CNN’s stoogery, continued

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Bell County Sheriff's Department shows Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan. A military jury has sentenced Hasan to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others. (AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)
Nidal Malik Hasan

On the evening of November 5, 2009, the day Nidal Malik Hasan committed the Fort Hood massacre, evidence rapidly mounted that it had been an act of jihad. He’d called himself a “devout Muslim”; he’d been known to wear traditional Muslim clothing; he’d posted a Muslim prayer on his apartment door; he’d spoken approvingly of suicide bombers; just before committing the murders, he’d distributed copies of the Koran to his neighbors.

11/05/06 CNN Strategic Marketing America Votes 2006 Larry King Live (pre-tape for 11/05 show) CNN Time Warner Center Studio 51 New York, NY ph: E. M. Pio Roda / CNN
Wolf Blitzer

But while at least some other media were quick to report on these facts, CNN either ignored them or did its best to give them short shrift and leave them unexamined. As one observer put it, “the network seemed to be making a masterly effort to avoid giving this data a cold, hard look,” even as it sought to portray Hasan as a case of PTSD or, perhaps, as a good soldier who (for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with Islam) had undergone a psychological break as a result of U.S. actions in Iraq. In an effort to illuminate the massacre, Wolf Blitzer grilled a panel of psychiatrists – not Islam experts.

Then there was CNN’s report, aired last September, on small Yemeni girls who die in childbirth. The reporter said that the practice of taking child brides was common in a certain “tribal region of western Yemen” and referred to the “cultural tradition of child brides.” But she was careful not to mention that this “tradition” can be traced directly to the Prophet Muhammed himself, who wed his wife Aisha when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine. Imams have preached ever since that any girl of that age is fair game for husbands, however old.

By omitting these facts, and by entirely leaving out the “I” and “M” words, CNN’s reporter was deliberately obscuring the reason why not only Yemen but the Muslim world generally is awash in pregnant little girls, many of whom die in childbirth because they’re too small to deliver a baby.

In May 2014, CNN’s website ran an op-ed that started out by lamenting the phenomenon of honor killing. But instead of acknowledging that this crime occurs almost entirely among Muslims – because it’s consistent with the Koranic view of women as upholders of family honor – the author, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, segued into the entirely unrelated case of Elliot Rodger, the psychologically troubled 22-year-old who murdered six people in Santa Barbara, supposedly out of sexual frustration, before killing himself.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Lemmon’s point was apparently to highlight the universal issue of violence against women – even though four of Rodger’s six victims were men. But to link a lone sicko like Rodger (who would have been hospitalized, or locked up in the slammer, if he hadn’t committed suicide) with perpetrators of honor killing (who are acting in accordance with religious ideology and who often escape punishment because their communities and government authorities actually approve of their actions) is utterly outrageous – a way of removing Islam entirely from the picture when it should, in fact, be front and center.

But then, removing Islam entirely from the picture is one thing at which CNN is absolutely terrific. 

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.”