CNN came under fire this week when two of their employees were exposed for vile, anti-Semitic tweets back in 2011. Although there has been one resignation so far, anyone familiar with CNN’s history should not be surprised that their vetting process did not catch this, prior to hiring these employees. They have long since turned a blind eye to a certain type of bigotry, namely bigotry towards Jews.
Mohammed Elshamy was hired by CNN this January as a photo editor. He resigned after his multiple tweets referring to Israelis as “Zionist pigs” and “Jewish pigs.” He celebrated a terror attack at a Jerusalem bus stop that killed two and injured 39 more. One of the people killed was a Christian woman, and the other was a 14-year-old girl who died 6 years later from her wounds. After the bombing, Elshamy tweeted: “More than 4 Jewish pigs killed in #Jerusalem today by the Palestinian bomb explode. #Israel #Gaza.” After the tweet resurfaced, Elshamy deleted it and resigned.
Karim Farid, a CNN Arabic digital tech show host, also had a resurfaced tweet from 2011. “I love you, Hitler,” he wrote. He then praised the Nazi leader for “his determination to reach his goal.” Farid has “deeply” apologized for the tweets, claiming they were taken out of context.
These two offenders tend to remind viewers of other anti-Semitic CNN incidents and contributors. Marc Lamont Hill was a CNN Contributor until he went on the floor of the United Nations in November 2018 advocating for Palestinians. While anti-Israeli groups like IfNotNow claim that all pro-Israel Jews believe that advocating for Palestinians is anti-Semitic, it is not. It was Hill’s use of the phrase “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” – that’s when he crossed over into anti-Semitism. That phrase, as many know, denotes the extermination of the Jewish state and the Jews who live within it. Hill’s dismissal from CNN has not deterred his anti-Semitic attitude. Two weeks ago, at far-left conference Netroots Nation, he referred to major networks, such as NBC, ABC, and Fox, as “Zionist organization[s]” promoting “Zionist content.”
In 2015, 34-year CNN veteran and news anchor Jim Clancy resigned after a series of anti-Semitic tweets. Clancy was reacting to the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The attack, which killed 14 people, came after the paper published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, but Clancy disagreed. “The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet,” he said. “They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word.” After a terrorist monitoring organization corrected him, he accused them of pushing Israeli propaganda. CNN announced a few days later that he was no longer with the network.
CNN’s anti-Semitism is not limited to employees. One of the most important resources available for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel media headlines and content is HonestReporting. Founded in 2000 after an egregious photo was printed in The New York Times and other outlets, HonestReporting’s mission is to ensure that Israel receives “fair treatment by the world press according to the same standards applied to any other country.” In the last few years, they have taken CNN to task for headlines and stories that are phrased differently when Jews are the victims.
During the multitude of stabbing attacks in Israel in 2015 by Palestinians, CNN’s stories were filled with language that would not be acceptable anywhere else in the world. A headline for an interview between Wolf Blitzer and an Israeli spokesman read “Deadly Attacks In Israel Cause Concern.” As HonestReporting says, “Concern is not an apt description for the fear that Israelis are experiencing…” Another story referred to Israelis defending themselves from the knife attacks with their guns as “reprisal attacks.” Yet, another story, in which a 72-year-old woman was stabbed at a bus station, obfuscates the nationality and motivation of the attacker, “The nationality of the victim and the attacker are unclear…” Local media coverage contained all the information CNN would have needed.
Later in 2015, CNN Money published an article about ISIS, and the territory they were taking. The article included a map of the Middle East. The map, according to CNN, was not developed in-house, rather pulled from stock images. Of all the images they could have pulled, CNN chose a map that did not correctly label Israel, instead the map read “Palestina” (a Spanish or Portuguese translation of “Palestine”). CNN Money changed the map on the article after HonestReporting and their supporters publicized it.
In 2016, CNN published a list of terrorist attacks that occurred worldwide between June 14 and July 14. The list included attacks in Iraq, Bangladesh, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Somalia, Florida, and France. The list did not include multiple terrorist attacks in Israel, which included the murders of a 13-year-old girl and a Chevron rabbi.
In 2017, CNN claimed that a terrorist attack occurred at a border crossing in Judea and Samaria when they were, in reality, at the entrance to a small town, not at the border. Later that year they published a map with graphs of all the sexual assaults in the Arab States in the Middle East. They colored Israel to look like one of the Arab States. This was later corrected.
In March 2019, during the Gazan rocket attacks, CNN International had a headline that claimed that a rocket “landed” north of Tel Aviv. As HonestReporting tweeted “No @cnni, the rocket didn’t just ‘land.’ Planes land, birds land. This rocket took out a house. #HeadlineFail.” CNN International changed the headline. There are dozens of more examples from these years and more.
CNN is a massive worldwide organization with over 3,000 employees; CNN publishes thousands of articles. They are constantly churning out news, which is their business model. Like all businesses, there are bound to be defective products or bad employees mixed in. However, it is incumbent upon the Jewish community and the pro-Israel community to ensure that when a false headline or an anti-Semitic employee does slip through the cracks, CNN must be held accountable. This is the only way to keep them honest in the future, and to guarantee equal media coverage as the rest of the world receives.
By Moshe Hill