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Sunday, July 16, 2006

CNN pro-Israel?

I never thought I'd see the day when CNN of all networks would be accused of being pro-Israel. After all, during the Oslo War in the early part of this decade, many Israelis drove around with bumper stickers on their cars saying "CNN Lies." CNN's bias was viewed here as being so blatant, that at one point in 2002, the Israeli cable companies contemplated (and received permission from the cable and satellite television regulator) dumping CNN in favor of Fox (I don't have cable, but I believe that both networks are now available here).

But lo and behold, the Washington Post links to "blogged about commentary" this morning include the following from left wing blog Huffington Post.

Thanks to CNN, I'd learned that Israeli forces had bombed Beirut International Airport and a blockade was in place to cut off Lebanon's ports, that president Bush announced Israel had the right to defend herself, that Hezbollah had fired missiles into the seaside city of Haifa, and that an Israeli woman in Nahariya had been killed amidst the cross-border violence. But I hadn't learned many details about the more than four dozen civilians in Lebanon being killed, a fact that struck me as central to the unfolding story.

Baffled, I made a point of watching CNN's afternoon "Situation Room" with the network's high-profile anchor Wolf Blitzer, who gravely intoned about the "fear of all-out war" in the Middle East. ("Mideast: Brink of War?" read the on-screen graphic.) Indeed, "The Situation Room" chewed on Middle East story almost without interruption. I watched a CNN reporter from Israel file a dispatch, and then a reporter traveling with the president, a reporter from the United Nations, a reporter from Lebanon, an in-studio discussion with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and then an interview with Republican Sen. Bill Frist. Yet during the first 40 minutes of "The Situation Room," which devoted itself almost exclusively to the escalating Mideast chaos, there was no reference to the fact the Israeli military had killed more than 50 Lebanese civilians. (It wasn't until halfway through the second hour of "The Situation Room" that Blitzer finally clued viewers in.)

Later, I went back and checked CNN's reporting, via TVeyes.com, and discovered that throughout the day CNN repeatedly reported on the lone Israeli civilian causality without making any mention of the more than 50 Lebanese civilian casualties. To be exact, CNN did that at 10:31 a.m., 11:02, 12:09 p.m., 12:19, 1:00, 1:30, 1:52, 2:00, 2:17, 2:30, 2:50, and 4:04.

I can think of lots of reasons why CNN may have neglected to report the number of civilian casualties during the first forty minutes of its news broadcast. But perhaps the most important one is one that we here in Israel have been saying since the Palestinian terror war, known here as the Oslo War, began nearly six years ago. The reason is that juxtaposing numbers of killed and wounded on one side with numbers of killed and wounded on the other side doesn't tell the story, certainly not in this war. Can civilians who are being (or allowing themselves to be) used as human shields be compared with civilians going about their business? In fact, how can anyone distinguish 'civilian' from 'non-civilian' casualties on the Lebanese side (or for that matter, the 'Palestinian' side in Gaza) given that the terrorists are dressed the same as everyone else and live among everyone else (both in violation of the Geneva Convention)? Can civilians who are being targeted by terror groups be compared with civilians (assuming that they are civilians) who are not the target but are killed collaterally? Can civilians whose homes are being used as Katyusha launching pads be compared with civilians who are sitting on their sundeck?

Don't get me wrong: I am sure that any bias on CNN's part was wholly unintentional and that they will more than make up for it with anti-Israel bias in the days ahead. But even if CNN's behavior was deliberate, to accuse CNN of all people of being purposely biased in favor of Israel is ludicrous. The numbers of killed and wounded do not tell the story. The circumstances of the deaths and injuries tell the story.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger AbbaGav said...

Bravo Carl. Excellent points and very well said. I wish the morally deaf would get some hearing aids by paying attention to what you've made so clear.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Chaim said...

I just became physically sick reading the comments there. These are your liberals America. This is your American Left. They hate Israel and they think the US is wrong for supporting us.

I am not exaggerating when I say my stomach started turning and I felt the need to vomit.

It's no mystery how the Holocaust was allowed to happen and it's no mystery why the world hates Israel.

I can't believe I read those comments.

G-d help us all.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


If you think that is bad, you haven't seen the series of posts at Daily Kos, with the theme "What if Israel had never been created?" Charles Johnson has been linking to them on LGF.

What's more amazing is that most Jews in the US still vote Democratic.

I'm half hoping that Lamont beats Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, because maybe it would make some American Jews wake up to the reality that the Democratic party no longer represents their intersts.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger The Town Crier said...

and the nytimes had 3 pro israel editorials in the past 12 days.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...


I actually know the person - personally - who wrote the post: "What if Israel never existed?" If you email me - sunsetr at hotmail dot com - I can tell you stories about this person, and how I have become much more right wing after exposure to such a blatant antisemite, who used to be my friend.

I am just happy that my relatives in Israel are safe. I hope they continue to be safe.

You know the Chinese proverb: "May you live in interesting times." I think that was meant to be a curse.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


This is one Jew who left the Dems when Carter was in office, and my husband and I are now registered Republicans.

A lot of people remember when Joe Lieberman was Al Gore's lap dog. But I also hope that seeing the Jew hater first class, Hillary, desert him so soon will open some Jewish and Christian eyes. It also looks like Lieberman is going to lose. Saying that, there are still 4 months to go, and anything can happen.

Take care! Thanks for being the most dependable source of info on the situation in Israel.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Chaim said...

TTC, How all you could think right is of pushing your political agenda is shameful. enough already, for real, its disgraceful. You don't honestly think politicians on the right aren't doing the same damn things? Every time I see ANYTHING from you it's how aamzing the Left is and how much *more* they care than the left. The NY Times is a despicable newspaper that is just looking for the President to be impeached and could care less about Israel. So stop trying to pretend otherwise.

The Washington Post another liberal newspaper practically prostituted their oped to the Palestinian PM to spew his anti-Semitic anti Israel garbage. Go read your precious Daily Kos and see what your ilk are saying about Israel. Go read the comments at Huffington Post and read what more of your chevra on the left are saying about Israel. Please do us a favor and spare us. Can you worry about pushing your liberal agenda for a More appropriate time???


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