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Media Critique #26 - CNN's

Media Critique #26 - CNN's "Shootout"

When a Palestinian commits pre-meditated murder against an Israeli at point-blank range, CNN merely says that a 'gunfight broke out.'


On June 14, as the Mideast cease-fire began, a Palestinian shot to death an Israeli security official near the Jerusalem Tunnel Road. All major news agencies reported the sequence of events as follows: The Palestinian committed deliberate, pre-meditated murder, and then was shot before he could cause further harm.

Compare these reports -- which are straight and factual -- to the CNN report, which whitewashes the Palestinian atrocity.

NEW YORK TIMES -- This morning, Lt. Col. Yehuda Edri, 46, an army intelligence officer, was killed while traveling by car between Jerusalem and a nearby West Bank settlement, Gush Etzion. A passenger was injured, and a third person in the car opened fire, killing a Palestinian assailant, according to the Israeli police.

WASHINGTON POST -- An Israeli army intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Yehuda Edri, 45, was killed by a Palestinian man he was meeting on a major highway south of Jerusalem, according to Palestinian radio. The soldier's bodyguard, who was wounded in the encounter, then shot and killed the Palestinian, Israeli news media reported.

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- Israeli police said Abu Shaireh approached the van where Edri and his two bodyguards waited and opened fire at point-blank range. One of the bodyguards was injured; the other chased the gunman into a nearby olive orchard and shot him to death, according to police.

ASSOCIATED PRESS -- In a test of a new, U.S.-mediated cease-fire deal, a Palestinian fired on an Israeli car along a major West Bank thoroughfare Thursday, killing an Israeli motorist and then dying in return fire from a passenger, police said.

REUTERS -- According to a senior Palestinian official, Thursday's double shooting in the West Bank came when a Palestinian collaborator met his Israeli handlers, killed the officer and wounded his bodyguard and was then shot dead by a third Israeli. 235.html


Compare these to the following CNN report, which purposely blurs the sequence of events:

CNN (Posted: 3:35 PM EDT) -- In one of two new violent incidents, Israeli police said Thursday a Palestinian agent and an Israeli security official were killed in what was described as a shootout. Israeli police said the security official and the Palestinian agent had met clandestinely when the gunfight broke out. (emphasis added)

The incident happened on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Tunnel Road, which leads to Bethlehem.

The Israeli police said the Palestinian agent shot the security official and another Israeli who was with him. The wounded Israeli, who was shot in the neck, then shot the Palestinian and killed him, they said.

CNN cannot bring itself to report the Palestinian atrocity straight out. Instead, in typical CNN style that we've seen over the past 9 months, the report merely says that a "gunfight broke out."

We ask CNN: Since there was only one Palestinian on the scene, if the Palestinian was killed first, then who shot the Israeli?



> From:
> To: Israel Update
> Date: 15 Jun 2001

Concerning your comments about CNN's reporting of the killing of Lt Col.Yehuda Edri: The first two reports you quote were in fact incorrect in several aspects.

The facts of the matter are as follows: Lt Col Yehuda Edri was shot during a pre-organised meeting with his Palestinian undercover agent Hassan Abu Sha'ira. One of Colonel Edri's bodyguards was wounded, the second bodyguard chased after and shot Abu Sha'ira.

This was not an incident of random violence; CNN was correct in reporting the story as a meeting between an Israeli Intelligence officer and his Palestinian agent that ended in gunfire.

The other media sources you quote carry a similar version of events in their editions today. Far from "whitewashing a Palestinian atrocity" we were the only news organisation that reported the story correctly right from the beginning.

Mike Hanna



Israel Update responded to Mike Hanna with the following points:

The point we were focusing on was that the Palestinian shot the Israeli at close range, in cold blood, and the Palestinian was only shot at to prevent him from doing further harm. But CNN reported it as an equal exchange of gunfire ("gunfight broke out"), with no indication of who initiated it.

Whether it was a chance meeting or a planned meeting is not relevant to the point we were making. Why did you try to sidestep our main point?

By the way, I believe the assertion that CNN was “the only news organisation that reported the story correctly right from the beginning” is incorrect. A Reuters report describing the clandestine meeting between a “Palestinian collaborator... [and] his Israeli handlers” was posted at 11:08 a.m. ET -- four hours prior to the CNN report.



> From:
> To: Israel Update
> Date: 20 Jun 2001

At the time of the report we had no idea of the sequence of events during the pre-organised meeting. We still do not. (emphasis added)

There has been no public statement from either of the survivors. We are awaiting an official report from the Israeli security officials who've been conducting the de-brief and will report it accordingly.



CNN claims that it still has “no idea of the sequence of events.” Yet the Palestinian claim outright (and this was confirmed by Israeli police) that the Palestinian informer carried out deliberate, pre-meditated murder, probably as a representative of Yasser Arafat's Fatah group.

Why does the lack of a “public statement from either of the survivors” prevent CNN from reporting these facts? Since when are confirmed news reports held up in lieu of public statements from survivors?

The rest of the world's news agencies don't seem to be lacking any information in this regard:

NEW YORK TIMES -- Palestinian officials said the assailant was Hasan Abu Sayreh, an informer who had agreed to meet the colonel. The Palestinians called the incident a carefully planned execution in revenge for the killing of a Palestinian paramilitary leader in November.

WASHINGTON POST -- Family members characterized him as a "martyr" who set up the meeting intending to shoot an Israeli security officer in retaliation for the November assassination of Hussein Abayat, an activist with the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- In a leaflet, a group calling itself the Hussein Abeiat Brigade took responsibility for the shooting and said Abu Shaireh volunteered to carry it out to avenge the death of Abeiat, a Fatah militant the Israeli army killed in November...

ASSOCIATED PRESS -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group took responsibility for the shooting and also for firing mortar shells at a Jewish settlement in Gaza on Thursday, a day after the truce went into effect.

REUTERS -- An offshoot of Arafat's Fatah faction claimed it had been responsible for the killing of the officer near Bethlehem. The group said in a statement the Israeli officer had been in charge of recruiting collaborators to assassinate Palestinian activists and the man had volunteered to kill his handler. 235.html



CNN and Mike Hanna have consistently and deliberately obfuscated the truth of Palestinian atrocities, and in the past nine months of Mideast violence, CNN's credibility as a reputable news organization has been torn to shreds.

Why is CNN not reporting the facts?

If you believe that CNN demonstrated bias in reporting this story, complain to:

June 23, 2001

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 14

(14) Rinaldo Coelho, December 26, 2001 12:00 AM

Go ahead...

Here in Brazil we are vaccinate against all this trash. Unfortunatly CNN is the only window open to the word... But on the Web we always find another point of view and an oportunity to the truth.Thanks...

(13) K Whelan, August 27, 2001 12:00 AM

Thank You

I did indeed respond to CNN concerning their biased reporting of the "terrorism" that Israel is endurring. I also suggested a new title for CNN....Credibility Not Necessary!

(12) Anonymous, July 28, 2001 12:00 AM

Thank You!

Thank you for confronting the twisted, reporting of CNN. It's about time someone does. Many of us are sick and tired of the flat out, purposeful misleading reporting that CNN and other ( or should I say, Most)networks put out. Thank you for standing up for the TRUTH and being courageous enough to confront the LIE!!! Your an encouragment for the rest of us to do the same...Sami

(11) Martin Duckworth, July 28, 2001 12:00 AM


We no longer watch CNN or any of its spin offs. About all American TV news is weak, but Turner is at the bottom of the heap.

(10) gary eisen, July 27, 2001 12:00 AM

Shocking but true

These last 10 months have been an eye opener as far as media anti-Israel bias is concerned. Your CNN expose pales in comparison to what I saw on the BBC in January of this year. I was in Israel at the time watching an Israeli TV report on a revenge attack by settlers on Arab homes in Gaza. The attack was simple hooliganism and I will not justify it. The proximate reason for the revenge attack was the killing of an Israel farmer by his Palestinian worker. Israeli TV carried film footage of the burial of the Israeli farmer and the revenge attack I described. The same film footage -- frame for frame -- was shown on BBC minus the burial of the Jew. Since the burial scene was only seconds long, its deletion was not designed to save time but rather to deprive viewers of the context of the revenge attack and by extension eliminate sympathy for the Israeli side. We clearly have enormous work on our hands if we want to turn this situation around.

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