In the realm of media scrutiny, CNN has been a focal point of criticism, especially regarding its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Recent revelations suggest a significant editorial influence that the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wield over CNN’s narratives. The network, in a recent acknowledgment, unveiled a protocol that potentially allows Israeli censors to exert control over its stories.
UNmasking the Editorial Protocol
A spokesperson for CNN confirmed to The Intercept that the network’s coverage of Israel and Palestine undergoes scrutiny by the CNN Jerusalem bureau, which is subject to the IDF’s censorship. This revelation raises concerns about potential external influence affecting the objectivity of CNN’s reporting.
CNN's Editorial Approach towards Israel-Palestine Conflict https://t.co/pfTGQNmLJe
— Chris Wick News (@ChrisWickNews) January 14, 2024
The IDF’s censor imposes restrictions on foreign news outlets, selectively limiting the coverage of specific subjects. Articles or news segments that fail to align with the IDF’s guidelines face outright censorship. This dynamic has prompted other news organizations to circumvent the censor by reporting stories through their desks outside of Israel, as reported by The Intercept.
The Long-Standing Editorial Policy
Scrutinizing Local Nuances
CNN justifies its policy of running stories through the Jerusalem bureau by emphasizing the need to navigate the unique and complex local nuances of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The objective, according to a CNN spokesperson, is to ensure precision and accuracy in reporting.
Minimal Interactions with IDF?
While CNN asserts that it minimally interacts with the IDF and doesn’t share news copy with the censor, skepticism persists. Critics, inlcuding James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute, view the IDF’s role in censoring media outlets as a means of intimidating and controlling news.
Behind the Scenes: Editorial Influence
CNN Staffer’s Revelations
An anonymous CNN staffer revealed to The Intercept that every line related to Israel-Palestine reporting must seek approval from the Jerusalem bureau or a select few designated by the bureau and senior management. The staffer highlighted how this long-standing relationship with the censor shapes CNN’s coverage, favoring Israel’s narratives.
” Jerusalem SecondEyes”
To address concerns, the Jerusalem bureau chief, Richard Greene, announced the expansion of the review team, named “Jerusalem SecondEyes.” While presented as an effort to bring more expertise, critics argue that it further underscores the network’s compliance with external influence.
Editorial Biases and Reporting Patterns
Taboo Words and Nuanced Reporting
The staff member revealed that certain words like ‘war-crime’ and ‘genocide’ are considered taboo. Bombings in Gaza are often reported as ‘blasts’ until the Israeli military confirms responsibility. Information from Israeli sources tends to be swiftly approved, while Palestinian sources face scrutiny.
Questionable Reporting on Casualties
CNN’s approach to casualty figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, run by Hamas, has raised eyebrows. Despite the ministry’s past credibility, emails suggest an intention to cast doubt on the figures, painting them as questionable due to alleged Hamas control.
The Weight of Reporting
With over 22,600 confirmed deaths in Gaza since October 7, questions arise about the responsibility of media outlets in shaping public perception. Critics argue that CNN, along with Western media, has been inadvertently pushing Israeli propaganda, potentially influencing global perspectives on the ongoing conflict.
In an era where media transparency is paramount, the revelations surrounding CNN’s editorial approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict prompt reflection on the delicate balance between journalistic responsibility and external influences. The extent to which CNN’s reporting aligns with the truth and its commitment to unbiased journalism remains a subject of intense scrutiny.