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Number Seven Thousand Five Hundred and Five - 12 February 2024
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Five Hundred and Five - 12 February 2024 - Page 5

CNN has ‘systemic, institutional’ pro-Israel bias: Staffers

By Shannon Thaler


CNN is facing backlash from some of its own staffers who allege there is “a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel,” according to a report. CNN’s daily news coverage of the Israel-Hamas war is guided by a strict set of directives that include restrictions on quoting Hamas and other Palestinian perspectives, according to UK news outlet The Guardian.

Meanwhile, staffers gripe that statements from the Israeli cabinet are taken at face value, according to the outlet, which cited accounts from six CNN newsrooms in the US and abroad, as well as internal memos and emails.
“We fundamentally reject the notion that our coverage of the aftermath of the October 7 attacks has been anything other than fair,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement to The Post.
“We have vigorously pursued voices from Gaza and the Palestinian perspective, in addition to Israeli voices, throughout the last four months, including from Hamas.”
However, CNN sources told The Guardian that the network hasn’t conducted any interviews with Hamas since October, adding that the network does not have a ban on such interviews.
“It is not journalism to say we won’t talk to someone because we don’t like what they do. CNN has talked to plenty of terrorists and America’s enemies over the years. We’ve interviewed Muammar Gaddafi. We’ve even interviewed Osama bin Laden,” one CNN staffer said.
In another example of the reported guardrails, CNN’s so-called Jerusalem bureau reviews every story the network broadcasts on live television and reports on its website on the Israel-Gaza war.
CNN’s Jerusalem bureau is subject to the same rules followed by the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Censor unit, The Intercept reported.
This IDF unit’s rules — which dictate subjects that are off-limits for news organizations and include information about captives and weapons captured by fighters in Gaza — have long guided CNN’s coverage under a long-standing policy at the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned network, according to The Intercept.
“Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war amounts to journalistic malpractice,” One unidentified CNN staffer told The Guardian.
Other staffers told the outlet that some journalists have avoided reporting on current events in the West Bank because they believe CNN will not allow them to tell the whole story.
Additional reporters believe senior editors are purposefully not assigning them to write stories on the war, The Guardian reported.
“It is clear that some who don’t belong are covering the war and some who do belong aren’t,” a CNN insider told the outlet.
CNN’s journalists also pointed a finger at its editor-in-chief and CEO Mark Thompson’s “tone,” which they say has something to do with the network’s pro-Israel skew.
Thompson — a veteran news executive who began at CNN on October 9 after leaving his post as chief of The New York Times — had been accused of bowing to pressure from the Israeli cabinet while serving as the director-general of the BBC more than a decade ago, when he yanked one of the British broadcasting giant’s most prominent correspondents from her post in Jerusalem in 2005, according to The Guardian.
He emailed his CNN workforce a two-page memo obtained by The Guardian that instructed reporters to note the historical context of Hamas’ attack by continuing “always to remind our audiences of the immediate cause of this current conflict, namely the Hamas attack and mass murder and kidnap of civilians”.
One staffer said in response to Thompson’s memo, according to The Guardian: “How else are editors going to read that other than as an instruction that no matter what the Israelis do, Hamas is ultimately to blame? Every action by Israel — dropping massive bombs that wipe out entire streets, its obliteration of whole families — the coverage ends up massaged to create a ‘they had it coming’ narrative.”

The full article first appeared on the New York Post.

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