CNN and the jihadist faith whose name it dare not speak

The last couple of days we’ve been contemplating the chronic stoogery of CNN, which has routinely edited the facts in order to preserve friendly relations with dictatorships that have expelled other international media and imprisoned domestic journalists.

bitterman (2)
Jim Bitterman

As eager as CNN has been to placate tyrants around the world, it’s been particularly careful to mollify Islamic regimes. Every time Muslim terrorists strike anywhere around the world, CNN can be relied upon to do two things. One, it goes into 24-hour live reporting on the event, knowing that it’s pretty much only when such things happen that it manages to rack up decent ratings. Two, it goes into heavy denial mode, omitting from its coverage, as fully as possible, those two supremely incendiary words, Islam and Muslim.

A recent example: in early May, a man stabbed one person to death and injured three at an S-Bahn station on the outskirts of Munich. Many news media reported that he had shouted “Infidel, you must die!” and “Allahu akbar!” (Allah is the greatest), a strong indication that this was an act of jihad. But CNN scrubbed these details entirely from its reports on the incident, in which the assailant was identified simply as a “27-year-old German man.” The closest CNN came to identifying the man as a jihadist was to say that in the view of police “a political motive could not be ruled out.”

More examples. After a series of terrorist actions in France in December 2014, one blog posted a two-minute You Tube video showing an exchange about the subject between a CNN anchor and Paris correspondent Jim Bitterman. Asked about the perpetrator’s motives, Bitterman said inanely that “those questions are being asked today” but refused to offer anything close to a serious answer. While noting that one killer’s brother had gone off to join ISIS, Bitterman said it was “too early to tell” why that killer might have been motivated to murder. While willing to use the word terrorism, Bitterman delicately avoided the “I” and “M” words throughout.

Some CNN hosts are so eager to distance Islam from terrorism that sometimes they end up saying things that are patently ridiculous. Last December, for instance, in an attempt to paint the GOP as a nest of anti-Muslim bigots, Chris Cuomo (whom we recently saw proudly wearing a shirt Fidel Castro had given to his father, the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo) sneered that sixty percent of Republicans “think all jihadis are Muslim.”

Chris Cuomo

Of course, all jihadis are Muslim.

Or consider CNN’s live coverage of the July 2015 Chattanooga shooting, during which the network’s “national security analyst” Tom Fuentes played dumb about the name of the shooter, Muhammad Youssed Abdulazeez. In answer to a suggestion that the perpetrator’s name might indicate something about his religion and motives, Fuentes said, absurdly, “We don’t know it’s a Muslim name.”

UPDATE, June 10, 2016: On Wednesday, reporting on a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that took the lives of four people and injured 16, CNN issued a tweet in which the  word “terrorist” was put in quotation marks. Yesterday, after being widely criticized, the network put out a follow-up tweet that read: “A previous – now removed – tweet appeared to call into question the Tel Aviv attack as an act of terrorism. It undoubtedly was.” Similarly, a story about the attack at CNN’s website stated: “Information about a motive wasn’t immediately available.”   

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