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CAMERA analysis: CNN ‘obsession’ with Israel

The cable network is not “being driven by genuine journalistic motivations,” the media watchdog concluded.

CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Credit: EQRoy/Shutterstock.
CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Credit: EQRoy/Shutterstock.

The Cable News Network covers Israel in a “grossly disproportionate” manner, and from July to September, CNN’s Middle East section online posted more articles about Israeli judicial reform “than it did about the entire rest of the region combined.”

That’s according to a newly published analysis from the media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

Of 99 articles published in the CNN.com Middle East section in that time span, 43 (44%) focused largely on Israel, per the analysis by David Litman. The next largest focuses on individual countries were Iran (17%); Iraq (5%); and Saudi Arabia and Turkey (each 4%). Stories about Israel and other countries, including an Israeli airstrike in Syria and the president of Tunisia making anti-Israel statements, appear in a different section: “multiple” countries (7%).

“Worth noting are those countries that are not listed. Egypt, with the largest population in the Middle East, was the subject of only two articles. Sudan and Yemen, two war-torn countries, each had only one article. Lebanon, a country under the thumb of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, Hezbollah, saw only one article, too,” Litman wrote. “Qatar, a prominent player in Middle Eastern politics and conflicts, got zero articles written about it, as did Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman.”

Per the analysis, CNN’s focus on Israel is disproportionate to the Jewish state’s size, the intensity of its conflicts and the amount of U.S. aid it receives.

“Without being privy to CNN’s internal decision-making, one can only guess what factors drive its coverage of the region, and why the one Jewish state is placed under the microscope in a way that no other state is,” the analysis concludes. “But it seems fair to say that the content and makeup of its Middle East page isn’t being driven by genuine journalistic motivations.”

On May 22, Christiane Amanpour apologized live on air to Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife, Lucy Dee, and two of his daughters—Maia, 20, and Rina, 15—were shot and killed in early April by terrorists. The CNN chief international anchor said she “misspoke” when she referred to the incident as a “shootout,” as opposed to an act of terror on civilians.

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