Mirroring President Biden’s anti-Israel staffers and base, CNN employees are reportedly outraged over the network’s allegedly biased coverage of the Israel-Hamas war and are demanding more support for Palestinians.
Some staffers are branding the coverage “skewed by a systemic and institutional bias.”
The Guardian is reporting that CNN employees are charging that the network’s coverage “repeats Israeli propaganda and often skews pro-Israel.”
The Guardian interviewed a number of CNN staffers in both US and foreign newsrooms.
“CNN is facing a backlash from its own staff over editorial policies they say have led to a regurgitation of Israeli propaganda and the censoring of Palestinian perspectives in the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza,” the British media outlet stated.
“The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting has been skewed by a systemic & institutional bias within the network toward Israel,” said a CNN staffer. “Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the … war amounts to journalistic malpractice.” pic.twitter.com/o5k1OLVAC3
— PST (@etahpilac) February 4, 2024
One of those interviewed charged, “The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting, has been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel. Ultimately, CNN’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war amounts to journalistic malpractice.”
Chris McGreal, a journalist at The Guardian, wrote the lengthy piece, stating:
According to accounts from six CNN staffers in multiple newsrooms, and more than a dozen internal memos and emails obtained by the Guardian, daily news decisions are shaped by a flow of directives from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta that have set strict guidelines on coverage.
They include tight restrictions on quoting Hamas and reporting other Palestinian perspectives while Israel government statements are taken at face value. In addition, every story on the conflict must be cleared by the Jerusalem bureau before broadcast or publication.
The staffers went on to blame the new editor-in-chief for not being anti-Israel enough.
“CNN journalists say the tone of coverage is set at the top by its new editor-in-chief and CEO, Mark Thompson, who took up his post two days after the 7 October Hamas attack. Some staff are concerned about Thompson’s willingness to withstand external attempts to influence coverage given that in a former role as the BBC’s director general, he was accused of bowing to Israeli government pressure on a number of occasions, including a demand to remove one of the corporation’s most prominent correspondents from her post in Jerusalem in 2005,” the article stated.
“CNN insiders say that has resulted, particularly in the early weeks of the war, in a greater focus on Israeli suffering and the Israeli narrative of the war as a hunt for Hamas and its tunnels, and an insufficient focus on the scale of Palestinian civilian deaths and destruction in Gaza,” the journalist reported.
The Guardian interviewed one staffer who claimed “some people are looking to get out” because of the discord and unrest in CNN’s newsrooms.
Another CNN journalist described a “schism” within the network over the coverage of the war and compared it to “the cheerleading that followed 9/11.”
The dissent among CNN staffers indicates they are getting restless at the network and are accusing it of being in the tank for Israel.
“Senior staffers who disagree with the status quo are butting heads with the executives giving orders, questioning how we can effectively tell the story with such restrictive directives in place,” the staffers recounted.
“Many have been pushing for more content from Gaza to be alerted and aired. By the time these reports go through Jerusalem and make it to TV or the homepage, critical changes – from the introduction of imprecise language to an ignorance of crucial stories – ensure that nearly every report, no matter how damning, relieves Israel of wrongdoing,” they asserted.
A CNN spokesperson told The Guardian via a statement: “We fundamentally reject the notion that our coverage of the aftermath of the October 7th attacks has been anything other than fair.”
“We have vigorously pursued voices from Gaza and the Palestinian perspective, in addition to Israeli voices, throughout the last four months, including from Hamas. Our internal processes reflect our commitment to accuracy alone, and we have led industry-wide calls for access to Gaza to report from inside the enclave,” the statement continued. “We remain absolutely committed to reporting all sides of this immensely challenging, complex and emotive story.”
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