Media Critique #2 CNN
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Media Critique #2 CNN

Media Critique #2 CNN

In this article, CNN distorts the facts, skews the picture and downplays an attack on Jewish civilians.

by Aish.com Staff

CNN - 22 October 2000
"Peace process in limbo after Barak calls 'timeout'"
http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/10/22/mideast.reaction.03/index.html

1. Objectivity Violation: Distortion of facts

"Peace process in limbo after Barak calls 'timeout'"

The CNN headline, "Peace process in limbo after Barak calls 'timeout,'" places the blame for the peace process being in limbo squarely on Barak. The cause: Barak's call for a timeout.

This is a distortion of the facts. With the wave of Arab incitement and violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians, the peace process has been in limbo for weeks. Barak's call for a timeout is in response to the intensification of the attack against Israel with the threats used at the Arab summit and calls for increased violence.

2. Objectivity Violation: Imbalanced reporting.

Of the 22 paragraphs dedicated to describing the reaction Barak's reassessment, 17 paragraphs, over 77% of this section, expounds the disapproving Arab reaction in exceedingly harsh terms. This gives an incredibly lopsided view of events. Here is a brief synopsis of the opening 11 paragraphs [we recommend that you see the original article in full]:

"Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat said he "expected this" from Barak..."

"The Arab summit's final declaration denounced Israel, calling for a United Nations-led "war crimes tribunal" to try Israelis...."

"Participants in the emergency Arab summit lashed out at Israel for what they said was unjustified aggression..."

"'There are no more relations to be opened until they go back to the right path of peace,' said Amr Moussa, the Egyptian foreign minister."

"Libya's delegation walked out of the meeting Saturday, expressing disgust that Arab ties with Israel were being left largely intact."

"The failure of the Arab leaders to take more stringent steps against Israel was condemned on the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank..."

Barak is quoted in two paragraphs as presenting the Israeli side, but he is immediately dismissed with the heading "Palestinians suspicious of Barak's motives," and introductory line: But some Palestinian leaders interpreted Barak's "timeout" as confirmation of their long-held suspicions about the Israeli prime minister's agenda.

CNN follows with six paragraphs presenting four Arab representatives denouncing Barak and Israel as having "no interest in peace." There is no commentary. The reader is left with the impression that Barak has no interest in peace and that Israel is to blame for the escalation of violence.

Is it true that Barak is not interested in peace? At Camp David, he offered concessions so sweeping that even the U.S. negotiators were astonished: giving up virtually all the West Bank (including the militarily crucial Jordan Valley), offering to divide Jerusalem, ready even to renounce Israeli sovereignty over Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount. A.B. Yehoshua, Israel's best-known literary figure and a longtime peace activist, told Newsweek: "Barak had offered [Arafat] things that even I as a permanent dove, even a zealous dove, couldn't imagine an Israeli leader would offer." And Leah Rabin, the widow of peace architect Yitzhak Rabin, said he'd be "turning in his grave" from Barak's concessions.

In the CNN article, there is no equal time given to explain Barak's "timeout" decision. Only the relative unknown Gilad Sher, is quoted, rather feebly, saying that a timeout "doesn't mean the peace process is frozen." The reader is left with an imbalanced picture.


The following paragraph is particularly odious.

Barak's announcement was seized on by the leader of the militant Islamic movement Hamas, Mahmoud Al-zahar, who said, "Hamas said from the beginning Israelis are not willing to make real peace... Now that was proved after nine years... The question is how to organize our activities against the occupation."

Never mind that CNN describes Hamas as a 'militant Islamic movement' instead of what it really is: a terrorist organization. It appears to justify Hamas' "activities against the occupation" -- i.e.: violence and murder, by seizing on Barak's announcement for a time-out.

3. Objectivity Violation: Selective Omission

This lead story fails to highlight the biggest attack to date by Palestinian gunmen in Beit Jala on the residential Gilo neighborhood in southern Jerusalem. Palestinian gunfire hit 16 residential buildings on five streets, provoking a counter-attack by the IDF.

When the article does finally make mention of the attack towards the end, it writes:

"Residents of Gilo, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, said they had been fired upon by residents in an adjacent Arab neighborhood." [italics added]

Instead of reporting the objective facts of the attack, as it does in the paragraph above that reports on four Palestinians being killed, the events are described as if they are a "claim" made by the residents, casting a shadow on the actuality of civilians being fired upon.

Write complaints to: eason.jordan@turner.com

Published: December 31, 1969


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub