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cnn versus... everyone

  1. CNN versus... EVERYONE
    By Micah D. Halpern August 13, 2002


    Israel's Cable and Satellite Commission recently decided that cable companies may drop CNN from their programming agendas. They claim that there is a contract dispute, that the CNN contract will not be renewed. They claim that the problem is about money. Really, now!

    For the better part of this present Intifada, Israeli viewers have said, loudly and clearly, that CNN has a bias when it comes to covering Israel and the Middle East. CNN's weak attempt at impartiality tries my patience. CNN, your viewers are speaking, listen!

    An honest evaluation proves out what the population of Israel is claiming - CNN constantly misses the mark when it comes to this Mid-East conflict. They truly do side with the terrorist. But the job of News is not to take sides. News is supposed to, is mandated, to report, to remain impartial, to offer an objective retelling of events.

    Case in point: In a raid against an Israeli settlement, a Palestinian terrorist entered a house. A mother and her five children were home. The terrorist killed the mother and three of the children, the surviving two were wounded. CNN reported an "alleged" incident. The perpetrator was "the supposed" Palestinian terrorist. What did they really think? What did they want their viewers to think? Was this perhaps a deranged father, gone berserk? Was it, perhaps, a Scandinavian tourist upset over a large hotel bill?

    Case in point: CNN executive firefighter Eason Jordan was in Israel to put out the flames of disgruntlement that Israelis were directing at his network. President Bush was delivering the speech calling for a change in Palestinian leadership. In keeping with their style, as Bush spoke CNN ran a 'zipper,' a running log of news under their video picture. They also ran a summary of the President's remarks. Bush's speech emphasized no Palestinian state until reforms are in place. What did CNN write in their summary? "Bush promises support for Palestinian state." What did they cover in their news zipper? "Israeli helicopters attack Gaza."

    My question is not what was CNN thinking. They've made that perfectly clear. My question is why. Why do they purposely present news in an, at best ambiguous, usually slanted, perspective? Do their viewers not deserve better, do they not deserve the truth?

    CNN sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a modern version of David and Goliath. They ask the questions and see the conflict from the side of the underdog. They have chosen to disregard fairness and have done away with the context that would better explain the conflict in favor of the news of the moment. They see the problem and hence their chosen mission very simply: Israel is cast as the aggressor and by showcasing that element of the story they are covering their story.

    Here's another part of the answer. His name is Ted Turner. While he may not have much input today, CNN was his brainchild, his absolutely brilliant concept. And it still follows the tone he set at its inception.

    Here is a man who likened Israel's military response to terror - to terror.

    Comments like this continue to underscore the present-day tone of CNN and to justify the actions and decision-making policies made by today's higher-ups. Being anti-Israel is part of an institutional culture at CNN. Breaking down that culture has become nearly impossible.

    An immediate response is merely to laugh at Ted Turner, at the crazy things he says. But that response is too easy.

    Another case in point: Ted Turner called the September 11th hijackers "brave." And then he compounded it. He said he uses the "brave" word so often, it just fell out of his mouth. And besides, he owns the Atlanta baseball team by that name. Well, actually Mr. Turner, the name of your team is the "Braves." "Braves" is a noun; you used "brave", the adjective.

    Honest reporting is not pro-Israel reporting. Nor is it anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian reporting. It is just plain objective. And the Israeli consumer has placed an enormous amount of pressure on their satellite and cable companies to offer them other options in the 24-hour news category. An Israeli 24-hour news channel has been promised. But that is still in the works. British TV provides Israel with Sky News and the BBC. But Israelis want something made in the USA. And now they have Fox News.

    For Fox, Israel could have been the kiss of death. We want something pro-Israel they said. We want Fox. So Fox is now broadcast on one satellite network and negotiations are taking place with other cable providers. But not because it is pro-Israel. Because it is accurate reporting. Not because it only reports the "Israeli side", because it reports fairly.

    For CNN, it wasn't the obvious and almost adolescent bias. It wasn't the justification behind having guests on, time after time, spewing out lies. Comments like, "the Israelis are burning our children alive" were never questioned by CNN. Comments like "the Israelis are burning down the Church of the Nativity" were allowed. Not even the Nazis burned children alive, and the Church is still standing. In the end, it was the jingle jangle of money in the pocket that was heard by CNN.

    The Israeli public learned their lesson the hard way. Criticizing a misplaced word does not effect change. Canceling your personal subscription is merely a drop in the bucket. Having your cable company cancel their contract - that talks. Maybe Americans can learn this lesson from the Israelis.

    All is fair in love and war. But not in news coverage.
    Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.
    =============

    Exception confirming the rule ?
    I don't have a cable TV so I would like to hear some opinions from those who have.
    Sounds like a struggle with Zionist propaganda...

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