that he was criticizing remarks that Blitzer had made to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries during an interview. On his show earlier this week, Levin played a few moments from the interview, keying in one instance when Blitzer referred to a “senior Hamas official that it claims was the leader in the October 7 terrorist attack,” and another, in which the CNN anchor said, “We don’t know yet how many civilians camp were killed in today’s strike on that refugee camp.”
Levin said on Thursday’s show, “My point is you have a background like that.. and you ask …Hakeem Jeffries a question like this? It’s shocking to me, especially as a Jew.”
Levin said, “They think they’re going to intimidate me. They think they’re going to silence me. In that entire clip, Mr. Producer, who’s defending Israel? Me.” In his segment earlier in the week, he also had attacked Jake Tapper and MSNBC and one of its personalities, Andrea Mitchell.
The White House response to Levin’s remarks is the Biden administration’s latest rebuke of Fox News. On Thursday, Bates issued a statement saying that the network should apologize over comments that host Jesse Watters made on The Five about Arab Americans.
In his most recent statement, Bates said that the network “continues to promote the cynical, dangerous lie that fighting against Islamophobia is somehow at odds with fighting Antisemitism, even as they permit hosts to hurt their viewers with foul antisemitic comments like yesterday’s.”
Blitzer is still anchoring from Tel Aviv, and today’s edition of Situation Room featured his interview with an Israeli woman who watched Hamas kill her daughter and kidnap her husband.
PREVIOUSLY, Thursday: The White House chided Fox News and said it should apologize over comments that host Jesse Watters made on The Five about Arab Americans.
In the segment on Wednesday, Watters was addressing “Arab Americans and the Muslim world,” then told viewers “we’ve had it with them.” He went on to specifically cite Arab Americans who rip down posters of Jewish and American hostages.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement, “These hateful lies about ‘Arab Americans and…the Muslim world’ highlight the urgency of President Biden’s work to ensure hate has no safe harbor in America, and why he committed to the first national anti-Islamophobia strategy in our history.
“These unacceptable remarks come just weeks after the heartbreaking killing of a 6 year old Palestinian-American child, and during a spike in threats against Muslim and Arab Americans,” Bates said. “Fox News owes an apology to every single viewer for this sickening attack on the rights and dignity of their fellow Americans. President Biden will always stand up against Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all forms of hate. Fox News should learn from his example.”
Fox News has not commented on the White House criticism.
Watters said in the segment, “I want to say something about Arab Americans and the Muslim world. …We, and when I say ‘we’ I mean the west and western technology, have created the Middle East. We made them rich. We got that oil out of the ground. Our military protects all of these oil shipments, flying around the world, making them rich. We fund their military, we respect their kings. We kill their terrorists. OK? But we’ve had it. We’ve had it with them.”
“Obama, Trump, now Biden, have tried to get the heck out of that stupid desert. Just as we’re about to get out, because we have this great balance of power we’re arranging, these crazy Muslim fanatics come in and massacre over a thousand of our allies and hold Jewish people hostage, hold Americans hostage. And so, if you are an Arab American in this country and you ripped down posters of Jewish hostages, American hostages. No. No. No. No. Someone is gonna get punched in the face. When you rip down posters of the hostages like that, this is, absolutely not.”
Watters was not on The Five on Thursday, as he was in California for an event, co-host Dana Perino told viewers.
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