CNN Escalates its War on Israel - The Jewish Voice
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CNN Escalates its War on Israel

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CNN’s blatant anti-Israel bias seems to know no bounds.Ask anyone who ingests their daily news reports by tuning into the mainstream media on cable television, and they will tell you that it has evolved into a most laborious task.

Through a quick flick of the remote, one can invite a mind blowing cacophony of talking heads, distorted images, and tendentious accounts of real-time news into one’s own home, computer, cell phone or iPad. Clearly, the mainstream media have their own radically liberal biases, fueled by the political agenda of the corporate titans and shareholders who hold sway over them.

As publisher of the Jewish Voice, I take the news quite seriously and feel an abiding responsibility to our readers to report what’s happening on a global, national and local level in an accurate and balanced fashion. Fastidious fact-checking and crystal clear quotes from sources are the hallmarks of this paper. Sadly, I witness all too often what has essentially become a cabal of advocacy journalists, skewing the news on a daily basis.

Case in point: Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can decipher that the storied, “Grey Lady” the so-called “Paper of Record,” the New York Times is a frightening paradigm of the kind of fire and brimstone liberalism that borders on anti-Americanism. For the last four years, the Times has morphed into an organ of the Obama administration, as it has shed any pretense of fairness and truth for that matter.

Today, however, we set our sights on the cable news giant, CNN. Since the public is perhaps most impacted by television and online news, with its use of videos, images and political pundits. there ought to be a full public disclosure of CNN’s many biases. In addition to marching lock step with the New York Times in serving as the president’s mouthpiece, CNN is also on par with the Times in its appalling coverage of Israel.

According to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), CNN has repeatedly referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel, despite the fact that in 1950, the government of Israel declared that Jerusalem is its eternal capital. As recently as September 17th, on the CNN program called “The Situation Room”, host Joe Johns, who was standing in for CNN icon Wolf Blitzer said when discussing the burgeoning Iranian nuclear program, “Iran is blaming Israel and the U.S. for what it says was an attempt to sabotage an underground nuclear facility. It says explosives were used to cut power lines, a move that could damage centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Washington and Tel Aviv deny involvement.”

Likewise, guest Frances Townsend, a former U.S. national security advisor said, “If you step back and look at the things and now you add to this the explosion of power lines, one has to really question whether or not there’s not some state-sponsored organized effort. Nobody here in Washington is obviously talking. Both Washington and Tel Aviv deny it . . .” CNN made no effort to correct this faux pas, nor did it issue an apology. While it can be argued that the U.S. still has not countenanced Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as evidenced in its reluctance to move its embassy there, it does not change the facts on the ground. CNN has a responsibility to its viewers to report the truth, no matter how politically incorrect it may find it.

While the litany of CNN’s sins of commission concerning irresponsible reporting on Israel can be the subject of a thesis paper, it is also important to bear in mind their sins of omission; the events that they neglect to cover on purpose that have had a powerful impact on history and world events. As CAMERA has reported: “On September 21, 2012, Israel hosted an event at the United Nations highlighting the stories of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries in the last century. What? You thought all refugees in the Arab-Israeli conflict were Palestinian Arabs? Nope.The event, “Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries,” featured firsthand accounts from Jewish refugees, along with remarks by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Normally, when Alan Dershowitz sneezes, there’s an article in the press. He’s been mentioned in the New York Times on literally thousands of occasions. But, when Israel tries to tell the story of the 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries who were dispossessed and forced out between 1947 and 1972, there is virtual media silence.” [Fortunately for our readers, the Jewish Voice covered this event extensively in last week’s issue. –ed]

My question is: Where in the world was CNN? Why didn’t they breathe a word about this major news story? Why was there a concerted media blackout on such an issue?

Ancient Jewish communities had existed in Arab countries for millennia until the Arab League defined all Jews as enemies of the state in 1947. State-sanctioned violence, arbitrary arrests, and forced expulsions followed. Arab governments confiscated billions of dollars of Jewish property. The total area of land seized from these Jews is five times the size of the state of Israel. At the conference, Ambassador Prosor called on the UN to “establish a center of documentation and research to tell the 850,000 untold stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” saying: “Every year, the United Nations hosts World Refugee Day. Events take place in all corners of the world. Millions participate. Celebrities flood the airwaves to raise awareness about refugee populations. They speak about Africans, Asians, South Americans, Europeans and, of course, Palestinians. One group never makes the cut: the Jews who were torn from their homes in Arab lands.”

When it pertains to Israel, distorting the facts, as well as not reporting them at all, seems to be a hallmark of CNN as their history reveals. Back in March of 2010, for example, when Fatah called on Palestinians to engage in a day of rage in Jerusalem after the newly rebuilt Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem was being dedicated because they falsely claimed that the rebuilding of the synagogue was Israel’s first step to take over or destroy the Al Aqsa mosque, CNN’s “Newsroom” essentially whitewashed Palestinian incitement and absolved the Palestinian leadership from blame and even justified Palestinian rioting suggesting that it was Israel’s action of re-opening the synagogue that sent the Palestinians “over the edge.” CNN newscaster Kyra Phillips implied that the Palestinians, who were already incensed by Israel’s decision to build housing units in East Jerusalem had every right to riot as they view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In January of 2009, CNN had been playing an interview with Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti in which he claims that Israel broke the ceasefire with Hamas by launching an attack several months prior, and that the current fighting is therefore the fault of Israel rather than the Palestinians. Barghouti also charged that Israel’s supposed blockade of Gaza was a further violation of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas. Barghouti’s charges were nonsense and easily disproved – but apparently not easy enough for CNN to disprove. CNN’s intrepid fact-checkers find a few online articles confirming that there was an Israeli attack in November, and are satisfied and look no further? Does CNN really believe such articles prove that Israel broke the ceasefire? If so, how does CNN deal with articles like this one from the Associated Press published on June 25, 2008 just after the truce started, and headlined “Palestinian Rockets Threaten Truce.” The AP article in its lead paragraphs reported that:

Palestinian militants fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel yesterday, threatening to unravel a cease-fire days after it began, and Israel responded by closing vital border crossings into Gaza.

Despite what it called a “gross violation” of the truce, Israel refrained from military action and said it would send an envoy soon to Egypt to work on the next stage of a broader cease-fire agreement: a prisoner swap that would bring home an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than two years.

The answer is CNN deals with such articles and facts by ignoring them.

And Rick Sanchez, his co-anchor Jim Clancy, and the CNN fact-checkers ignored much more – there were many such violations, including dozens of rockets and mortars fired into Israel during the so-called ceasefire. That CNN took Barghouti’s charges seriously and repeatedly aired them calls into serious question CNN’s competence as a news organization. It is also notable that while Sanchez said that Israelis denied Barghouti’s charges, he apparently did not see the need to have an actual Israeli appear to deny the charges in detail.

This, of course, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. CNN’s biased and patently inaccurate coverage of Israel deserves our collective indictment. It’s time for the “king of cable news” to confess to their hateful misdeeds and, ideally, to be dethroned.

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