update desk

CNN’s Amanpour yet to retract calling murder of Dee women a ‘shootout’

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is reportedly drafting an official complaint.

Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour, correspondents for CNN, broadcast live from a hill near the southern Israeli town of Sderot overseeing the Gaza strip on Jan 5, 2009. Photo by Kobi Gideon/Flash90.
Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour, correspondents for CNN, broadcast live from a hill near the southern Israeli town of Sderot overseeing the Gaza strip on Jan 5, 2009. Photo by Kobi Gideon/Flash90.

The earliest recorded use of the term “shootout”—defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a sustained exchange of shooting, a gun-fight”—comes from a 1953 New York Times article, which refers to a “justly famous shoot-out between the Earps and the Clantons in the O-K Corral.”

Merriam-Webster doesn’t invoke that famous 1881 gun battle in Tombstone, Ariz., in its definition of “shootout,” which it renders “a battle fought with handguns or rifles.”

Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international anchor, was apparently working from a different definition of the term when she said live on the air of the British-Israeli Dee sisters—Maia, 20, and Rina, 15—“They were killed in a shootout.” (She was reporting the death of their mother, 48-year-old Lucy Dee, from the same terrorist attack.)

Amanpour provided no evidence that any of the three women were armed, let alone returned fire when terrorists shot nearly two dozen bullets at their car—driving it off the road and then murdering them at closer range. (The New York Times has been accused of burying the story.)

HonestReporting has told Amanpour, “You owe a grieving family an apology,” at least since May 11, repeating the request on May 16. “It’s been five days since we called on Amanpour to apologize for saying the Dee family were ‘killed in a shootout.’ Neither she nor CNN has responded,” said the watchdog group.

According to news reports, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has said that it is working on an official complaint, with some reports saying the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, where CNN is headquartered, would dispatch it.

The nonprofit added that Rabbi Leo Dee, the widower and father of the two slain sisters, has demanded an immediate apology. “This is the perfect example of ‘terror journalism,’ where you have moral equivalence between the terrorist and victim,” he stated.

“Those girls and their mother were gunned down in cold blood. What shootout?” tweeted the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Jeff Jacoby, a Boston Globe columnist, added: “Shame on you, Amanpour. Lucy Dee and her young daughters Rina and Maia were ‘killed in a shootout’ the same way President Kennedy was. They were murdered by terrorists who fired at the car they were riding in.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach noted on Twitter that Amanpour has referred to Israel’s “targeted killing” of Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist for Al Jazeera, while she was covering news in the Jenin refugee camp in May 2022. “The journalist was ‘killed in a shootout,’” Boteach tweeted. “Clearly, Amanpour turns reality upside down to accuse Jews and justify terror.”

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