Israelis have been in near universal agreement that CNN is thoroughly biased in favor of the Arabs and against Israel. In the two years since Arafat launched the Oslo war, CNN has certainly done little to disavow Israelis of this notion.

The Israeli dissatisfaction with CNN has been so great that Fox News recently began broadcasting in Israel as an alternative to CNN.

Things reached a boiling point, however, with Ted Turner's not too bright comments equating the Israeli army and terrorist suicide bombers. In an attempt to contain the damage, CNN responded quickly. They disassociated themselves from Turner's statement and sent a representative to speak to Israel's Minister of Communications.

And they presented to viewers an in-depth look at the victims of terror -- certainly a first for CNN.

As part of this presentation, CNN broadcast interviews between Wolf Blitzer and the victims of terror and their families. And the CNN web site is carrying this in-depth look. And what a look it is.

In a web link called Projecting Terrors Toll, CNN informs us that when taken on a per capita basis, Israel's terror casualties in the last six months represent more than three times the casualties the U.S. suffered on September 11th.

And they provide other very telling comparisons.
Israel's population: 5,938,093
# Victims of Terror: 229
# Civilians Killed by Terror as a Ratio of Total Population: 1 in 26, 292
U.S. (population 287,353,588) per capita equivalent # of victims: 10,888

This presentation of statistics seems so uncharacteristically sympathetic to Israel that James Taranto, in his outstanding "Best of the Web Today" feature, mused on June 24th "This is CNN?"

But does this look at terror, in fact, portend a newly found objectivity at CNN? Is Israel finally in for some honest, sympathetic treatment? An examination of the CNN presentation provides some interesting answers.

The first thing to notice is something that can easily be overlooked -- CNN is providing statistics for the last six months only.

CNN omitted more victims than they included.

Why is CNN using six months as the cutoff for a terror war that was launched two years ago? That is like viewing WWII or Vietnam War casualties in terms of the last six months of those wars. This can only provide watered-down statistics. Here are the statistics that CNN should have provided -- statistics for the full two years of the Oslo war.

# killed: 559, not 229. CNN omitted more victims than they included.
Kill ratio to population: 1 in 10,622, not 1 in 26,292.
U.S. equivalent: 27,052, not 10,888. Roughly equal to 9 World Trade Centers, not 3.

Furthermore, CNN totally ignores the victims who were seriously wounded. In the World Trade Center, the number of seriously wounded was probably small -- if you didn't perish, you walked away in one piece. Not so for the Israeli victims of terror. Many of these victims will suffer the rest of their lives from paralysis, missing limbs, and bodies embedded with nails and screws. Not to mention the psychological scars.

The number of seriously wounded is currently 4206. When added to the number of dead, you get the following comparisons:

# dead/seriously wounded: 4765.
Ratio to total population: 1 to 1,246.
U.S. equivalent: 230,620.

Almost one in every one thousand Israelis has been murdered or seriously wounded.

These are absolutely staggering figures. Almost one in every one thousand Israelis has been murdered or seriously wounded. The U.S. equivalent would be close to a quarter of a million people. CNN totally ignored these figures. And in focusing on only the last six months, CNN does more than lie with statistics. The web site contains photos of, and information about, the victims. But only for victims of the last six months. In a tragically ironic and painful insult to the victims whose relatives were interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, the photos of those victims are not available on the web site, because they fell outside of CNN's arbitrary six-month cutoff.

There can be little doubt about Wolf Blitzer's compassion and sympathy for those he interviews. But why does CNN omit the photos of the murdered parents and children of the Schijveschuurder family (whose son/brother was interviewed by Blitzer), and the picture of Koby Mandell (whose mother was interviewed by Blitzer)? Why are there no photos of the victims of the Dolphinarium bombing, the Sbarro Pizza Shop bombing, and countless other terror attacks?

Is this making much ado about nothing? Could this have merely been an innocent choice or oversight by CNN?

A major complaint of Israelis about CNN is that CNN is so reluctant to say anything good or sympathetic about Israel, that when it finds it must, it does so grudgingly, minimizing the sympathetic images or offsetting them with irrelevant negative images. And conversely, when CNN can make Israel look bad, they do so repetitively.

Recall the coverage of the shooting of Muhammad as Dura, the Arab boy who was shot as his father tried to protect him during a gun battle. CNN, like most of the world, erroneously thought that the Israelis shot the boy. So CNN rebroadcast that footage over and over, making Israel look ruthless. And later, when terrorists were killing Israelis, that same al Dura shooting was used as a counterweight to offset the actions of the terrorists.

Or recall the more recent blood libel regarding the imaginary slaughter in Jenin. CNN constantly repeated the lies of the Arabs, reporting unsubstantiated numbers of between 500 and 1000 helpless Palestinian civilians slaughtered by Israeli soldiers. All the while, Israel, which has a reputation for truth and accuracy, protested that the casualty figure was closer to 50, most of them combatants. Which, of course, turned out to be the truth.

So could this have merely been an innocent choice or oversight by CNN? Possibly. The cynics amongst us are skeptical. We cynics tend to see most CNN reporters as throwbacks to the Sixties -- people who never outgrew their liberationist ideologies, who are unhesitatingly sympathetic to any third world underdogs including the most savage, psychopathic murderers. We see them as a professional subculture that, through this liberationist/underdog prism, enjoys the ultimate symbiotic relationship with their Palestinian drivers, translators and cameramen.

And we find it hard to believe that CNN, which so successfully managed to include a non-existent bloodbath in its projected figures, somehow inadvertently lost over 300 verifiable Israeli victims in their body counts.

Why, then, did CNN run the Victims of Terror feature? Could it be a newly found concern for those victims? Doubtful. Could it be that they are concerned with losing the paltry Israeli market share (well under six million) to Fox News? Again, doubtful.

Perhaps they were concerned that Israel would revoke the journalist credentials and privileges of their reporters. After all, if CNN cannot cover Israel, they will have nothing to broadcast.

But for whatever reason they presented an in-depth look at the Victims of Terror, it seems clear that CNN simply cannot bring itself to tell a sympathetic story about Israel without distorting it or downplaying it. In fact, the closer you look, the more you see that this in-depth coverage was quintessential CNN.

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