Return to Transcripts main page


U.N.: "Multiple Deaths" Near Gaza School; Bias in Middle East Coverage; Interview with Glenn Beck

Aired August 3, 2014 - 11:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting live from Jerusalem. "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian Stelter will begin in just a few moments.

But, first, we want to bring you up-to-date. There's breaking news right here in the Middle East. There's new fury in the wake of what United Nations and Palestinian officials described as a shelling incident near a U.N. school in southern Gaza. A U.N. official tells CNN the school was being used to shelter thousands of civilians and there are in the U.N.'s words multiple deaths and injuries. The Palestinians say at least ten people died.

We've had no comment yet from the Israel defense forces. We anticipate comment soon.

We do know 80 Hamas rockets so far today have been launched from Gaza into Israel. We're watching to see what kind of damage, if any, those rockets -- those rockets created. We know that Israel's Iron Dome defense system intercepted several of the rockets.

But let's go to Gaza right now. CNN's John Vause is standing by.

John, the Israeli officials are saying they're almost complete with the destruction of those Hamas tunnels going from Gaza into Israel. What are you hearing over there?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, it's not what we're hearing but it's what we're seeing. If we look off to the distance, we can actually see the dust on the horizon where it looks as if the Israeli tanks and armor have, in fact, been redeployed closer to the border. You can see that dust on the horizon. Clearly, the Israelis are now pulling back, moving away from the populated areas moving back towards Israel.

That is not to say that they are finishing with this operation -- in fact, quite the opposite. A short time ago leaflets were dropped from planes flying over Gaza for the local population here reading in Arabic, this battle continues. Tell your leaders underground the battle will continue.

Now, the problem that -- sorry. Let's just continue.

Now, also, what we're hearing from Rafah is there is some fairly intense, some tense Israeli activity down there as well. You mentioned the UNRWA school, the Palestinians saying at least 10 people were killed. We were down there a couple of days ago. A lot of people had taken shelter in those U.N. schools because they didn't want to stay in their homes. They just thought it was too dangerous. They told me a day or two ago that there was a continual bombardment of the Rafah area, and that has not left up.

In Rafah alone, the death toll for today now standing at 71. Now, this tunnel operation, as you say, wrapping up but the Israelis warning that the military offensive does continue. It's just going into another state.

And, Wolf, you mentioned that number of rockets being fired by Hamas, 80 since midnight. But what we have seen here in the last couple of hours or so, the number of rockets which are leaving Gaza heading towards has really picked up -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly, the Israelis said about 80 as I said, so far today, and they're dealing with those rockets.

They're also dealing with what they described as extensive mortar fire along the border as Israeli troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers begin their withdrawal from Gaza. That could take a day or two, I'm told. The border fight is escalating clearly at the same time.

They still have by all accounts, John, at least 2,000 or 3,000 rockets. That's what Israeli intelligence believes. Is that what you're hearing?

VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. And what we thought Hamas was doing over the last couple of days, the number of rockets being fired -- that was an explosion. I think that was incoming artillery. It was very loud. It was -- it has been fairly close to us. That was far off in the distance.

But, anyway, as we were saying with the Hamas rocket situation, we thought they were actually trying to reserve their ammunition. They staggered the rocket fire over the last couple of days. It certainly has been picking up.

You mentioned the Israelis. They do believe they have about 3,000 -- they've fired maybe 3,000 as well. They had 10,000 at the beginning, the idea being maybe they've destroyed 4,000 in those airstrikes and other operations, Wolf.

BLITZER: John Vause, be careful over there, John Vause, reporting for us from Gaza. Other breaking developments here in the Middle East, Israel will not at least for now -- send a delegation to cease-fire talks in Egypt. An official Palestinian delegation has arrived in Cairo.

Here's how a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes the path ahead.


MARK REGEV, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER SPOKESMAN: Our faith in Hamas's ability to hold their fire is at an all-time low.

BLITZER: So, there's no cease-fire?

REGEV: At the moment, Israel is pursuing our operation in a way that we think is best. We are re-deploying forces in a way to defend ourselves. We're finishing up the operation on the tunnels. We continue to hit their rockets. But, ultimately, Israel will re-deploy after we've succeeded the maximum goals in this operations.

BLITZER: When you say redeploy, you may get the ground forces, several thousand Israeli troops have moved back to Gaza, bring them back into Israel. Is that what redeployment means?

REGEV: I think in essence, yes.


BLITZER: And stay with CNN for all the very latest news from Israel, from Gaza.

By the way, coming up at 1:00 p.m. Eastern I'll speak live with a special U.N. envoy for the Middle East, Robert Serry, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro. That's live, 1:00 Eastern. A special edition of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."

Let's go back to Washington now. "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian Stelter is about to begin -- Brian.


I was just looking here at "The Washington Post" front page this morning. It reminds us it's almost a month since Israel launched what it calls Operation Protective Edge. And here in the RELIABLE SOURCES, I have two of the smartest, opposing minds on the conflict. They are standing by with me here in Washington.

And I also have a wide-ranging interview with Glenn Beck to show you, including his biggest regrets from the past and his plans for the future.

But let's begin right where Wolf left off. There are two wars going on in the Middle East, one fought with weapons and another fought with words.

So to look at how this might yeah war is playing out, I invited two of the smartest people I know on this issue who happen to be polar opposites.

Rula Jebreal is a journalist and author, a Palestinian who speaks fluent Hebrew and has a Jewish husband.

And Elliott Abrams is a veteran of Republican presidential administrations. Most recently, he was a deputy national security advisor under George W. Bush. He's currently at the Council on Foreign Relations.

They joined me here in studio to discuss.

Rula Jebreal, Elliott Abrams, thank you both for joining me.



STELTER: You all look at the same news coverage of this conflict, and I see two different things. So I'm hoping we can find some middle ground perhaps in this conversation.

Rula, let me start with you. When you see coverage of what's happening in Gaza and in Israel, what do you see? What bias do you see?

JEBREAL: Definitely, we shy away on challenging the Israeli narrative of what's going on in the ground and what's the end game.

ABRAMS: I don't see that. I see basically the Israeli narrative that this is a war that they had to go into being challenged by visuals. It's one thing to hear the speeches and even to agree with them.

What you're seeing on TV, of course, is a lot of damage, a lot of death, injuries in Gaza. This makes it very hard I think for viewers to weigh this, because you've got sort of one part of your brain is listening but another part is looking.

STELTER: On CNN International this week, Christiane Amanpour's program, she had on "The New York Times" Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren. Let me play a clip of what Judy said on that program.


JODI RUDOREN, NYT JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: A lot of the international condemnation of Israel during has really backfired here, many people just feel like nobody understands them.


STELTER: Many people here feel like nobody understands them.

Is it possible for that to be true but therefore also be a pro- Israel bias in the American press as you say there is?

JEBREAL: Look, I believe that Israelis think that most of the -- if you don't agree totally with them, you don't understand them. But I think as friends, and as allies, we need to challenge destructive policies. I think the destructive policy of the last 45 years in the West Bank didn't lead anywhere. And the last eight years in Gaza didn't lead anywhere.

So, you have to explain to me, and maybe Elliott can explain us in this and I hope he can, in explaining -- what do we want to do and what Israel wants to do with the millions of Arab-Palestinians that are sitting there. You don't want to give them citizenship and you don't want to give them sovereign state? So, what is the end game? The end game we'll see the cyclical violence happening over and over.

STELTER: You wrote on "The Weekly Standard", a piece called "The Long War with Hamas."

ABRAMS: Well, the problem is --

STELTER: "Against Hamas".

ABRAMS: Yes, it's easy to say, you know, what's the answer? Why isn't Israel for two-state solution? The problem is that Hamas is not for a two-state solution. You can't make believe --

JEBREAL: Neither is the Israeli government.

ABRAMS: No, you can't make believe that Israel can deal with the Palestinian Authority as if there's no Hamas. There is a huge terrorist group here pledged to the destruction of Israel.

JEBREAL: No, you want to establish (INAUDIBLE) which is different.

ABRAMS: When you talk about demilitarizing Gaza, you need to come up with a reasonable plan to do that or else it's a silly slogan.

STELTER: What can we agree on? What are the facts that everyone involved agrees on?

JEBREAL: Do we agree, I hope you and I can agree that Palestinians, millions of Palestinians, deserve either sovereign state or citizenship? Do we agree on this?

ABRAMS: Oh, I would agree on that, but only if and when Israelis can have safety and security.

JEBREAL: I agree.

ABRAMS: OK, here we go. Peace in our time.

JEBREAL: We agree on this. Can we please agree and I hope you will write something about it, that if Israel really totally demilitarized like they did in the West Bank, can they seal an agreement with moderate Palestinians?

ABRAMS: I'm not sure what you're asking. Is it possible for there to be agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel? Yes, there is.

JEBREAL: Why didn't it happen? It's been in negotiation for the last six years.

ABRAMS: Yes, I will tell you why.

JEBREAL: Please.

ABRAMS: Neither Yasser Arafat at Camp David --


JEBREAL: That was six years ago.

ABRAMS: Neither Yasser Arafat at Camp David nor Muhammad Abbas at Annapolis would sign an agreement. You know that Barak offered, you know that Olmert offered, and they would not sign an agreement. That's the problem.

But you have a bigger problem --

JEBREAL: Kerry asked them to sign now. Abu Mazen was willing.

ABRAMS: He was not willing. Come on.

JEBREAL: He was willing.

ABRAMS: He was not willing.

JEBREAL: He was willing.

ABRAMS: The bigger problem now.

JEBREAL: When you see that your settlements where 60 -- 60 settlements, 20 years ago today are 200 with 1 million --

ABRAMS: I must say I don't think this has anything to do with the fact that there is a murderous terrorist group in Gaza trying to kill as many Israelis --

JEBREAL: But those came in the last eight years. You can't cancel the last 55 years.

ABRAMS: Hamas did come in the last eight years. When you say, well, they should --


JEBREAL: Do you agree the Palestinian authority --

ABRAMS: They're not going to disarm Hamas.

You know the main thing that really separates us? You are convinced that because --

JEBREAL: That you're a man and I am a woman?

ABRAMS: No, because there is a problem here. So, if we were smarter and listened to each other, we would solve it. I think that's right.

There are some problems that are so difficult and the problem of frankly Islamic terrorism in the Middle East today -- whether it's in Syria, ISIS, or whether it's Hamas in Gaza. We don't have a solution. We're not going to have one tomorrow.

STELTER: And I do want to go back to the first point that you made which is visuals matter. There are -- there have been complaints for a number of weeks now that we don't see from Gaza are the Hamas militants and up close views of their attacks on Israel.

ABRAMS: It's hard to show obviously. But there are other things that are not being shown. Israel has a field hospital at the Erez Crossing serving Gazans. Nobody shows that. Israel has said during this war, more than 1,300 truckloads of food and medicine into Gaza. You can show that. You can talk to the truck drivers.

STELTER: Is that a fair critique, Rula, that we're not seeing that humanitarian effort enough?

JEBREAL: I think when the big story, and we work in the media. Of course, when you have a story of bombardment of schools, U.N. schools where kids are dying and died and a bombardment of a market, between that story and a humanitarian truck, what do you show?


JEBREAL: I think we show both. But I think the relevance is the human suffering.

ABRAMS: When you look at the casualty figures, you're going to see -- you can see it now, a vastly disproportionate number of people that the Israelis killed are men between the ages of 17 and 30. Why would that be? Because they're targeting soldiers of Hamas.

JEBREAL: I don't think schools are soldiers. I don't think markets are soldiers. I know one thing --

ABRAMS: And they make mistakes. And we made them in Iraq. And we made them in Afghanistan. And every army makes them.

JEBREAL: But these are two different things.

ABRAMS: They're not two different things.

JEBREAL: This is American wars and this is an Israeli war. You can't connect them two together. This is not even right for the Israelis or for the Americans.

ABRAMS: Every army makes mistakes. Do you think the United States didn't accidentally kill civilians in Afghanistan by the thousands?

JEBREAL: I think Israelis are not accidentally killing?

ABRAMS: Now, they're murdering children on purpose? This is what you think? Do you really believe that?

JEBREAL: I think there is proportionate force that's been used to hit Hamas but in the end many civilians will be casualties. We know that.

ABRAMS: Ten percent of the population of Gaza, 10 percent, are men between 17 and 30. They are 44 percent of the casualties. JEBREAL: I hope when you go back and you write about it, or you

meet the Israeli officials, tell them one thing, if this policy will not change -- us moderates in the Middle East will disappear and Hamas and extremists and even worse than Hamas will come across. And this is a tragedy.

ABRAMS: Worse than Hamas is a hard concept to deal with right now, when they are attempting with their rockets to kill only civilians. They don't even rocketing Israeli bases. They're rocketing Israeli cities. They're trying to kill civilians. That's their only goal in this war.

STELTER: Can we agree that it's sad that you all were on CNN together two years ago on the Fareed Zakaria program talking about the same topic and now, we're here again?

JEBREAL: This is really sad. The fact that we're not finding solutions, questioning or challenging the officials to find solutions, we're talking about the urgency, human catastrophe, shelling but not solutions.

STELTER: There is some small agreement about the sadness of it at least.

Rula Jebreal, Elliott Abrams, thank you both for joining me.

JEBREAL: Thank you for having us.

STELTER: And we will have more on the media war later this hour.

But, first, an interview I'm very excited to show you with the one and only Glenn Beck. It includes his startling admissions about his role he says in polarizing the country and it's coming up right after this.



When I say the name Glenn Beck, I'm sure you have some sort of reaction, right? Positive or negative? I know you do. I've already seen it all over Twitter, because he is one of the most captivating and also controversial figures in the media. And, might I add, richest.

When I hear his name, the first thing that comes to my mind are profits. That's because three years ago when he left FOX News, he started to set up his own Web site and his own television network called "The Blaze". You're seeing his office in Texas right there. "Forbes" magazine now says Beck and his company earn $90 million dollars a year. Let that sink in for a second.

But here's the most startling thing about that, he says he has changed. What he has to say about his role in tearing the country apart, those are his words, are going to surprise you. It definitely surprised me when I spent time with him at his headquarters near Dallas, Texas.

So, take a look.


STELTER: I'm curious what you said about your time at FOX News. You said to her, "It was an awful lot of fun. I made an awful lot of mistakes. I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language. I think I played a role unfortunately in helping tear the country apart and it's not who we are."

You must have been talking about something specific. What did you mean about tearing the country apart?

GLENN BECK, FOUNDER, THE BLAZE: No, I think we all -- I mean, I have -- I have spent the last few years -- when I -- when I -- when I first left, I stood --

STELTER: When you left FOX?

BECK: Yes. And I stood in my apartment building in New York City, and it was the night I met Bono at "Spider-Man". We were sitting back then. They were trying to fix "Spider-Man". It was still in reviews.

My wife, much to my wife's chagrin, I suggested an alternate ending for it. And it was just this really -- I was the cool kid. For one minute I was the cool kid. It was the day before I was going to go in and say we were leaving.

And I walked in and we had this beautiful apartment and I stood in this floor to ceiling glass apartment way up above New York, and I said, how can this be right that we're leaving? It doesn't make any sense. Because I felt that we were standing in the wrong place.

And my wife, I'm lucky enough to be married to a good enough woman, she said, "I'm going to bed." Because we had already prayed on it, we had already discussed it. Decision made.

And I stood there looking at it and I thought to myself, if you don't leave now, you'll lose your soul because I was just starting to want it. And so, leaving and thinking, OK, so what was that experience all about? What have you done with your life?

Because I'm a man who at 40 hadn't done anything. And now, I'm at 50, and I look at the things that I've done that have been good and the things that I've done that unintentionally, I -- I feel I've added -- we all have, all of us have added to the situation that we're in right now. Not a single member of our society, maybe the Dalai Lama, but everybody else has played a role in this. So what have I done?

I've gone back every day and thought, I'd do it all -- if I knew then, you know, and had the same set of facts, I would do exactly the same thing. But now as I get here and I see, we are much more fragile that I thought. I really -- I did not --

STELTER: Is it something -- some sort of quote you wish you hadn't said? Is there --


STELTER: Is there a time you looked out in the crowd and you thought, that's not where I wanted us to be?

BECK: No -- I mean, I don't know what you're driving at, but I -- I look now and say, this is not where we want to be.

STELTER: But you talk about -- you say you have had a role in helping tear the country apart. I'm just wondering, what -- was there a theme on FOX that you wish you hadn't continued on?

BECK: No. I will tell you that there is nobody, and you go back and look, just go search the transcripts. You find another show that talked about Gandhi, talked about Martin Luther king, talked about love, talked about God, talked about peace.

STELTER: Like I said, it was innovative.

BECK: Yes. I talked about those things all the time.

STELTER: And yet, some people still remember just for you saying on "Fox and Friends" that President Obama is a racist. It becomes a cliche, right, that's all you're known for among some people who have never watched your show.

BECK: And that is unfortunate and it is unfortunate that -- it's unfortunate that we all -- when you live your life five hours a day on live television or radio, you're going to say stupid things and you're going to say things -- because you do it in your cubical, you do it on the air, I'm sure.

STELTER: Sure. People do it on Gchat, people do it on Facebook.

BECK: We do it.

STELTER: They just don't do it from a national podium.

BECK: That's right.

STELTER: So, was the racist comment one of the stupid ones?

BECK: Of course it was. But, we all -- we all live and learn.

STELTER: And that's what I mentioned when you say figuring things out, that that's been your career. You can hear it on your programs, you talk through things. You change your mind. You evolve your views, and often times media figures are held up as never changing. I mean --

BECK: I don't understand that. I don't understand. If you haven't -- if you haven't -- if you don't have a deeper understanding of something, you're dead. You're dead.

If you haven't -- if you haven't grown in understanding -- I'm not saying -- I'm still a conservative. I still believe the same things that I did. Do I -- do I believe in exactly the same way I did with the same -- no. But that's what means -- it means to be alive.


BECK: And I'm --

STELTER: My favorite in my program, I'm still pretty new, are some guest that surprised me that made me think differently about something.

BECK: Right. I'm currently -- I'm -- I'm very fascinated right now with strange bedfellows because I go back in history and I look and I say, I think I have this history wrong. I mean, in some ways I have history really wrong and Tesla and Edison one of them. Everybody holds him up. No, no, Tesla is the guy. So, who are the Teslas of today?


BECK: You know? Who are the people that we should be looking at?

And I'm also fascinated, because I'm a devout Mormon but I also go to other churches. I'm good friends with some of the biggest pastors and rabbis. I'm good friends with Rabbi Kula in the Upper West side of New York, as liberal as you can get. I mean, liberal as you can get.

Three years ago, he didn't want to have dinner with me. I wasn't too thrilled with it either, but I wanted to talk to him because I sensed there was trouble in the country coming, and we had to start talking to each other. Irwin and I now are good friends, really good friends.

And he is teaching me, Glenn, here's -- when you say this, here's how I interpret that. And I'll say to him, when you say this, here's how I interpret that.

STELTER: I would watch that as a show.

BECK: Well, we're thinking about it.

STELTER: You've said that you're tired of politics. Most people when they hear your name they think political commentator. But you said you hate politics.

BECK: I always have.

STELTER: Now, you're being more open about it?

BECK: No. I hate it more than I ever have.

STELTER: Well, maybe you're talking about it less than you did on Headline News or FOX? BECK: Yes. Definitely so. I mean, I'm -- I'm still dealing

with the issues of the day but I have -- I don't -- I don't have time for politicians anymore.

STELTER: It gets back to your comment about Democrats and Republicans.

BECK: Yes, I don't. I just -- I mean, you know, I'll talk to -- I will make friends with anybody on any side.

You know who I really respect -- this is going to come as a shock -- in Congress is Bernie Sanders. Never met the man, but he's a socialist and he says, "I'm a socialist and that's just the way it is. I'm this close to a communist and that's how it is and that's what I believe."

Good for you. Good for you. I could -- I could be friends with that man because he tells me who he is. If we can just get past all of the bull crap and just "this is who I am, like me, don't like me, agree with me, don't agree with me," that's fine, but I'm going to tell you who I am. And if we're just people of integrity and honor, anything can happen.

STELTER: On the one hand you have that consistency. On the other hand, willingness to evolve and adapt and change your mind. How do you square those two?

BECK: What do you mean?

STELTER: Is it possible to have both? You respect him for knowing what he is, and staying there and being consistent, and standing for it. On the other hand, we're talking about changing your mind and evolve.

BECK: Of course. Yes. As long as -- I call them pivot points. I had several pivot points in my life.

I remember when I was on the air, first time I ever talked to Mitt Romney and he had changed his view on abortion. And I thought -- and I said to the audience, you watch. If that man can't tell you exactly the moment he changed, it's a lie.

And I got him on the air and I said, so, Mitt, tell me, your moment changing on abortion. Where did that happen? And he said, I'll tell you, Glenn, I was sitting at Harvard. And a scientist came in and he was talking about -- I don't remember what it was, in vitro fertilization or something.

He could tell me what the color of the wall was. That's a pivot point. The man saw something and went, I'm wrong. I'm wrong. And he changed.

That is good but people who are waffling, not good.

But if you want to change your opinion, what's your pivot point? What happened? STELTER: When you were warning of economic terror, of a perfect

storm coming, was that performance?

BECK: In the way I told it, yes. My job was, as I saw it, and I still do, my job is to tell you what I believe is coming and package it in a way that you will come and look at it, then you will decide for yourself. That's my job.

So, what I said, I absolutely believe. A lot of the things that I said and was mocked for, caliphate being one of them, has absolutely all of these things are happening. Look at Israel. Look at what's happening in Iraq. You know, so a lot of these things are happening.

STELTER: And other things still will, like economic collapse. The Dow is at a record high right now.

BECK: If you put your --

STELTER: There are lots of warnings about stockpiling food, et cetera.

BECK: I still believe that. I still believe that. You can't print $3 trillion.

The Fed cannot be our biggest lender to China. I know all of the bankers. I know all of the people who have all of their Harvard and Columbia, you know, economic degrees and they're all trained to think like one group.

Let me tell you something. When this thing starts to shake apart, God help us all. How do -- how do you print a trillion dollars, two trillion dollars? How do you have the Fed be our biggest debtor -- I mean, our biggest lender, over China? I know what China can do. I know the producing-power of China.

What exactly does the Fed do that they can carry $1 trillion, $2 trillion worth of our debt? That's all paper games. Show me in history where that's worked.

I don't know how it falls apart, but I can tell you, if it doesn't, it's the -- I'm not the crazy one. I'm the one saying, in history, it's never worked, ever, never, not once.


STELTER: There is so much here. I want to show you more of my interview with Glenn right after this quick break. Stay with me.


STELTER: Welcome back.

And now to more of my interview with Glenn Beck and his frightening prediction about what may happen if left and right in this country don't start listening to each other.


STELTER: Have you veered away from politics in part because it's bad for business, and it's better for business...

BECK: No, it's better for...

STELTER: ... to focus on culture and other things that are more uniting?

BECK: Better for business if I talk about it. You would not believe the complaints that I get. Better for business.

STELTER: About moving away from it?

BECK: Glenn, you're telling us these things. You're doing this. You have got -- that's what we count on you for.

I know, but it's not where I feel I am best served.

STELTER: Your P.R. person, in preparation for this interview, said, "Glenn's focused on principles and values and talking about lifestyle ideas, and not just politics."

BECK: Right.

STELTER: That's something that I think has been obvious to your listeners for a while, but maybe is not as obvious to non-listeners, non-viewers.

BECK: I think, because, again, we view each other as cartoon characters.

My daughter said to me -- my children, when -- generally when we're in the city, are not allowed to walk with me, and it's because of -- my second oldest daughter was walking with me one day. She was about 16. And we were walking down the street. And somebody had shouted something really mean. And I walk another block, and we were holding hands. And somebody else just got really just vicious.

Walked another block, and somebody just intentionally clips me, and uses foul language. And my daughter stopped and she said, "Why don't people see that you're a dad, too?"

And I have taken that to heart, that that is something that I should be aware of, too. We're not cartoon characters. We're not just people on television. We're not just people in the White House. We're people. We're humans. And I am -- I am just such an imperfect carrier of that message for so many people. But it's the message I'm -- that is important to me.

STELTER: You sound like someone who really wants to lower the temperature in the country.

BECK: We have to.

We're -- I believe that we are in -- I think we're a country in civil war. I just think we're in a cold civil war. Shooting hasn't started, but somebody stupid is going to do something stupid, and it will escalate, unless we talk to each other.

STELTER: But how can we lower the temperature when you're still making those kinds of suggestions? I wouldn't call it a prediction, but to talk in that language about a possible shooting civil war?

BECK: I'm not calling for one.


BECK: I'm saying -- I'm saying you can't tell me that -- and maybe because you live in -- I don't mean this as a slam. You live in New York. You're very isolated.

But when you talk to people, you're telling me that you don't sense that people are so angry with each other that, you know, they're the enemy? Look, read online. Read the comments. It doesn't matter if it's conservative...


STELTER: I will admit I notice it more outside New York than I do in New York. You're right about that.

BECK: You read the comments. You read them on The Huffington Post or you read them on TheBlaze or CNN or FOX. It doesn't matter. They're all the same, left and right.

We're calling each other horrible things.

STELTER: You used the word balkanization earlier.

BECK: Yes.

STELTER: But doesn't having a cable channel like TheBlaze encourage that balkanization?

BECK: I hope not. Have you watched our channel?

STELTER: Well, I have watched enough of it.

But you do have a number of conservative hosts. It's not as if you have the same number of liberal hosts.

BECK: No, no, no, I don't think -- but wait a minute. I don't think that it's important that we -- that I balance the point of view. I have somebody who absolutely disagrees with me.

STELTER: Good point.

BECK: What is important is, we treat each other with respect. We treat each other -- and don't get me wrong. I just talked about this on the radio today.

(CROSSTALK) STELTER: ... about fair and balanced. It's kind of a post-fair-

and-balanced way to describe what you're doing.

BECK: Being fair. Being fair. Not calling each other names.

And we were just on the air. I have been in radio since I was 13 years old, and so have my cohorts. They have -- we do a radio show. It's a stupid radio show. But, all of a sudden, in the last 10 years, it's become very important.

Since September 11, it's important somehow. I don't -- that's not -- that's not what what -- what? Who am I? I remember when September 11 happened and I got down on my knees. It was the week I started on radio, on talk radio. Who am I? I don't have any answers. Who am I?

STELTER: No one did.

BECK: I'm just a guy, just like everybody else, trying to figure it out. This week, we were on yesterday and today saying, OK, I really want to call that person a fathead, but that's wrong, you know?

We have to change all of our language. And it's really difficult, especially when people on both sides -- I know there are people who are watching me and say, you know, the guy's full of crap. He's just an act. He's just doing it for money. I don't like him. You Saddam all the things that he said in the past. Whatever.

And I can put somebody else -- put somebody else in this chair, you know, I don't know, somebody else from the other side sitting in the chair, and there would be other people on the other side saying exactly the same thing.


BECK: Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.


STELTER: Love him or hate him, Glenn Beck is one of a kind. He's building a media empire that might be a model for other big media personalities in the future.

So, next week, I will show you more of my conversation with him about his business, about his cable channel, and about what his future holds. Tune in for that next Sunday.

But coming up here, we return to our top story, the conflict in the Middle East and the propaganda war that both sides are fighting. Is Israel losing that? That's next.


STELTER: For "Red News/Blue News" this week, I wanted to look at the P.R. war that is unfolding in the Middle East. You can see it in this illustration by the Israel Defense Forces

depicting a missile attack on Manhattan and asking, what would you do? You can also see it in this pro-Palestinian graphic that shows bombs being dropped on kids. The caption says, "The safest place in Gaza is away from children."

With "Red News/Blue News," we usually focus on partisan media here in the U.S. And this week, we have seen a whole lot of talk here about the pictures from Gaza, the horrible pictures of death and destruction there.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough surprised a lot of people with this remark on his morning show on Thursday.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC; This is just -- this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine.


STELTER: This is so bad, Scarborough said, not just for the Israeli people, but for us in the U.S.

So, that's blue news from MSNBC.

But FOX News regular Ann Coulter sees it very differently. So, here is some red news. She brought this up during an unrelated chat with Sean Hannity about securing the southern border. She says America should learn something from Israel's border security.


ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "GODLESS: THE CHURCH OF LIBERALISM": We need a Netanyahu here. Can you imagine? Yes, sometimes Palestinian kids get killed. That's because they are associated with a terrorist organization that is harming Israel.


STELTER: Provocative. And here is a provocative thought about media complicity.

This is from two contributors to "National Review." They wrote on Saturday about the death of civilians in Gaza. And they say they're part of Hamas' plan -- quote -- "A public relations tactic to gain sympathy from Western media."

They also wrote this. Let me put it up on screen: "The Western media are playing precisely the role that the leaders of Hamas hoped they would play, acting as the distribution arm of the terrorist organization's snuff films."

I know some reporters who are in Gaza who would disagree. And let me know what you think on Twitter or Facebook. And let's

keep discussing this after the break as well. Talk about the media's role covering violence and social media's role too. My next guest helped me understand it better. And you will hear from him right after this.



Picking up where I left off just a moment ago, there are strong feelings about how the conflict in the Middle East is being portrayed. Just look up the Twitter hashtag #Gazaunderattack and you will see what I mean. You will see endless photos of bloodshed, more gruesome than you would ever see on TV.

And, of course, you will see arguments about who is to blame. It's partly because of social media that "New York" magazine staff writer Benjamin Wallace-Wells declared with a bold headline, "Israel is Losing the American Media War."

So, a little bit earlier, I asked him why.


STELTER: Well, Ben, thanks for joining me.

BENJAMIN WALLACE-WELLS, "NEW YORK": Oh, of course. Nice to be here.

STELTER: So you wrote for "New York" magazine, "American audiences are seeing the story of the conflict perhaps more than ever before through Palestinian eyes."


STELTER: Tell me what you think by that.

WALLACE-WELLS: Think about the iconic images that we have from this war over the last three, three-and-a-half weeks now. Each one of them is very similar.

They're the four boys on the beach being gunned down from Israeli -- from an Israeli ship. There are the two U.N. shelters in Gaza schools that were hit, scenes at hospitals in Gaza. In every one of them, you see Palestinian civilians under Israeli attack.

That's been sort of the single consistent theme of the coverage throughout. We're not just talking about social media. We're talking about, you know, legacy media as well.

STELTER: But, of course, they're able to be shared on social media.

WALLACE-WELLS: I can't tell you how often in my Twitter feed I'm seeing men carrying their children who are dead. I'm seeing reporters and reporters' assistants with blood

covering their press badges. I would say that I think that Israel is perfectly happy to lose the media argument, so long as they win the military fight. And I think the imbalance in this whole conflict is that Hamas sees it exactly the other way.

STELTER: We have not seen nearly as much action around the #Israelunderfire hashtag as we have under the #Gazaunderattack hashtag.


And there's a good underlying reason for that. Every broadcast report about this conflict leads with the comparison of the number of dead. Now we have 1,200 or whatever it is, 1,300 Palestinians dead, and a few dozen Israeli soldiers.

And so once you lead with that, which I think is a totally reasonable way to lead, it does sort of shape the story in a particular way. The images right now I think are driving this much more than the text. This is a story where the image imbalance is just incredibly strong, simply because Israeli citizens are not being, you know, successfully killed in the same way that Palestinians are.

STELTER: And, of course, that is in part because of the success of the Iron Dome.

WALLACE-WELLS: And so just to return to the point I made at the beginning, what we see when we look at images of this war on the Israeli side are mostly images of politicians talking or of soldiers massing, you know, simply because Israel's defenses are pretty effective.

Hamas' attacks are also less effective than Israel's military attacks.

STELTER: Benjamin Wallace-Wells, thank you so much for joining me.

WALLACE-WELLS: It's been great.


STELTER: I'm looking at some of your feedback right now about this issue. There's so much of it.

Right there, Ben was talking about the images that we do see, but what about the images we don't see? I have seen a lot of questions online from you about why news reports from Gaza rarely, if ever, show Hamas militants firing rockets into Israel.

So are reporters in Gaza under pressure from Hamas? Are they being intimidated into only showing civilians, and not the people Israel calls terrorists?

Well, I asked the executive in charge of international here at CNN, Tony Maddox. And he says no.

Let me put his comments up on screen: "Our in-field reporters have repeatedly say that Hamas militants are rarely to be found on the streets of Gaza. We have had no intimidation from Hamas and received no threats regarding our reporting. They have so far refused all requests for interviews in Gaza."

When we come back here, more RELIABLE SOURCES, so stay tuned.


STELTER: That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES.

But our media coverage continues all the time on Check out my stories there about Stephen A. Smith's suspension at ESPN and some worrisome news for "The New York Times." We will also of course share our Glenn Beck interview there, if you missed part of it. And make sure you set your DVR for next week for some more of that. He's going to talk about his business and where he sees his future going.

We will see you right back here next Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.