CNN Tilts East, Fires 4 Jewish Journalists in Jerusalem
CNN has reportedly fired most of the Jews in its Jerusalem bureau, cutting half the bureau but leaving Arab workers and reviving charges of CNN's pro-Arab slant.
CNN denies the charges, claiming a budgetary downsizing, but two producers in the CNN Jerusalem office confirmed that four of the eight-person bureau, all Jews, were told they were being fired, leaving only one Jewish producer.
We strongly reject any suggestion that the reorganization in the Jerusalem bureau is in any way based on the small number of contract employees concerned being Israeli, particularly given CNN's long history of working with locals in the region, declared a CNN spokesman, cited by Media-bistro.
Media Bistro, Dreuz.info, and several Israeli media sources confirmed that CNN had fired Jewish workers with between ten and 25 years of experience. But several of the sources suggested that CNN's was not so much anti-Jewish as pro-Arab.
"They are moving more and more of their activities to the Gulf," said an ex-CNN correspondent who asked not to be quoted on the record. CNN made Abu Dhabi its fourth global hub in late 2009, along with New York, London, and CNN headquarters in Atlanta.
Sources in the foreign press in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv said that other media were cutting back in Jerusalem and following the money and moving resources to the Gulf. CNN seems to be leading the pack, hosting many shows out of its new studios in Abu Dhabi City as well as CNN's Arabic shows from Dubai City, also in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
So economic considerations, alongside politics, may explain the Jerusalem dismissals, but they sit in the long shadow of CNN's record of sucking up to Arab extremists, like Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat, and trying to ingratiate itself with both.
Well after the Gulf war, CNN's news director Eason Jordan admitted trading soft coverage of Saddam in return for exclusive access in Iraq. So it might be a good idea to be wary of CNN claims of not discriminating against Jews or sucking up to Arabs.
CNN has often belittled terror attacks on Israelis, as in the 2011 murder of the Fogel family (i.e., the stabbing murder of both sleeping parents, a four-year-old, and an eleven-year-old, and the beheading of a three-month-old baby). CNN described the massacre as "what the Israeli army calls a 'terrorist attack.'"
Israel protested CNN's report at the time, and CNN did not respond publicly.
On other occasions, CNN's top reporters and commentators have minimized Iran's nuclear plans and suggested that Arab-Islamic terror is a minor problem or that Arab-Islamic terror is equivalent to Jewish or Christian terror. Christiane Amanpour's series "God's Warriors" compared Arab terrorists to Jewish settlers and Christian preachers.
For his part, Fareed Zakaria has spent the best part of the last three years in the psychological state of denial, repressing the idea that Iran wants atomic weapons. Zakaria praised Barack Obama's original idea of engaging Iran, and he recently criticized President Obama for putting pressure on Iranian leaders who really just want to be talked to, Zakaria said. The host of CNN's GPS show said that even if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it is not a big problem, because Iran's leaders are rational.
CNN is supposed to cover events on this planet, and instead of firing its Jewish employees, perhaps it should jettison some of its space cadets. Whatever CNN claims, it is time to realize that CNN does not really stand for Cable News Network, but rather Certainly Not News.
Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, to be published next month by Simon & Schuster/Threshold.