CBS This Morning reporter Anthony Mason uncritically promoted the band Pink Floyd's campaign to boycott the "racist regime" of Israel and attack the Rolling Stones for performing in Tel Aviv. After a clip of Pink Floyd's song "Another Brick in the Wall," Mason reminded that the group wanted "the Stones to join them in a boycott and build a cultural wall around Israel." The segment featured not a single quote from anyone opposing the boycott or supporting Israel. [MP3 audio here.]
Instead, Mason promoted the group's cause and explained that Roger Waters, Pink Floyd's lead singer "is a vocal opponent of what he believes is Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine." Instead of providing any balance, he featured Waters at a United Nations conference denouncing, "We found that the state of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes." In a statement, members of Pink Floyd lectured the Rolling Stones for daring to defy the boycott.
Mason quoted Waters's attack on the Stones, saying, "Crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime."
Although Mason found no time for the other side in his segment, he talked to Rolling Stones (the magazine) journalist Alan Light. Light touted Pink Floyd for "using this as a way to draw attention to their cause." In regard to the CBS report, he reminded, "And we're here and we're talking about that, so to that extent what Pink Floyd has done still counts as a success."
Co-host Gayle King underlined this point, saying of Pink Floyd: "They drew attention to the cause."
A transcript of the June 5 segment, which aired at 7:44am ET, follows:
CBS TM Graphic: Battle of the Bands: Stones Ignore Plea by Pink Floyd to Skip Israel
GAYLE KING: The Rolling Stones are moving onto their next show after making history in the Holy Land. The band played in Israel last night for the first time but members of another legendary group wanted the Stones to cancel. Anthony Mason says the dispute is striking a sour note between these rock and roll giants. Anthony, good morning.
ANTHONY MASON: Good morning, Gayle. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and Nick Mason wanted the Stones to pull the plug on their concert out of solidarity with Palestinians. The request was made as part of a global boycott movement aimed at isolating the state of Israel.
[Clip of Mick Jagger talking in Hebrew.]
MASON: To the delight and satisfaction of packed house in Tel Aviv, Mick Jagger shimmed across the stage, Wednesday night. [Clip of Mick Jagger singing and one from "Another Brick in the Wall."] But the historic concert might never have happened had fellow British rockers Pink Floyd convinced the Stones to join them in a boycott and build a cultural wall around Israel. [Clip from "Another Brick in the Wall."] Pink Floyd lead singer Roger Waters is a vocal opponent of what he believes is Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. Here he is addressing a United Nations committee in 2012.
ROGER WATERS: We found that the state of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes.
MASON: Last month, he and bandmate Nick Mason told the Rolling Stones that they should boycott Israel, just as the Stones boycotted South Africa during apartheid. Quote, "crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime," they wrote. Other artists who have defied the boycott and performed in Israel include Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Rihanna, who even found time to frolic on the Dead Sea during her visit. But that doesn't mean Pink Floyd's campaign is a failure says journalist Alan Light.
ALAN LIGHT: You're trying to, largely, use this as a way to draw attention to the cause, and we're here and we're talking about that, so to that extent what Pink Floyd has done still counts as a success.
MASON: Rolling Stones' concert was a one-night event. But Israel has become an increasingly popular tour stop. The Backstreet Boys, Neil Young, and Megadeth are all headed there this summer.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Proving it truly isn't only just rock 'n' roll.
KING: They drew attention to the cause. They wanted to do that. But the Stones says, you know, we don't want to disappoint the fans. Interesting shot of Rihanna. That just appeared to come out of nowhere, Anthony. And there she is in the Dead Sea. Okay.