26 April 2001

Courtesy of HonestReporting.com

In discussing the question of who planted the bomb that killed four Palestinian policemen in Gaza on Wednesday, CNN quotes two sources:

  1. the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and

  2. the extremist Palestinian Popular Resistance Group

Nowhere does CNN quote any Israeli source. Israel has repeatedly denied any involvement in the bombing, though CNN readers would have no way of knowing that.

How can CNN possibly claim to be fair, objective and unbiased? Can Mike Hanna, Jerold Kessel, Eason Jordan, Tom Johnson and Rick Davis really say this with a straight face?

The same CNN article refers to an exchange of gunfire between Beit Jala and Gilo. In the hundreds of articles since Gilo first came under fire six months ago, it is universally accepted -- even among Israel's harshest critics -- that Israel is responding to Palestinian-initiated gunfire from Beit Jala.

Except for CNN, which says:

"Clashes continued in the West Bank overnight Wednesday as Israeli troops opened fire on the town of Bate Jala and Palestinians opened fire on the Jewish settlement of Gilo."

The implication is obvious. First, Israeli troops opened fire. Only then did the Palestinians shoot.

There's more.

The previous day, CNN published a report by Reuters which referred to the 1948 War of Independence. As is common knowledge, Israel was invaded by 5 Arab armies in 1948, and Israel lost key parcels of land including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and towns in the Gush Etzion region. At the same time, Jews living in Arab countries like Iraq, Egypt and Morocco quickly became targets of pogroms and had to flee to safe haven in Israel.

CNN states it like this:

"Palestinians mark the birth of Israel on May 15, 1948, as their 'Nakba' or catastrophe, which led to the loss of 78 percent of historic Palestine. Some 700,000 Palestinians left or were forced to flee their homes in the fighting that accompanied the declaration of the Jewish state."

No mention of who started the war. No mention of Israeli loss of land. No mention of the 650,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries who similarly "left or were forced to flee their homes."

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Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias. We will not give up the fight.


More On CNN's Bias Against Israel

Flick Off CNN

By Michael Freund

Having tuned in to CNN's recent coverage of the Middle East, I have gained a renewed sense of appreciation for the "off" button on the television set. While the 1991 Gulf war may have brought the network a variety of honors for news reporting, the current intifada seems destined to yield it a cluster of literary awards, given some of the fictional reports it has produced.

Granted, covering the Middle East is no easy task, as journalists must contend with an array of complex issues. And it is hard to complain about foreign coverage of Israel when much of the Israeli media itself seems overly sympathetic to the Palestinian side.

But even so, there is simply no justification for CNN's egregious record of bias and distortions. Somehow, Israel always seems to emerge as the aggressor, while the Palestinians are depicted with compassion and understanding.

A recent case in point was the April 16 CNN program Insight hosted by Jonathan Mann, who quickly dispensed with any pretense of objectivity and instead assumed the role of an opinionated, anti-Israel partisan. After blaming Israel for the impasse in the peace process, Mann suggested that Israel might not at all be interested in peace since, in his words, "If all of this drags on for years, Israel will become stronger and more affluent, and its Arab neighbors will become poorer and weaker."

Mann then went a step further, asking his guest: "Does Ariel Sharon really care about a better future for all the people in the region?" - with the tone in his voice clearly indicating what he thought the answer to be.

Perhaps realizing he had gone too far, Mann added, "or is the peace that he looks at more of - at the risk of being unfair - a peace where Israel succeeds and is secure but essentially subjugates the peoples around it?"

If Mann were a guest on the show, his comments would be understandable, as ridiculous as they might be. But he is the anchorman and host of the program. His job is not to take sides, but to question the sides, something he utterly failed to do.

Other CNN correspondents are no less guilty of editorializing. When asked in October to describe Israel's closure of the territories, Rula Amin said: "This kind of siege is creating a feeling that they are in a big jail." The Palestinian Ministry of Information could not have said it any better.

Unfortunately, such bias is rampant at CNN and permeates its Middle East coverage. A glance at the CNN Web site makes it abundantly clear that the Cable News Network is worthy of being renamed the Fable News Network.

Arafat is described as "a student of Jewish life."

In a biographical sketch, CNN's Web site describes Yasser Arafat, who is personally responsible for more Jewish deaths in the past 50 years than anyone else, as "a student of Jewish life." Applying the same standard, perhaps they would label Slobodan Milosevic a "scholar of Bosnian emigration patterns."

CNN's Web site describes the 1987 intifada as "the largely nonviolent Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation," despite its having killed hundreds of innocent Israelis and wounded thousands of others.

But if you think that's bad, check out CNN's description of Hamas: "a grass-roots Palestinian organization known in Gaza and the West Bank for humanitarian efforts." It almost makes you want to organize a parlor meeting on the group's behalf.

You might be wondering whether all of this really matters. Unfortunately, it does. Despite declining ratings, CNN still plays an important role in shaping public opinion. By failing to accurately present the Palestinian Authority's depravity and wrongdoing, CNN enables it to escape public censure, something that only encourages Arafat to continue the violence and terror.

But like any business, CNN is sensitive to its reputation and mindful of its ratings. A television station's primary product is not its programming - it is the quantity and quality of viewers it can deliver to advertisers.

Thus, each of us holds the key in our hands to countering this blatant assault on the Jewish state. Our weapon: the remote control. By pushing one button, you can banish CNN from your television screen. With a couple of postage stamps, you can let CNN and its sponsors know how you feel. With a couple of phone calls, you can get your friends, in Israel and abroad, to do the same.

Whether or not this will work ultimately depends on the number of people who get involved. CNN will likely cry foul, self-righteously invoking the public's right to know. But the public has another, equally precious, right. The right to say no. No to biased reporting. And no to CNN.

With thanks to the Jerusalem Post.