CNN vs. Israel

This week we’ve been examining various aspects of CNN’s stoogery – among them its appeasement of dictators in order to maintain access to their countries and its reluctance to call Islamic jihad by its own name. Not unrelated to its delicate concern for Islamic sensibilities is another attribute – namely, its systematic anti-Israel bias.

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Ron Dermer

In August 2014, during that year’s Gaza War, protesters outside CNN’s studios in New York condemned the network’s anti-Israeli slant – and that of many other news operations. Jeremy Dery, a former parliamentary assistant in the Knesset, complained that thanks to the media, the world “believes that Israel targets innocent people.” Journalist Stephen Tebid, who held a poster reading CNN = Crap Not News, charged that coverage of the war didn’t include a single “picture of Hamas shooting a rocket.” That July, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., chastized CNN, which had shown pictures of children killed in an Israeli strike on a U.N. school but had omitted to mention that Hamas was hiding rockets in those schools – as well as in hospitals and mosques.

In the same month, comedian Joan Rivers – in an impromptu airport interview with the celebrity news website TMZ that went viral immediately – censured CNN and the BBC for their hand-wringing over “civilian deaths” when, in fact, many of the “civilians” in question were actively helping terrorists and storing weapons in their homes.  “The BBC should be ashamed of themselves,” she insisted. “And CNN should be ashamed of themselves!” But far from exhibiting any shame, CNN later ran a report on follow-up remarks by Rivers in which it seriously misrepresented her position – the obvious goal being to make her look bad. 

Like many other news media, CNN frequently reports on terrorist attacks in such a way as to suggest that they were ethically neutral military or civilian conflicts. In November 2014, for instance, two Palestinians were killed committing a terrorist assault on a Jerusalem synagogue that claimed the lives of four Israelis. CNN’s headline read: “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem.” To compound the outrage, CNN described the atrocity as an “attack on Jerusalem mosque” – allowing viewers to assume that perhaps a gaggle of violent Jews had preyed on a congregation full of innocent praying Muslims. (Le Monde‘s headline about the same incident read “Six killed in Jerusalem.”) CNN later apologized for misrepresenting the facts – but somehow it keeps on doing exactly the same kind of thing.

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Don Melvin

CNN has also routinely passed along fairy tales served up as fact by various pro-Palestinian propaganda outfits or by the official – and famously unreliable – Palestinian Authority “news” agency. A particularly absurd example: in June of last year, CNN ran a story by Don Melvin under the headline “Israeli settlers reportedly chop down 800 Palestinian olive trees.” There was no truth whatsoever to the account – but instead of withdrawing and apologizing for it, Melvin followed up by (believe it or not) pretending that he’d written it on the assumption that readers would realize that the report in question was unreliable. 

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Jim Clancy

Some CNN talking heads, when confronted with Islamic terrorism, instantly head in the opposite direction from moral clarity, rushing to speak up for Islam while at the same time making absolutely no sense. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January of last year, for example, CNN anchor Jim Clancy tweeted as follows about the satirical magazine’s Muhammed cartoons: “The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.” What?

This was only the first of a series of tweets – described as “bizarre” by Israel National News – in which Clancy managed to change the subject from Islamic terrorism to alleged Israeli perfidy.  The good news is that Clancy left CNN shortly thereafter; the bad news is that Clancy, by that point, had spent 34 years spreading disinformation at the network.

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Ben Shapiro

Every now and then, the truth about CNN gets out…on CNN itself. In August 2014, a reporter for the network asked Ben Shapiro of the Truth Revolt website: “Has Israel somehow lost more in the eyes of the world than Hamas has?” Shapiro said yes, explaining that while “Hamas is a terrorist group…Israel, thanks to outlets like CNN, has been turned into the villain….If Hamas could have come up with any sort of outlet that could have created more will to kill more Jewish babies and Palestinian babies, CNN would have been it.” Shapiro faulted CNN for failing to inform audiences of the “restrictions that Hamas puts on your reporting inside the Gaza Strip,” of Hamas’s use of children as human shields, and of the Hamas charter’s commitment to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.

Karl Vick, Hamas apologist

We’ve studied a few examples of Time correspondent Karl Vick‘s useful stoogery on behalf of the Castro regime as well as of sundry nefarious, primitive, and belligerent entities in the Middle East. But these efforts pale alongside his attempts to whitewash Hamas.

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Karl Vick

In a November 2011 piece entitled “Hamas Edges Closer to the Mainstream: Agreeing to Nonviolence, Opening the Door to Recognizing Israel,” Vick wrote that on the Gaza Strip, Hamas had “largely enforced a truce with Israel since January 2009.” To be sure, Hamas had “signed a paper committing itself to ‘popular resistance’ against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories,” but Vick added: “That’s ‘popular’ in contrast to ‘violent’ or ‘military’ resistance. We’re talking marches here. Chanting and signs, not booby traps or suicide bombs.” But there was no reason whatsoever for Vick to interpret the word “popular” that way. As Pesach Benson of Honest Reporting (HR) commented at the time:

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The peace-loving boys and girls of Hamas

When Palestinians say “popular” Vick hears “non-violent.” But what they mean is grassroots.

In the Palestinian dictionary, kids throwing stones at Israelis is grassroots “popular” resistance no less than adults holding a grassroots “popular” candlelight vigil.

Gilad Shalit wasn’t kidnapped by any old resistance committees. He was snatched and held captive by the Popular Resistance Committees. Their popularity comes from promising to kidnap more soldiers, not holding marches, witty chants, or clever signs.

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A Hamas candlelight vigil

Vick served up more of the same nonsense in February 2012. “The mainstreaming of Hamas continues,” wrote Benson, “thanks to the obtuse dispatches of journos like Time’s Karl Vick.” The reference was to Vick’s article entitled “The Mainstreaming of Hamas Continues as Palestinian Unity Gains Steam.” In the piece, Vick unskeptically reported that Hamas, “which the West knows chiefly for its suicide attacks on Israel,” was putting violence behind it. Yes, Hamas remained “committed to the eradication of the Jewish State,” but Vick described this commitment as only “[n]ominal.” If Hamas had really changed its mind, why not publicly renounce its commitment to crushing Israel? Vick’s answer: “that’s an awful lot to expect of a militant group in the space of a few months.”

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Rachel Corrie

It was Vick, too, who filed Time‘s 2012 report on the verdict in the case of Rachel Corrie, an American member of the radical International Solidarity Movement who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer during a 2003 protest, becoming a martyr to the anti-Israeli cause. The bulldozer driver said he hadn’t even seen Corrie; the judge agreed it was an accident. Vick’s take was predictable. Even the headline was tendentious: “Court Rebuffs Case of Slain U.S. Activist.” (As Honest Reporting’s Simon Plosker observed, “The usage of the adjective ‘slain’ or the verb ‘to slay’ usually means the violent killing of someone intentionally, the exact opposite of the Israeli court ruling.”) The judge, Vick wrote, “stood with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israelis overwhelmingly do.” The implication, plainly, was that the verdict had had nothing to do with justice or the facts, but only with blind loyalty to the IDF.

No Time reader who’d been paying attention over the years to Vick’s reports from Jerusalem would be terribly surprised by his admission, in his article on the Corrie verdict, that his wife had actually worked as a volunteer helping Corrie’s parents while they were in Israel for the trial. That his editors knew about this connection and still let Vick report on the verdict – as if he could possibly write about it with any detachment – made it clear that not Karl Vick’s not the only Hamas stooge at Time. Or in the Vick household.