Comcast told MSNBC hosts to curb rampant Israel criticism during Oct. 7 Hamas attacks: report

MSNBC’s corporate parent Comcast staged a rare intervention over the left-leaning network’s rampant criticism of Israel during its coverage of the deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas, according to a report.

MSNBC anchors Ayman Mohyeldin, Mehdi Hasan and Ali Velshi — who are all Muslim — interviewed guests who suggested the shocking Hamas cross-border invasion — which slaughtered around 1,200 Israelis, including women and children — were the result of “failed policies” by the US and Israel.

The tenor of MSNBC’s coverage that Saturday morning prompted Comcast President Michael Cavanagh to convey his concerns to Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, the division that includes MSNBC, NBC News and CNBC, according to The New York Times.

media, business, comcast, israel, israel-hamas war, msnbc, comcast told msnbc hosts to curb rampant israel criticism during oct. 7 hamas attacks: report
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A Hamas gunman takes an Israeli man hostage during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack which left nearly 1,200 people died. ANONYMOUS/AFP via Getty Images

Conde — who would come under fire months later for signing off on the hiring of former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel — reportedly told Cavanagh that he shared the same concerns.

The NBCUniversal News boss then issued a directive to his subordinates at MSNBC to focus on the facts and give less weight to opinions and commentary, The Times reported.

The Post has sought comment from MSNBC and Comcast.

Weeks later, Mohyeldin, Hasan and Velshi were reportedly sidelined, The Post reported.

MSNBC denied the claim that they silenced the three, saying that the lineup changes were “coincidental.”

Hasan, who frequently criticized Israel in his commentary, left MSNBC in January — weeks after his show was canceled.

media, business, comcast, israel, israel-hamas war, msnbc, comcast told msnbc hosts to curb rampant israel criticism during oct. 7 hamas attacks: report
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Michael Cavanagh, president of Comcast, told his subordinates to instruct MSNBC hosts to stick to facts, according to a report. Getty Images for Saint Laurent

MSNBC, which has ridden its partisan, anti-Trump coverage to become the second-most watched cable news channel, lost a third of its primetime viewers in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.

It also saw its total viewer figures plunge 24% for the four days between Oct. 7 and Oct. 10 compared to the same period the previous week.

Two days after the Hamas attacks, Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and ripped into the cable network’s coverage of Israel, saying: “I love this network, but I’ve got to ask: Who’s writing your scripts? Hamas?”

media, business, comcast, israel, israel-hamas war, msnbc, comcast told msnbc hosts to curb rampant israel criticism during oct. 7 hamas attacks: report
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MSNBC, the second-most watched cable channel in the US, featured left-leaning commentary that is largely sympathetic to the Democratic Party. AFP via Getty Images

“While I am sad and trying to cope, I’ll be honest: I am angry. I am angry with the world that allowed the dehumanization of Israelis and sanitized the terrorism of Hamas,” Greenblatt told MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Greenblatt was particularly incensed by the use of the term “fighters” in reference the Hamas terrorists, who also took more than 200 people hostage.

It is unclear as to which MSNBC personality used the term.

The Post has sought comment from the ADL.

media, business, comcast, israel, israel-hamas war, msnbc, comcast told msnbc hosts to curb rampant israel criticism during oct. 7 hamas attacks: report
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Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News, reportedly shared Cavanagh’s concerns about anti-Israel commentary on Oct. 7. Getty Images for TIME

Andrea Mitchell, the veteran Washington reporter and MSNBC host, also faced criticism for an Oct. 9 interview with an Israeli woman whose two young children were among those abducted by Hamas.

The woman grew visibly irritated with Mitchell when she asked her to comment on Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza.

“I can’t be sympathetic to animal human beings — well, they’re not really human beings — who came into my house, broke everything, stole everything, took my children from their bedrooms and took them to the Gaza Strip,” she told Mitchell.

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