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Rising Tension in Middle East is Lead Story in U.S.

The escalating violence between the Israeli military and Hamas militants was the lead on “NBC Nightly News” and “ABC World News” tonight and has been in heavy rotation on the cable news channels today. Among those covering the story veteran NBC news correspondent Martin Fletcher, ABC’s Alex Marquardt and Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert. Earlier today I asked Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes about international news coverage and the importance of having reporters on the ground rather than just talking heads in the studio:

“Everybody in the whole goddamn world is a pundit,” Ailes said. “My doorman thinks he should be running the 101st Airborne Division. It’s good to get people from various Administrations who’ve had some experience. But sometimes you’ve just got to have a reporter out there.”

Ailes talked about watching Vittert’s reports last night (video here). “I’m watching and he’s saying, ‘We’re standing here and a bomb hit this building and we’re over here…’ and I’m thinking, “Oh Christ I’m going to get this kid killed.” And I was thinking should I call [Steve] Harrigan in Florida and put him in. Because he’s an old combat reporter. I’d been worrying about that kid all night.”

“You need analysis, you need all that stuff. One doesn’t necessarily replace the other. Journalism is journalism. Somebody’s got to see it and say it.”

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